Skip to Content


How to remove watercolor stains

A young girl using watercolors and paintbrush to paint some art.

Sign-up now to take advantage of member exclusives!

As a member of Ask Team Clean, you get access to exclusive offers and the best cleaning tips.

Watercolors are a popular paint for kids and grown-ups alike, and what better way to have fun on a rainy afternoon than to switch on some music and paint your worries away. Watercolors are great for family activities or for cards, especially for Mother’s Day. Of course, if you get a splash of paint on your clothes, you might feel that all that effort wasn’t worth it, but fear not! Watercolor stains are easier to remove than oil-based paint stains, especially if you act fast. Here’s how to remove watercolor stains from clothes. 

Remove watercolor paint stains

Removing watercolor paint stains follows similar steps to removing any stain—and the rule of acting as fast as you can also applies! Once you spot the stain, get to work quickly and follow these steps to help get that stain out (or stop it from setting in the first place):

  1. Get a bowl large enough for your garment to be completely submerged. Fill this with lukewarm water. If your garment can usually be washed on a hot wash then the water can be a little warmer, but if you’re washing silk, wool, or linen for example, ensure that the water isn’t too hot.
  2. Add some liquid laundry detergent such as Persil® ProClean® OXI Power Liquid to the bowl, and then use your stained garment to swirl the detergent around the bowl so your garment gets fully covered in soapy water.
  3. Allow the garment to soak for 30 minutes, or as directed on your detergent bottle for a hand-wash.
  4. Once 30 minutes have passed, remove the garment and squeeze out the water. If the stain is still there, repeat the process. If it has almost completely faded, you can put this garment in the washing machine and wash according to the garment’s care label.
  5. If after the wash the stain is still visible, repeat the soaking and washing steps again. Once your garment dries, it makes it harder to get the stain out again.
  6. That’s it! That is what you need to do to get watercolor stains out. It is a simple procedure but might need some perseverance if the stains don’t come out after the first soak.

A note on DIY solutions

You might have come across DIY detergents for stains, such as baking soda, lemon juice or ammonia solutions. These might work for some, but we prefer to use professionally developed products such as laundry detergent or stain remover products. These products are designed to care for textile fibers while still removing difficult stains, and will be less likely to discolor or ruin the clothes you’re trying to save. 

We hope that this article on how to remove watercolor stains from clothes has helped you—if you want to find more tips and tricks for all things laundry, check out the laundry section on our website!