How To Clean Up Paint Spills

Published: 15th February 2012
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Anytime you are painting around your home there is always a possibility of accidental paint spills. When an accidental paint spills happens you need to know the best way to clean it up properly so that is does not do any permanent damage to the surface that it was spilled on. Here are a few tips on how to properly clean latex paint spills off of various surfaces.

On the interior of most homes today, the most common surface is carpet. If you have an accidental paint spill on carpet the first thing to do is to immediately clean up all of the excess paint using a clean, dry rag. When removing the excess paint, be careful not to rub the paint into the carpet because this will only push it further into the carpet fibers. Instead dab the excess paint up being careful not to spread the spill out any further. You may have to use several clean rags to completely remove all of the excess paint. Once you have cleaned up all of the excess paint, now use another clean rag and warm water to clean the remaining paint out of the carpet. Using the same method that you did before and dab the wet rag onto the paint spill to prevent the paint from spreading anymore.

If you have a paint spill on a wood floor, you will need to use a clean, dry rag or paper towels and dab up all of the excess paint as soon as possible. Then, immediately get a bucket of warm water and combine it with a liquid detergent and a mop up the remaining spill, being sure to try and contain the spilled paint to one area. The sooner you are able to do this the better your chances are for total removal of the paint without causing any damage to your wood floor. After you have cleaned the spilled paint with warm water and detergent, use clean paper towels to soak up any remaining detergent and water from the surface.

If you are painting on the exterior of your home, the most common place for a paint spill is on concrete, such as a sidewalk or driveway. If this type of spill occurs, the first thing to do is try and contain the spill. To do this, use newspaper and place it around the perimeter of the spilled paint. Next, if you have any kitty litter available, put kitty litter over the spilled paint which will aid in soaking up the excess paint and also help in preventing the spilled paint from spreading any further. After allowing the kitty litter to stand on the paint spill for 10-15 minutes, shovel up the cat litter in a container and dispose of properly. Next, using a rag, a bucket of warm water mixed with a cleaning detergent begin to clean up the spill, working in small sections. After doing this, you will probably need to use a steel wire brush and your bucket of warm water and detergent to remove the remaining paint stains. Once you have completely cleaned up all of the paint, you can now use your garden hose to clean off any remaining paint residue. If you happen to have a asphalt driveway you can cover any remaining stains with a black driveway sealant.

Just remember, if you have a accidental paint spill the sooner you are able to act to clean it up the better your chances are for complete removal. Once paint has dried, it is much more difficult to clean up than wet paint.


The author is the owner of Evans Painting in Birmingham Alabama and has over thirty years experience as a professional painting contractor. For more information visit or

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