Is Acrylic Paint Washable? [On Wood, Concrete, Skin, etc.]

Acrylic paint is always a comfortable choice amongst both veteran and beginner painters. It’s easy to use, grants heavy pigmentation, and offers versatility like no other paint. But, is acrylic paint washable on different surfaces?

Depending on pigment concentration and saturation, acrylic paint is indeed washable on most surfaces. From skin to clothes to glass to walls to concrete pavements – there’s always a way to get rid of the acrylic paint. And most procedures are quite beginner-friendly as well. It’s, however, not as easy to wash the paint off if you make them waterproof in advance.

In today’s article, let’s find out how acrylic paint works and whether they’re washable or not. We’ll also go over a few remedies that you can try if you need to get rid of the paint effectively.

Is Acrylic Paint Washable?

Is Acrylic Paint Permanent?

Acrylic paint, by itself, is not exactly permanent. By definition, it’s water-based paint and can easily get diluted by water like so. They also dry fairly fast due to this and it’s possible to apply them on top of most surfaces.

However, it’s also possible to make acrylic paint somewhat permanent by two very common procedures. Let’s have a look at them.

1. Applying Heat

This works amazingly if you’re applying the paint to the fabric. Simply applying some heat after the paint has dried off will ‘seal’ the paint on and through the fabric. The paint will then get embedded with the inner material and you may then deem it somewhat permanent.

2. Altering The Consistency

You can change or modify the consistency of acrylic paint to make it more permanent. Nowadays, you can find various types of mediums like gels, pastes, etc. which can alter the water-based consistency of acrylic paint. Using them appropriately will generate thicker and more pigmented paint mixtures.

Can Acrylic Paint Be Washed Off?

Yes, acrylic paint, even in altered states, is not completely permanent at all times. With the right preventative measures, you can wash off the paint from almost all sorts of surfaces. The only trick is that – you may end up scratching or scrubbing off a portion of that surface.  Discoloration is a pretty common issue as well.

Other than that, acrylic paint can be easily washed off with lukewarm water in a raw state. By raw, when the paint hasn’t had enough time to settle down or dry on the surface. Simply wipe away the paint with a wet muslin cloth. You can also soften the paint for a while by keeping it immersed in the lukewarm concoction. Then it’ll wash off far more easily.

Is Acrylic Paint Washable On Fabric?

Is Acrylic Paint Washable On Fabric

Despite popular belief, it takes longer to get acrylic paint off fabric than most other surfaces. As mentioned above, just some moderate heat can ensure the semi permanence of acrylic paint on clothing items. For instance – what if you were to iron the fabric with dry paint? It would be almost impossible to get it out fully.

Here’s what you should do to make acrylic paint washable on fabric:

Early Stages

If the paint hasn’t set in yet, simply rinse off the area thoroughly with a soapy lukewarm concoction. You can also use liquid detergent instead of regular soap for faster reactivity.

Late Stages

If the soapy concoction doesn’t seem to work, use denatured alcohol instead. It’s the most effective way to get paint off the fabric. Rubbing alcohol works just fine as well. However, alcohol and dye aren’t exactly best friends.

So, to avoid discoloration, dilute the alcohol with the liquid detergent or soap and water. 40:40:20 is an optimum ratio in this situation. At first dab and roughly press on the fabric with the concoction so it reaches everywhere.

Afterward, scrub in a circular motion to get the acrylic paint off the fabric. Make sure to use ample water later to wash off both the paint and the remaining alcohol to prevent discoloration.

Is Acrylic Paint Washable On Glass?

Is Acrylic Paint Washable On Glass

Unlike fabric, glass can’t absorb the paint particles. So, acrylic paint is extremely washable on glass.

Here’s how to get acrylic paint off glass:

  • Soften the paint by using a warm soapy solution
  • Leave the solution on the glass for a couple of hours or so
  • Keep a dampened rug or towel soaked with the warm soapy concoction on top of the surface
  • Wear proper gloves and massage the glass surface gently after 30-40 minutes
  • Peel away the outermost softened up paint layer
  • Use a glass scraper to gently scrape and scoop up the remaining gooey paint

Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off Skin?

Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off Skin

It’s going to take some effort and extra care, but acrylic paint can wash off skin. With the right treatment, anything is possible after all.

Acrylic paint will tightly tug at the skin once it dries up, which is extremely uncomfortable. Plus, if you have body hair on that portion of the skin, stay prepared to scream out loud. If the paint layer is smooth enough, you can try tugging hard to peel the outermost layer off. But don’t do that if it hurts too much.

Here’s how to get acrylic paint off skin:

  • Repeat the warm soapy solution procedure
  • Rinse and repeat until the paint has washed off
  • Use baby oil or rubbing alcohol if you’re in a hurry or if the soap is too basic
  • Massage in a circular motion with the oil to get better and faster results
  • Use a shower scrubber to scrub off the paint after it has softened up enough
  • Don’t use alcohol if it irritates the skin

Is Acrylic Paint Washable On Wood Panels?

With wood panels, acrylic paint is definitely washable but you need to stay vigilant about two common things. First, the potential discoloration, and second, the dampening. Needless to say, wood and excess moisture don’t exactly go hand in hand.

If you’re working with a large surface, you can use heat guns to get rid of the paint stains. Subsequently, you should first use a top-quality palm sander to sand off the paint flecks.

Friendly reminder – don’t try to sand off the paint if it still hasn’t dried. You’ll then end up making more of a mess than before. You can use industrial-grade chemical paint removers as well to wash away the paint without a hitch. Use it on a smaller portion first though, to check if discoloration occurs in that area.

Is Acrylic Paint Washable On Concrete Slabs?

Unless it’s a full-on bulldozer, there’s hardly anything that concrete slabs can’t take. If the acrylic paint gets on such a surface, you can try out all the remedies in the book. You can also use the highly volatile acetone and muriatic acid on concrete slabs without fearing damage.

With concrete though, the challenge is that there are too many microscopic bumps on the surface material. As such, it’s extremely hard to thoroughly get the paint off. Even with vigorous scrubbing, it’ll take some time.

Start with rubbing alcohol. If alcohol falls short, move on to using pure acetone. You can directly use muriatic acid as well since it works great for hardcore surfaces like these.

Make sure to work in a well-ventilated place so the fumes can dissipate faster. Wear a full bodysuit, to prevent any irritation to the skin.

Related: Will Acetone Damage Car Paint

Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Acrylic Paint

You already have the answer to the ‘is acrylic paint washable?’ question by now. Here’s a brief overview of all the corresponding remedies you can use to wash off acrylic paint diligently.

Liquid Detergent

Liquid detergent works great for fabric like sofa covers, curtains, clothing items, etc. They may increase the basicity of the skin so it’s not recommended to use it there. Make a soapy solution of the detergent with lukewarm water to soften up the paint and scrub it off later.


Glycerin also somewhat helps to soften up the paint especially if it’s in the mid-drying stage. Use your fingers to constantly rub in a circular motion over the paint to get it off.

Baby Oil

Baby oil is perfect to use if the paint is on the skin. Unlike liquid soap or detergent, it’s not as rough on the human skin. The slippery oil will loosen the bond between pigments, allowing you to scrub it off easily with warm soapy water.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is a nice replacement for baby oil if you don’t have any at home. The principle and working procedure are the same as well.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing/denatured alcohol will get acrylic paint off of anywhere. It works great even when the paint has dried off completely. And it works on skin, fabric, glass, wood – everywhere.


Vinegar is basically weak acetic acid. You can mix some vinegar with the soapy concoction to decrease the bond strength in the acrylic paint.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice contains citric acid, which can also mildly replicate the working procedure of vinegar to an extent. If you can’t find anything else at home, you can try mixing some lemon juice with the warm soapy water. Both vinegar and lemon juice can cause discoloration though.

Pure Acetone

Pure acetone works like a charm if the paint has dried off completely and feels like plastic now. While using acetone directly, don’t forget to put on proper anti-corrosive gloves and masks. Cover the eyes thoroughly as well since the fumes can cause irritation or, a burning sensation.

Paint Thinner

Paint thinner doesn’t work as well when the paint has dried off vigorously. In the semi-gooey stage, paint thinners can help a lot to reduce the paint to a washable state.

Read More: Mixing Acrylic and Oil Paint

Extreme Remedies: Using Acid To Remove Acrylic Paint Off The Surface

According to a Quora deep dive, weak acids like Muriatic acid are great for stripping down acrylic paint off surfaces. Although, it’s definitely not something you should pursue until after you’ve tried almost everything else.

Such weak acids are often highly corrosive and can cause irritation on your eyes and skin. If you’re using them on a plastic surface, they can eat through the soft plastic as well.

So, always exercise proper cautionary measures like wearing appropriate gloves and masks before dealing with solvents like these. On the off chance that you absolutely have to resort to such extreme measures, do a test run first.

For instance – use the acid on a small area first to see if it reacts vigorously or not. You can also keep an eye out to see if the surface deteriorates with the application of the acid. Once you eliminate the possibility of unwanted corrosion, you can move on to using the acid to remove the paint.

The procedure is similar to before. You’ll need to use a strong bristle brush to scrub roughly. Make sure the underneath surface can take the extra tension. Ideally, you shouldn’t use something like muriatic acid on anything but concrete or asphalt paving and shingles.

Hence, please don’t go using it on random kitchen floors or wooden coffee tables. And, you absolutely can’t, under any circumstances, use any type of acid directly on the skin.

In fact, indirect exposure can cause a lot of harm as well. Alongside the mask and gloves, make sure to wear respirators too to avoid inhaling the fumes after the potential reactions. Also, it’s better to arrange for proper ventilation in advance, so the fumes can dissipate faster.

How To Make Water-Resistant Acrylic Paint?

Here are a few ways how you can make water-resistant acrylic paint:

Acrylic Primer

To keep the paint from washing off, use acrylic primer on the canvas/surface prior to painting. Needless to say, don’t prime your skin unless you want major irritation and inflammation.


Use mild heat to dry the paint. This will make the paint stick to the surface fully by increasing the bond strength between the pigments.


You can apply multiple layers (1-3) of varnish to seal down the paint. Varnishing is like applying a coating of wax on top of the painting. It protects the paint from washing away at the slightest inconvenience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does acrylic paint wash off of clothes?

Even if it’s somewhat dried off, you can wash off acrylic paint from clothes. Rinse off the paint with water as much as you can. Then simmer the clothing item in lukewarm soapy water for a while to soften the paint. You can use denatured alcohol too to scrub off the paint.

Q: Are acrylic paints washable once they dry?

Yes, acrylic paints are washable even if they dry off to a certain extent. You’ll, however, need to put much more effort into scraping and scrubbing the paint off if it’s been a while.

Q: Is acrylic paint washable on the coffee table?

With coffee tables, you need to stay cautious so that you don’t damage the table while scrubbing. If it’s a wooden coffee table, using certain denatured alcohol can fade the color off. Dampening the wood for a long time is a no-go as well. Take your time and gently scrape off the paint with the appropriate solvent.

Q: Rubbing alcohol or baby oil – which one’s better to get rid of acrylic paint?

In most cases, you should always use baby oil before using any sort of alcohol. Especially if it’s human skin, we’re talking about. Direct alcohol application can cause irritation and inflammation as well. So, to get rid of acrylic paint on the skin, baby oil is a much better option.

Q: Why is acrylic paint so stubborn to get off?

Acrylic paint is most stubborn to get off if it has had the time to properly dry off. Also, if you’re using the thick pigmented master’s quality paint, it’s much harder to wash it away. The premium-quality paint is not as diluted. So, the particles get embedded within the fabric intricately – making them so stubborn to get off.

Q: Does acrylic paint wash off with water?

Yes, unless the mixture has been previously altered to make it permanent, acrylic paint will wash off with water. It’s primarily water-based paint. As a result, water will, or at least, should automatically loosen the bond between the pigments upon contact.

Q: How long does it take for acrylic paint to dry?

Considering the pigment concentration, it can take anywhere from 10-15 to 30-40 minutes for acrylic paint to dry. If the paint is highly diluted i.e. of student’s quality, then it will take much less time to dry. The drying time also depends on the surface material and humidity in the air.

Learn more about acrylic paints:

Final Verdict

So, is acrylic paint washable or not? Turns out, it’s not impossible to get the paint off any type of surface if you try hard enough. If simple lukewarm soapy water doesn’t work, go for baby oil or concentrated liquid soap. Subsequently, try denatured alcohol and vigorous scrubbing depending on the surface.

If all else fails, go for the industrial muriatic acid kit as the last resort. Keep amping up the procedure like this step-by-step and you’ll wash off the annoying paint flecks in no time. And yes, don’t forget to exercise proper precautions!

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