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Oops! I spilled paint on my carpet!

“About two years back,” Kent told me, “I had hired a professional painter to brighten up my dining room and living room. Both rooms were carpeted wall-to-wall. While I was out doing some across-the-town chores, my son called me on the cell phone with horrible news: the painter had spilled an entire gallon of paint on my dining room carpet.

“I turned the car around and fought the afternoon traffic, racing home to see the damage. You can imagine my surprise when I arrived at the house and dashed into the dining room – there was no stain whatsoever! The painter apologized for the inconvenience, but I was more amazed at how he cleaned it up. My son swore that the spill was larger than a dinner plate, and he was just as shocked at how the pro was able to clean it up! I never did ask him how he did it…”

Kent’s puzzlement is a good one. It seems impossible to get latex paint out of your carpet, but it indeed can be done. What do you do if you have a paint-spill accident on your carpet?

Smaller spills (a few drips here and there) are taken care of with a clean, wet rag. Keep wetting the paint drips and blotting them up. A spray bottle with water might be a good idea.

What about a full bucket-tip disaster?

An important thing to remember with a big spill is to act quickly. If the spill is large, remove as much excess from the carpet as quickly as possible. Do you have a wet/dry vacuum? Get it out and pull up as much of the paint as you can. Don’t let that paint dry – if you have a delay in getting a wet/dry vacuum cleaner, place a wet towel over the spill until you can deal with it. Even when you wet-vac, keep checking that the paint remains wet. Add water when you need to, and then follow the blotting procedure with a clean rag.

If you find an already-dried spot that you may have overlooked, add hot water to the paint to soften it up and blot with a rag. Keep adding hot water until you get the paint soft enough to blot.

And there you go…good as new!