How To Remove Chalk Paint from Clothes

Chalk paint is known for its chalky nature, matte finish, and ease of use, which does not require sanding or priming. In addition, it is easy to create a distressed look on it, thus making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to create vintage or rustic arts and crafts projects. And you can thank Annie Sloan for its creation, which revolutionized the art of decorative painting.

It is also worth noting that chalk paint is compatible with various materials such as metal, melamine, and wood. And you can also use it to dye your clothes or paint flooring and glass.

However, the paint can be messy, which means you will likely have paint stains on you and your surroundings. So, it would be best to learn how to remove chalk paint from clothes. The good news is that you will only need elbow grease and a few supplies to get rid of the paint in most cases.

How To Remove Chalk Paint from Clothes

Below is the ultimate guide with several step-by-step instructions on removing chalkboard paint from clothes. Be sure to test the different methods on an inconspicuous area before you try to remove the chalk stain from the entire surface.

1. Use a Wet Cloth

Wet paint is much easier to remove when it is still. Below are the simple steps you can follow to do so.

  • Scrape off the excess paint with a putty knife or any other dull knife.
  • Use a wet cloth to wipe away the paint on the affected area. You can use warm water or hot water. Cold water may take longer to remove the stains.
  • Blot the chalk paint stain, wash in water, and apply the wet cloth again onto the surface you are working on. If necessary, you may need to use several wet rags and add hot water to the mixture. You may also need to change the water if it gets dirty. However, if the clothing material is tough, such as denim, you can use an abrasive like a bristle brush to scrub the paint off.
  • When there is no more paint to remove, use a dry cloth to finish the cleaning process and remove the wet spots, or you can wash and rinse the clothes as you usually do.

2. Use Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol usually consists of isopropyl alcohol or other ethanol-based liquid. And the white spirit is commonly used as an antiseptic or cleaning solution in most homes. So, you are likely to have it.

The best way to remove chalk paint from clothes is by rubbing the stained area on your clothes or furniture with rubbing alcohol, which acts as a solvent that dissolves the polymer that binds the paint particles together. As a result, it works as a paint thinner, making the chalk paint removal process much easier.

Below are the steps you should follow:

  • The first thing is to lay the clothing with chalk stains flat on a stable surface, such as a kitchen table. Of course, if the cloth is on a piece of furniture, this step is unnecessary.
  • Scrape off any excess paint with a putty knife to reduce the residue you need to remove.
  • Be sure to have several clean rugs or paper towels. And then, take one clean cloth, pour a bit of rubbing alcohol on it, and rub it onto the stain in a blotting motion or in one direction. These removal methods are better than a circular motion, which may spread the chalk paint around or destroy the surface you are working on. However, the latter removal method may work on a chalkboard when removing chalk marker residues.
  • Repeat the steps until no more paint is transferred onto the clean cloth. If the stain is deep, you may want to add more isopropyl alcohol onto the clean cloth, blot the stained area, leave a heavy object over everything, and let the solvent stay overnight.
  • If your clothes consist of tough material, such as canvas, which can withstand a lot of scrubbing, you can apply isopropyl alcohol using an old toothbrush and scrub the paint off.
  • Once the alcohol is dry, you can wash the clothes as usual or wipe the affected area with a damp cloth.

3. Apply a Paint Stripper

Commercial paint strippers are available in plenty, but they vary in terms of what they can do. And you can use them to remove chalk paint from some of your clothes by picking one suitable for the type of paint you will be working on. In addition, they represent an easy way of removing chalk paint because they require little effort on your part.

However, paint strippers may be more suitable for wooden surfaces and other tougher materials on which you paint. So, that’s something to consider.

Here’s how to go about using a paint stripper.

  • Find and buy a suitable chalk paint stripper from your local or online stores.
  • Follow the instructions when applying the stripper to the chalk paint.
  • Wait for the required period, which will vary depending on the manufacturer’s instructions. Usually, you may see the paint bubble up at the end of the waiting period.
  • Use a scraper or putty knife to remove the paint when it becomes soft.
  • You can clean the formerly stained area with a clean damp rag and wait for it to dry.

4. Remove Chalk Paint with Vinegar Solution

There is no doubt that using a paint stripper is one of the most effective ways of removing dried paint.

However, commercial paint strippers are pretty strong and may not be the most suitable for clothes. So, it would help if you considered white vinegar instead. It works on water-based and oil-based paints and is an excellent stain remover. And one of the good things about it is that it also works on latex paints or acrylic paints.

Here’s how to remove chalk paint with vinegar solution:

  • Mix two parts vinegar, one part salt, and two parts of ammonia together and add warm water to create a cleaning solution.
  • Lay your paint-stained cloth on a flat surface.
  • Dip a clean rag into the warm vinegar solution, let it soak, and rub the paint spot vigorously. Then wait for about 15 minutes for it to soak through and work on the paint. If it fails to work, you should soak your clothes in the solution for several hours.
  • Use a brush to scrub off the chalk stains.
  • If the chalk paint is still there, repeat the steps above once or twice.
  • Dip a rag into cold water. And then, apply the damp rag onto the area on which you are removing the chalk paint and wipe off the surface.

5. Clean With Soap and Water

Soap and water can work wonders on chalk paint on your clothes. So, you may want to explore this option too.

Here’s how to do it correctly.

  • Mix a bit of dish soap, a bit of dishwashing liquid, or liquid laundry detergent with warm water. You can also soak a bar of white soap in water until it creates a soapy solution.
  • Spread your clothes on a flat working surface, so it’s easy to work on.
  • Put some warm soapy water in a spray bottle and spray it onto the chalk paint stain. Alternatively, soak a clean white cloth or any other soft cloth in a bowl of warm soapy mixture.
  • Rub the stained area in a circular motion until it’s entirely covered with the soapy mixture.
  • Leave the clothes alone for about 10 minutes and then check to determine if the stain is gone.
  • If the chalk paint stain is still there, rinse the cloth with cold water. And if it’s gone, rinse the clothes with hot water.
  • Air dry the clothes. And try using the warm soapy water on the stain once they are clean and odor-free.
  • Wash the clothes with the hottest water possible based on what the labels on the clothes show. And then, add half a cup of white vinegar to the extra rinse cycle to ensure the odor is entirely gone.

6. Apply Acetone-Based Nail Polish Remover

Acetone, a solvent, can remove paints similar to mineral spirits and rubbing alcohol. And it is often present in many types of nail polish. That is why nail polish removers could come in handy when you need to get chalkboard paint off your clothes.

You can follow the steps below to remove the paint.

  • Acetone-based nail polish removers tend to be strong. So, open up the windows and wear a mask, especially if you are allergic to strong scents. It may also be wise for you to wear gloves.
  • Lay your stained clothes on a flat, stable working surface for easier removal.
  • Scrape off any excess paint with a putty knife or other dull knife.
  • Pour a little bit of nail polish remover into a bowl and dip a rag into it and onto the stained surface. Alternatively, you could pour the nail polish remover directly onto the paint residues. The latter option may work better on more significant paint spots.
  • For the best results, wait for a little bit so the acetone in the nail polish remover has time to work. You can wait for about 10 or so minutes until you notice that the chalk paint has begun changing its form or consistency.
  • Use a scrubbing brush to rub off all the stubborn paint stains on the clothes.
  • Use a damp rag to wipe off the nail-polish remover residue.
  • Apply rubbing alcohol to neutralize the acetone.
  • Wash off the area you have been working on with warm soapy water and a lint-free cloth.
  • Dry the clothes, and you are good to go.

7. Use Magic Erasers

Some people refer to a magic eraser as melamine foam, which consists of formaldehyde-melamine-sodium bisulfite copolymer that enhances its cleaning abilities. And the foam is often used to clean chalk marks from chalkboards and chalk paint.

Magic erasers work well because they have fine pores that make them abrasive, not like coarse sandpaper, but a finer version. Water activates them and makes them hard but effective in removing stains. As a result, they are less likely to damage your clothes while cleaning stains off.

The process of using magic erasers is pretty simple:

  • Buy a magic eraser of your choice.
  • Lay your stained clothes on a working surface.
  • Cut off a piece of eraser and dampen it.
  • Rub the damp foam onto the stained area gently.
  • Alternate with a clean cotton rag to get the chalky paint out.
  • When there is no longer a hint of the stain, dry the cloth. Alternatively, wash and rinse as usual and then dry.

The beauty of chalk paint is that it is much easier to remove than many other kinds of paint. There may be times when you have to use elbow grease to get it off. And that usually happens when you have let the chalk paints dry on your clothes. So, where possible, try to get the chalkboard stains off when they are still wet.

Since you should remove chalk paints as quickly as possible, working with what you already have is best. Therefore, consider using vinegar, rubbing alcohol, warm soapy water, or acetone-based nail polish remover first before looking for magic erasers or paint strippers. Many of the ingredients in the first category tend to be available in the home and are affordable.

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Brandi Miles, BSW, MS Human Services

Brandi Miles, BSW, MS Human Services is the mother of two adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. Brandi has 20+ years of experience helping people with developmental disabilities.
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