Acrylic paint has been a great paint option among painters, crafters, and even beginners. If you’ve ever used one, you’re probably aware that removing paint stains can be difficult. They may unintentionally come into contact with various surfaces. But how will you get rid of them? Many acrylic users may wonder, “Is acrylic paint washable?”
If you wonder if the paint is washable or permanent, the answer is that almost all paints are washable with warm water and soap. Acrylic paint, for instance, is easily washable, especially when wet. However, dried acrylic paint can be challenging to wash off.
This post will go over how washable acrylic paints are on various surfaces. Continue reading to discover the proper procedures and product options for your next paint cleaning task.
Table of Contents
Firstly, what does washable paint mean?
Well, there are 2 major meanings that are quite opposite and may confuse people:
- washable = easy to remove with just water or water + a bit of soap. In this case, parents, crafters and students are looking for non permanent paint that won’t stick forever to a surface, thus you will be able to wash it off without having any marks. Ex.,you need washable paint if your toddler wants to paint with his hands or if you want to decorate windows for Christmas, right? As you will need to wash it off after the painting session/end of the holidays. Tempera, poster paint, gouache, watercolor are normally washable in this meaning,
- washable=water-resistant while you clean. In this case you are looking for paint that will not come off when you will try to clean a painted area with a wet cloth. Ex., you need to paint your furniture or walls to renovate your house, or you are doing an art for sale or customizing your shoes. In this case you need the painted area NOT to react with water and the paint stay intact. Acrylic paint and oils paints are safe to wash once dry and won’t be washed away easily, but there are still ways to remove it of course.
Hope it makes sense so now, let’s see what paints are easy (or not so much) to wash off.
Read also: What is Acrylic Paint? Ultimate Acrylics 101
Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off?
Yes, wet acrylic paint can be washed off. However, its washability depends on the type of surface. For instance, washing it when wet rather than dry is much easier.
This is because acrylic paint is a water-based paint that may be diluted with water while wet. It may not be completely waterproof, but its versatility makes it an excellent choice.
|Wet acrylic paint
|Waterproof once dry
|Washable with water
|Difficult to wash off
|It is not recommended to use acrylic paint on the skin. Use a special face or body paint instead.
|Easily washable with water
|Difficult to wash off
|Washable with water
|Quite hard to wash off, may need soaking and scraping.
|Water-resistant; can be waterproofed with a varnish
|Washable with a damp cloth or water; e.g., when soaked in the rain for a long time
|Difficult to remove with just water
|Water-resistant; can be waterproofed with varnish, lacquer, or polyurethane
|Washable with water
|Difficult to wash off
|No, can be waterproofed with a suitable sealant
|Washable with water
|Difficult to remove with just water
|No, can be waterproofed with a barrier varnish
|Easily washable with water
|Slightly challenging to wash off
|No, can be waterproofed with varnish and then place in an oven
Is acrylic paint washable on the skin?
Before anything else, it is vital to understand that acrylic paint should not come into direct contact with skin. When this type of paint is applied to the skin or other sensitive areas, it can cause damage, such as burns and irritation. However, if you accidentally spill acrylic paint on any part of your body, here are some remedies you can do:
Using warm water with mild soap: To begin, thoroughly rinse the spilled area with warm water. Then, lightly lather your hands with a mild soap. Cetaphil Bar Soap comes highly recommended. After that, wash and pat dry the affected area.
Using baby oil: If the first procedure does not remove the paint, a drop of baby oil on your dried skin can help. Simply apply a few drops of baby oil to the spilled area and rub them with your fingertips or cotton balls. This oil aids in the breakdown of the oil elements in the paint, allowing it to be easily removed.
Using rubbing alcohol: If the spilled acrylic paint is stubborn enough, you can use rubbing alcohol to clean it up. Simply pour some alcohol on the paint stain and gently massage it away with a washcloth or cotton ball until no paint remains on your skin.
Is acrylic paint washable on Hair?
Since acrylic paint is water-based, it is not permanent and may be removed from the hair. However, if you want to dye your hair for Halloween or a party, it is better and healthier for your hair to use special temporary hair paint.
If you get acrylic paint on your hair by accident, here are some solutions:
Using shampoo and water: First, rinse your hair with warm water and massage the areas with paint. Then, apply a regular shampoo and massage it gently. You may use a comb to ensure you get the stain out of your hair. Afterward, rinse it again with warm water.
Using olive oil or baby oil:
- Pour a liberal amount of oil into your palm and gently massage it into the painted areas of your hair.
- Allow it to sit for a few minutes to soften the paint before combing it.
- Use shampoo to remove excess oil from your hair.
Is acrylic paint washable on Clothes?
Acrylic paint is water-based and is easy to get off of clothes. Once you heat set it – you can wash it in washing machine and it won’t come off.
It is easier though when it is still wet.
However, removing the paint will be challenging if the paint has already dried.
You will need the proper solution to remove the acrylic stain from your clothes.
But if it dried hard already and you heat set it with an iron, it is unlikely to wash off in the washing machine.
How to Get Dried Acrylic Paint Out Of Clothes
A proper amount of denatured alcohol or isopropyl alcohol can help wash off paint stains from clothes.
To remove the acrylic paint from the cloth, simply add the ideal amount of alcohol to the painted area and scrub it with an old toothbrush.
Using white vinegar and ammonia:
You can create an ammonia and white vinegar solution in addition to using alcohol.
Take equal amounts of white vinegar and ammonia and combine them in a basin with salt.
After that, dampen the cloth and apply the solution to the painted area with a sponge or washcloth.
How to Get Dried Acrylic Paint Out Of Jeans
Using rubbing alcohol:
- Simply pour the right amount of isopropyl alcohol onto the painted area.
- Simply dab or blot with a cotton ball to remove spilled paint from the pants.
- You can also use an old toothbrush to scrape away the extra paint gently. Lastly, wash the jeans in cold water.
Is acrylic paint washable on Fabric and Leather?
Acrylic paint can be washed off on fabric or leather as long as it is still wet.
To remove it, the best option would be to combine rubbing alcohol, cleaning detergent, and water in a 50:50 ratio.
After being mixed proportionately, pour the solution over the painted area and gently wipe it to remove the paint spots.
Furthermore, acrylic paint may be removed from the leather. Simply dab a cotton ball with alcohol over the spilled spot and gently wipe it to remove the stain. You can also use an acetone-based nail polish remover for this procedure.
On the other hand, avoid using solvents such as acetone on fabrics like wool, suede, and silk.
These materials are extremely delicate and sensitive when exposed to such solutions.
It would be difficult to remove acrylic paint from them because they could be damaged by excessive washing.
Is acrylic paint washable in the washing machine?
Yes, acrylic paint can be washable in the washing machine if you prepare the fabric properly. Since acrylic paint can be permanent on fabric, you can be confident that it won’t wash off.
How to make acrylic paint washable in a washing machine?
For acrylic paint to be washable in a washing machine, it would be best if you heat set the paint once it’s dry. Once done, it will make the paint wash safe. For a more detailed guide on making acrylic paint permanent on fabric, you may refer to this guide for fabric and this post about painting leather.
Is acrylic paint washable on Glass and Windows?
Yes, acrylic paint is washable on glass and windows. Since glass and windows have a smooth surface, removing the paint on them would be less hassle, especially if you used regular acrylic paint.
Using soapy water: To begin, soften the paint with soapy water and set it aside for a few minutes. Then, gently scrape the paint off the surface using a glass scraper to remove the acrylic paint.
Is acrylic paint washable on Plastic?
Acrylic paint is easily washable on plastic surfaces. However, this is only possible if the paint is wet. It may be challenging to remove dried-up paint, but the proper cleaning solution can suffice. Most paint palettes are plastic and they are all easy to wash with soapy water or some scrubbing if the paint has dried.
Pour denatured alcohol into a cotton ball and rub it over the paint. You can also remove the paint with a solvent or sandpaper, although this depends on the surface you’re cleaning. You can also use a scraper to peel away the extra paint on the plastic surface simply.
Is acrylic paint washable on Metal?
It is pretty simple to remove acrylic paint from metal. Pour the appropriate amount of rubbing alcohol into a cotton ball or washcloth and rub it in a circular motion to remove the paint off the metal surface.
You should note that acetone is not recommended as an alternative because it can damage the metal after removing the acrylic paint.
Related: Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Metal?
Is acrylic paint waterproof on Ceramic and Clay?
Acrylic paint is waterproof on ceramic and clay surfaces. However, applying primer and varnish are necessary procedures to ensure that they are incredibly sturdy and permanent. That is why you should never skip priming and sealing if you want the paint to be waterproof.
Check this guide on how to seal paint on ceramic: Bakeable Acrylic Paint Guide for Ceramics and Glass & 4 Best Bakeable Paints.
Is acrylic paint washable on Walls?
Yes, acrylic paint is washable on walls, though it would be a bit challenging. You will need sandpaper or a hand sander to remove the paint from the walls. To begin, sand the painted areas until the paint has gradually disappeared.
You can also use alcohol to remove acrylic paint. Pour the appropriate amount of alcohol into a cloth and wipe it over the painted surface. Though it is an effective method of removing paint, it may cause the color of the wall to fade.
Is acrylic paint washable on Canvas?
With the suitable method and materials, it is possible to wash acrylic paint off the canvas. The most common way is to use denatured alcohol. Simply dampen a towel with warm water and alcohol, then cover the acrylic paint on the canvas for around 30 minutes.
After that, wipe the stained portions of the canvas with the cloth to remove the acrylic paint. Once the paint has been removed, re-wipe the canvas with a clean, warm cloth to remove any remaining alcohol.
Furthermore, since it’s super challenging to remove paint on canvas, you may also need soaking and scraping too.
- How to Paint with Acrylics on Canvas: 3 Essential Steps [Supplies included]
- 5 Pro Steps to Protect Acrylic Paintings on Canvas
- 38 Best Canvas for Acrylic Painting for Beginners that Professionals use
Is acrylic paint washable on Cement and Concrete?
It is possible to wash off acrylic paint from cement and concrete, although it might require an ample amount of time and labor. Preparing a sandpaper water solution and scrub or sponge would be best.
Firstly, apply a sandpaper water solution to the cement or concrete to soften the acrylic stain from it. Then, wipe the concrete using a sponge until the stain has been removed from the surface completely.
How to keep acrylic from washing off?
There are certain steps to consider in order to keep acrylic from washing off, depending on the surface. Priming and sealing are the most common ways you should take into account.
For instance, before you begin painting, you must first prime your canvas using an acrylic primer. This will give your artwork a polished finish. Also, the acrylic paint on your canvas will be more secure if you varnish it afterward. Other surfaces also require preparation, like wood, glass or fabric, to make sure acrylic paint will stick.
Furthermore, it’s a great idea to waterproof your painting. It will be possible by using a varnish, which is a sort of acrylic gloss that serves as an additional protective layer to the surface.
Is there washable acrylic paint?
Most acrylic paints are washable in general. Although wet acrylic paint is less challenging to wash off, dried acrylic paint can still be removed with the right products and procedures.
Below we list answers to popular questions that people have already asked about specific brands.
- Liquitex Basic Acrylic Paint is a high-quality paint that is relatively easy to wash off, especially when it’s still drying.
- Although highly pigmented, Arteza Acrylic Paint is easily washable and ACMI-certified safe.
- Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint is simple to clean up while wet with soap and water from wood, plaster, clay, etc.
- Artskills Acrylic Paint is made from a water-based formula that is easily washable.
- Decoart Acrylic Paint is made for crafters working on diverse surfaces and is absolutely washable with just soap and water.
- Daler Rowney Acrylic Paint is quick-drying, premium paint that is easy to wash off when wet.
- Kingart Acrylic Paint is easily washable, fast-drying, and can be used on wood, glass, and canvas.
- Artist’s Loft Acrylic Paint is a water-soluble paint that is easy to clean up.
- Mondo Llama Acrylic Paint has a formula that is easily washable and non-toxic.
- Master’s Touch Acrylic Paint is a premium quality paint that is easily mixable and washable.
- Crayola Acrylic Paint is a water-based paint that can be easily washed off from the skin, walls, clothing, and other surfaces while wet.
- Reeves Acrylic Paint is washable only while wet. It is safe and easy to use on paper and canvas.
- Sargent Art Acrylic Paint is cheap fast-dry paint that is easily washable with soap and water.
Is acrylic paint permanent?
In general, wet acrylic paint is never permanent because of its water-soluble formula. However, while not fully permanent, once dried, acrylic becomes water-resistant and this type of paint can persist for weeks or even years if properly sealed. Sealing the paint helps to protect it from the elements while keeping the artwork or surface looking vibrant and alive.
Are acrylic paint pens washable?
Yes, acrylic paint pens are washable since they are made from a water-based formula. It may be permanent on garments once fully dried, but it is still washable on hands with soap, water, and alcohol.
The incredible thing about these paint pens is that if they accidentally come into contact with your skin, you can quickly wipe them off. This is the primary distinction between oil-based and ink-based paints, as they behave on various surfaces.
Is acrylic paint washable or waterproof when dry?
When dry, acrylic paint is partially waterproof. When this type of paint dries, it becomes impossible to remove with mere water. Acrylic paint becomes water-resistant because when they dry, all water evaporates and the binder forms with pigments some sort of film that is water resistant. Hence, this results in low washability.
In contrast, acrylic paint is easily washable when wet because it can absorb water surrounding it. You can only use water and soap while it’s wet. However, dry acrylic paint does not behave in this manner. Since paint is somewhat waterproof when dried, water is insufficient to remove it from the surface.
Will rain wash away acrylic paint?
Yes, the rain will wipe away acrylic paint because it is not naturally waterproof. Since acrylic paint is made from a water-based formulation, until it is dry it can be simply washed away with water. As a result, if the acrylic paint is exposed to rain for a prolonged period of time, it will likely be washed away.
Furthermore, acrylic paint is susceptible to external elements such as rain. Thus, constant exposure to rain can cause the acrylic paint to peel off the surface. For optimum protection, use exterior acrylic paint on surfaces that are constantly in contact with rain. Don’t forget to make the painted surfaces waterproof as well using outdoor acrylic paint sealer or a varnish.
Is Acrylic Paint Washable With Water?
Generally speaking, yes, acrylic paint is absolutely washable with water while it is still wet. Acrylic paint is water-soluble, which signifies that its components get along perfectly with water and other liquids.
However, keep in mind that if the paint has dried, water will not be sufficient, and it will require time and effort to remove the paint thoroughly.
With its superb finish and fast-drying formula, it is no surprise that acrylic paint is extremely popular and loved by artists and painting beginners. However, acrylic paint spills are inevitable, whether you like them or not, so you should know how to remove them.
Although acrylic paint becomes waterproof when dried, resulting in low washability, it is entirely washable when wet. So, the next time you accidentally spill paint, immediately wash it with water so that cleaning it won’t be as challenging when it’s all dried up.
Masha Eretnova, born in 1991, is a Buenos Aires-based certified teacher, artist, and member of the Professional Artist Association with 20+ years of personal painting journey.
She started painting and drawing very early and is now an international abstract artist and educator passionate about acrylic painting, gouache, and crafts.
Her works are part of international exhibitions and contests, including ArtlyMix (Brazil), Al-Tiba 9 (Spain), Exhibizone (Canada), and many more.
Besides her artistic pursuits, Masha is also skilled in SEO blogging and digital marketing, running several niche websites. She also holds a post-grad diploma in Teaching Film Photography and 2 music school diplomas: piano and opera singing.