Q. I just spilled paint on my carpet, what do I do?
Short Answer: DO NOT LET IT DRY! PUT PLASTIC WRAP OVER IT THEN COME BACK AND READ THIS!
If it’s water based paint go to the Long Answer. If it is oil based paint , call a professional now and let them know that it's oil based and it's fresh.
Long Answer: Don’t pull the plastic wrap off of the carpet until you have everything ready. If it’s just a drip you can get away with a lot of towels – go down to DRIP WITH TOWELS METHOD. If you knocked over a can . . . . you need to get a Wet and Dry Vac. You can pull up the plastic wrap, liberally sprinkle some water on the paint and replace the wrap to keep it damp if you need to run to the store and buy one. WET PAINT CAN BE REMOVED! DRY PAINT CANNOT! KEEP IT WET! It will not hurt the carpet to be wet for a few hours. Here is what you need 1) Wet and Dry Vacuum 2) Every single towel you can get your hands on( No New Towels – they bleed color) 3) Plastic garbage bags. 4) Large bucket of Clean warm water. 5) a coffee mug.
Don’t Panic . . . Take a deep breath and don’t give up. I have done this many times, the secret is to keep going even if you feel all is lost. Don’t give up because this really works! I’ve gotten brick Red Paint out of my own white carpet doing this with a small Wet and Dry Vac! This is going to require about 30 minutes for a drip and at least 2 hours if you spilled ½ a gallon of paint. We are going to break the adhesive ability of the paint through dilution so even after an hour of work it you think it’s not working because you still see paint coming up . . . stay with it!
As soon as you can use your Wet and Dry Vac, put it in a large plastic bag or have someone watch it to guard against blow over or just dump it constantly (TOILETS WORK BEST). Now suck up as much of the paint as you can. If the paint is spread over a large area, don’t uncover it all at once, just do small sections at a time and don’t forget to keep it wet. Keep the garbage bags close to you so you can put the plastic wrap and towels in it without causing any secondary damage. Remember you are going to have to dump the Vac Many times so plan for that and don’t forget.
After a few seconds you won’t be getting much paint coming out. Put the bucket of water next to where your working. Using the mug, pour water into the carpet with the Vacuum on and the end of the nozzle about 1 inch from where the water contacts the paint. The idea is to create a flushing cycle so that right after the water hits the paint it gets sucked into the vacuum and doesn’t have time to run down into the carpet. It’s not brain surgery so you don’t have to be super precise. If the carpet is getting too wet just stop pouring for awhile and do a few dry passes with Vacuum wand while being careful to avoid friction on the carpet fibers.
The way you’ll know when you are done is when you dump the water out of the Vacuum. If the water is clear, bend the carpet fibers apart so you can see the backing of the carpet. If you don’t see paint there either you are almost done. All that’s left is to take all those towels and stand on them. Fold them in half and put them, one at a time on the wet areas and just stand on them for awhile (Great time for a Beer). Absorb as much of the water as you have towels, use them all. Put the wet towels in a garbage bag to take them to the laundry room. Wash them now. Wash out the Vacuum and leave it open to dry.
Now if you have been doing this for an hour and it seems like the color will never go away ( especially if you have a dark paint color) think about this . . . one drop of paint in a gallon of water will color the whole gallon but it is so diluted that it has lost its ability to adhere to anything. So don’t despair, just do as much as you can . . . and if you can no longer see paint in the carpet fibers it’s probably time for a nice glass of pinot ---- just don’t spill it in the carpet =-)
DRIP WITH TOWELS METHOD
Your first objective will be to get as much paint as possible out of the carpet. Your second objective will be to dilute the remaining paint so it can no longer adhere to the carpet.
Gather these things before you start. 1) As many towels as you can get 2) A large pitcher of warm water 3) A large plastic garbage bag.
Remove the plastic wrap and fold it so the paint is on the inside and won’t get on anything else. Use a clean rag to scrape up as much paint as possible without spreading it out too much. Put the rag in the garbage bag. Take the pitcher and pour about 1 cup of water on the paint. Put a towel over the area and press down very gently so that the towel makes contact with the carpet, wait 3-4 seconds pick the towel straight up (don’t rub the carpet)and place a dry section of the towel back over the paint drip and press down again. Put the wet towel in the garbage bag. Do this 5-7 times until no more water is being absorbed by the towel.
Grab the pitcher and pour about two cups of water in the same area then blot again with the same technique except apply more and more pressure to the towel. Keep doing this until you run out of towels each time adding a little more water (up to four cups at a time) and more pressure (until you are standing on the towels). If you fold the towels in half so you have two layers they will work faster.
Once you are down to your last couple of towels just use them to absorb water without adding anymore water and then let the carpet air dry. Wash your towels immediately so they are not damaged. Throw the rag and plastic away. Read the Long Answer now for added details.