Are Acrylic Paints Washable With Water?

Acrylic is a beautiful, versatile medium that can be painted onto almost any surface- you got it! That being said, some types of acrylic paints are not water soluble or washable. This article will talk about which ones are and what to do if this happens.

Doesn’t everyone have something in their closet that they just don’t ever use anymore? Yeah, me too. Luckily for us, we had already organized all our brushes by size when these paint brands came out, so we were able to find replacements quickly!

I have gathered some tips here for people who discover rogue drops of their favorite colors on fabric, furniture, or bed linens after washing. If your brush was taken directly from the bottle, there may be nothing you can do, but reading ahead may help prevent wasted materials.

Removing Unwanted Colors From Fabric

The first thing I would recommend doing is rinsing the item in very hot water. I know this sounds funny, but it does work! Most fabrics contain microfibers that aid in cleaning and rehydration of the material.

For instance, if you puttyed up your child’s new shirt with an acrylic paint color, then washed the shirt, those little hairs might stick around. They could pull away some of the paint color as well as dye the cloth, making the end product look fuzzy and less crisp.

Test results

Many artists use acrylic paints to create beautiful works of art. Unfortunately, many do not know whether or not their paint can be washed with water! Some brands say they are but will not tell you how to properly wash them.

Acrylic is a chemical compound that contains polymer molecules. These polymer molecules link together to form chains which make up the liquid state of the paint. When painted onto a surface, the paint dries and forms a protective layer over the material it is painted on. This makes it very durable and long lasting!

However, when using acryclic paints, there is a thin film of topcoat left behind in your painting. This thin layer of paint is exposed to air and moisture, and will slowly break down and dissolve away. If this happens, parts of your painting may peel off or completely crumble into pieces.

Some people believe that these layers of acrylic can be wiped off easily with a damp cloth and some kind of thinner such as alcohol or acetone. This is definitely not true though! We will go through several different tests to see just that. So, stay tuned and read on for more information!

Disclaimer: The content in this article should not be used as medical advice since we cannot diagnose or treat any health problems. In addition, although they seem easy enough, altering the durability of an acrylic painting or coverup can potentially damage the paint layer or surface of the item.

How to wash a paintbrush

When washing your brush, make sure you work in an area that is safe for you to be around and is clearly visible from outside!

Acrylic paints are not inherently water-resistant. That means they can be washed off with water or alcohol depending on how dry the paint is.

If you use straight vinegar as a solvent, it will quickly remove most of the acrylics from your brushes. However, do not ingest the liquid!

That would definitely not be fun. Even if you think your brush is only slightly wet, try wiping it down with some vinegar first before passing it onto another artist. You don’t want their paint to stick to yours!

Never put used acidity agents such as vinegar into drinking water or water projects like sinks or pools. The chemicals could react and damage those things.

Washing paints

While some brands of acrylic paint are designed to be water-soluble, this does not mean they are easy to wash. If you try washing your painting with water, it may even cause your paint to break down!

Acrylic is a chemical compound that contains hydrogen and oxygen. When painted onto a surface, the chemicals in the paint react and bind to each other to form an extremely durable layer. This is what gives most acrylic paintings their striking quality!

However, when working with oils or acrylics that have strong colors, there is a chance that small amounts of pigment could dissolve in the water. This can sometimes occur if you accidentally brush too much liquid onto your canvas or wipe off excess moisture.

Fortunately, no matter which type of acrylic paint you use, there are two ways to take care of it. You can either air dry or warm dry it depending on how thick the paint is. Both will keep the paint from drying and deteriorating due to water.

Washing your paint container

When washing your acrylic paint containers, make sure to use a material that is not porous. Non-porous materials are glass, plastic, or ceramic.
You can wash your paint pot in two different ways: either using water or alcohol.

For the first way, use warm water with some hairspray or gel you have to prevent the paint from drying out. This works best if you like very fine details of your painting!

To remove thicker paints such as illustrative washes and color coats, use alcohol instead of water. Just remember to never put alcohol directly onto the surface of the paint because this could cause thinning of the coating.

Acids such as wine and vinegar also work well for removing thick layers of paint.

Washing your palette

While some brands of acrylic paints are designed to be water soluble, this does not mean they are easy to wash. In fact, many types of acrylic paint cannot be washed with water!

Acrylics contain resin which is mixed in with liquid pigments. This resin helps give the painted look to the surface of the painting, but it also makes the material more difficult to rinse or clean.

If you accidentally drop some of the paint onto a hard surface like marble or ceramic, it will stick and require extra effort to remove it. Some people believe that using alcohol or acetone as a cleaner can actually make the paint gel up slightly and clog your brush.


Do not use warm or hot water when cleaning your canvas! The heat could melt the glue that holds the colors together! Use cold water instead.

Water is your friend

Washing acrylic paintings is not as simple as some might make it seem! While most types of acrylic paint are considered water-based, this does not mean they are easy to wash or work with.

Acrylic paints contain large particles of pigment mixed in an acid solution. These acids can react with each other and/or moisture in the air to form gels. If these gels are left inside the painting when washing, they will eventually cause damage to the surface of the paint. This includes cracking and flaking which will weaken the paint and expose raw canvas.

As mentioned earlier, water is the best solvent for most liquids. This means that if you choose to clean your painting using either soap or water, then use plenty of water to ensure all of the liquid has time to completely rinse off.

Don’t get it wet

Even though most acrylic paints are water-based, that doesn’t mean you can wash them off with water! This may seem obvious, but it does happen sometimes.

Acrylic paint is designed to be washed down the drain or in a bucket of water, but making sure these things don’t get mixed up with liquid water is important.

If you use your paintbrush as you would normally, then washing it away in plain water will do the trick. But if you have to clean it more thoroughly, there are some products that say they are “waterproof” or “washable.” These aren’t actually what they claim to be!

Some types of waterproofing agents contain alcohol, which can dissolve parts of the acrylic paint and dry hard. A few drops of alcohol should remove all traces of paint without leaving any residue behind.

Seal your paint container

While some brands of acrylic paints are marketed as being water-proof, this claim is not true for all versions of these products. Because most acrylic paint is designed to be diluted with alcohol or water, it does not hold up well when you wash the bottle down with liquid.

Acrylic paint can be washed with either alcohol or plain water, but never both! Using an appropriate sealer will prevent cracks in the paint and help keep the paint fresh and vibrant.

Many people use plastic wrap to cover the top of their paint bottles before washing them. This works fine until you need to remove the lid, at which time the paint may seep through and onto whatever surface you’re painting.

A much better solution is to purchase a clear glass spray bottle cap sleeve that fits over the top of your painted bottle. These have an adhesive back so you can stick it to the side of the bottle, then pull off when dry.

These work best if you do not put too much pressure when spraying the paint because the air supply is restricted then.

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