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Are Watercolor Paints Washable?

Watercolor paints are super fun, and can be used by professionals and even kids. Even though they are water-based paints, it can still cause a panic when you see a watercolor stain on clothes, carpet, or even your couch. If you are wondering whether or not watercolor paints are washable, you aren’t alone.

So, are watercolor paints washable? Yes, they are. Watercolor paints become activated when you add water. This means whether the stain is still wet, or it has dried, you can wash the stain out by adding some water. If you notice the stain after it has had time to dry, you can wash it out.

Watercolor has the ability to stain, even though they are very light and watery. If you act immediately, you should be able to take care of it before it dries. However, there might be an instance that you don’t notice the stain until after it has dried. If this is the case, don’t worry. In this article, we go over how to remove dried watercolor stains, and much more! Let’s read on.

Does Watercolor Paint Wash Out of Clothes?

Since watercolor paints are activated by water, it is really simple to was them out of clothes. There are a few different ways you can do it efficiently. If you notice the stain before putting the clothing in the laundry, you can rinse it with hot water and rub the shirt until the stain comes out.

My favorite and top pick is always Arteza Watercolor Paints. They have so many different colors, and the quality is amazing! I usually use Arteza Paints for all my projects.

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You can also use laundry detergent to soak the stain to be extra sure it won’t stick around. Most water-based paints will quickly and easily wash out of clothing when they come in contact with laundry detergent. Put a small amount of detergent on the stain and let it sit until you are ready to wash it.

If you happen to be out of laundry detergent at the moment, don’t freak out just yet. There are other ways you can wash the stain out. One of the best things for removing stains is dish washing liquid. For the best results, use some lemon juice and salt with the dish liquid. 

Another option if you don’t want to use detergent, is this Amodex Stain Remover, which is specifically deigned for paint stains. From wine stains to paint, to ink, this stain remover is great to have handy for everyday spills.

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If none of those options resonate with you, you can even use hair spray to wash out a watercolor stain in clothing. Apply the hairspray directly to the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, then gently rub the stain with a washcloth.

You can then wash the shirt normally when you have the chance! This method won’t always work, but you can try it before buying any stain remover products.

Are Watercolor Paints Permanent?

When you are using watercolor paints for a painting, you may be wondering how long they will last on paper. This is a very common question and knowing what the answer is will save you time and confusion. 

There are two different types of watercolor paints. There is staining and non-staining watercolor paints. This refers to how well the paint absorbs into the watercolor paper fibers. You will usually be able to tell which is which based on the label, but there is something you can try on your own.

Staining watercolor paints are going to be more permanent.

This means that the paint will stick very well to the paper and won’t lift off after it has dried. Non-staining watercolor paints can be reactivated and are still workable after they have dried.

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Before painting, you can determine which you are working with by using a scrap piece of watercolor paper. Apply the paint and allow it to dry completely overnight. When the paper is completely dry, you can perform the test.

With a clean paintbrush and a decent amount of water, wet the paper. Move the paintbrush along the surface of the paper, dragging it towards the outside of the painted area. If the paint doesn’t move with the water, it is permanent. If it does move with the water or starts to dissolve, it is not permanent.

How Do You Remove Dried Watercolor?

There are a few different ways you can remove dried watercolor paints. First, you can use a paintbrush with water. Add a decent amount of water to the paintbrush and apply it to the dried paint. As the water reacts with the paint, it should start to lift off the paper. 

You can also spray clean water onto the dried paint you want to remove. After you apply the water, you will be able to blot it with a paper towel. This will work great if you are trying to remove large areas of dried paint at one time.

It is also possible to remove dried watercolor paints with a wet sponge. It is important that you only use natural sponges in neutral colors. This will reduce the risk of the color soaking off the sponge and onto the paper.

Finally, you can enlist the help of a palette knife or a razor blade. Razors with a single edge blade can help you scrape off dried paint with ease. A palette knife is a safer alternative to a razor blade, and it is just as effective.

Can You Use Watercolor Paint on Your Face?

Everyone loves a good face painting. It can be easy to assume that since watercolor paints are water-based, they are safe to be used on your skin and face. While watercolor paints are convenient, it is not recommended to use on your face.

Watercolor paints are non-toxic and safe, but that doesn’t mean they are safe to use on skin on purpose. Everyone’s skin is different. One person might have a horrible reaction to the paint. It can cause them irritation or even form a rash. Each person has different sensitivities, and watercolor paints can agitate someone’s skin.

To read more about watercolor toxicity, check out one of my other articles that covers watercolors and toxicity. It’s definitely worth a read if you are looking to learn more about watercolors being toxic.

There is also the potential that one person has a harder time getting the watercolor paint to wash off their skin. This also relates to everyone being different. In some cases, one person’s skin might be more absorbent than the next person. This can be inconvenient and make for some awkward situations.

If your children decide it is a fantastic idea to paint each other’s faces with watercolor paints, there is no need to worry. As it isn’t toxic, it won’t cause them any harm other than a potential rash or irritation. All you need to do to get it off is use some warm, soapy water, a cotton ball, and some light scrubbing.

If the soap isn’t enough to get the paint off, you can try adding some baby oil to hot water, soaking a cotton ball in it, and rubbing the cotton ball on the skin. If you need the watercolor off their skin quickly, you might need to apply a little more force to your scrubbing. 

Final Thoughts

Even though watercolor paints are water-based, it can still make you nervous to see a stain on fabric or clothing. Luckily, watercolor paints are washable and can be taken care of several different ways when you see a stain. 

You can easily remove watercolor by putting the clothing through the washing machine, but in some cases, you might not have one available right away. If this is the case, you can try to remove the stain with plain water, dish soap, or even hair spray.

It’s even possible to remove completely dried watercolor paints from clothing and paper. You can try to scrape it off as best you can and add some water to what us left of the paint. This will make it easier for the water to react with the paint and lift it.

Make sure to follow all my tips and recommended products to ensure that your watercolors wash off and don’t stain. Also, don’t forget to check out my other articles for all your painting Q&A’s. Happy painting! 

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