How to remove acrylic paint from Canvas?

Acrylic paint is a versatile painting option. It can be used in several ways to create painting resembling any medium, or even a trans medium pattern that incorporates more than one traditional style.

Perhaps this is the major of so many qualities which make artists reach out for their acrylic sets again and again. Acrylic paint has some great qualities which makes it the perfect choice for painters using the canvas for experimental purposes.

Due to the very qualities which make acrylic paint suitable for multipurpose uses, it is also incredibly hard to correct on a canvas. Acrylic paint dries quickly and is quite opaque.

It is usually made of vibrant and colorful pigments which are absorbed by the surface quickly. This means cleaning canvasses or correcting mistakes while painting with acrylic is tougher than with other paint mediums.

What is acrylic paint on Canvas: Is correction possible?

There are a few characteristics of acrylic paint that need to be understood to know how and when a canvas should be cleaned and when the acrylic medium is used for the best finishing.

Let us compare acrylic paint with two of the most famous traditional painting mediums. Think of watercolor and oil paint. similar to removing acrylic paint from canvas as discussed below you can also remove oil paint from carpet as discussed here to make carpets clean.

How acrylic paint differs from traditional paint mediums?

Watercolor can always be corrected and manipulated. Even when watercolor has dried completely you can add water to it to cause changes. In case, it leaves a bit of staining, you can always use a gentle layer of new watercolor to mix it.

When it comes to oil-based paints, a simple solvent can vaporize the oil base. And the paint will come off easily leaving a completely untouched canvas surface for future reuse. This is because when the oil paint dries it dries completely.

How acrylic paint behaves on canvas surface?

Acrylic paint is neither miscible with water when dried, nor is it driven off to leave the canvas surface untouched and be scraped off easily with a usual painting solvent. Unlike oil, paint acrylic will never dry completely, know how much time does acrylics take to dry in this guide. A great paint always seems to retain a certain film over itself. And it depends on its rate of drying and the surrounding temperature of the environment.

Therefore, at certain times, the lack of good finishing is not due to your painting mistakes. But rather due to the environment you are working in. Rectifying mistakes made in a cry-like medium thus becomes very difficult as it is almost always impossible to correct them with an additional layer of paint either.


Then what do we need?

It is well known that even water-based acrylic paints cannot be removed without the use of special solvents especially dedicated to this purpose.

But on the other hand, there is a good news.

When you are using the correct solvent, you can even strip off an old canvas completely from its original colors. And reuse it for a better purpose.

When they are garlic paint is where we can use water to correct our painting mistakes but when it has dried out we might need to apply a solvent which will be followed by a scraping process using a general razor blade.

Trending now: remove acrylic paint from wood easily just like canvas

Types of acrylic paint cleaning

You can consider this segment of the article is types of cleaning, you can proceed with on your acrylic painting. You can instead consider this segment of the article to be discussing in what ways you can clean the canvas depending on your specific requirements.

How you can carry on the cleaning process depends on several factors such as the area involved, the condition of the painting, and whether it is wet or dry.

Cleaning the full canvas

When the water-based acrylic paint is wet, you can use soap and water to get rid of the paint from the entire canvas. Also, you can start all over again.

In this process, you will be needing to allow the canvas to dry. Then re prime the canvas with white color primer or paint before letting your color paint brush touch it.

If your paint has dried, the best method is to wear protective gear like gloves face mask, and an apron. Take your canvas to an airy place and facilitate the perfect cleaning area where strong chemicals like paint thinners and special solvents can work without damaging your furniture.

The painting should be soaked for more than an hour. After that, you should undergo a scraping process just to be certain that no remaining paint is stuck to your canvas. Or you can undergo spot cleaning on the desired areas and then allow your canvas to recover.

Spot cleaning

Spot cleaning is best when you’re painting. It itself is wonderful. But needs a few corrections here and there. The material required for spot cleaning is quite similar to that of cleaning the entire canvas except that instead of using large tools to dissolve the whole painting.

We will instead be applying our solvents to the small areas of our choice. This must be done very carefully. Because the more precision you allow, the better will be the results when you repaint.

Mixing two or more solvents on the canvas while going for spot cleaning can be dangerous. Why? As we do not know how they will react and which will dilute to what extent.

After the solvent has dissolved the paint, we should use a piece of cloth or cotton balls to clean off the paint from that region. You can soak the piece of cloth in solvent again. Then, lightly rub it on that specific part of your painting.

This can be a repeated process that should be undertaken again and again for the best results. You can also combine a bit of scraping with spot cleansing as well.

In the case of sports cleaning, allowing your canvas an appropriate amount of time to dry out the solvent without letting the rest of the painting become manipulative is the most important aspect.

Giving the final touches

In the case of full canvas cleaning, you can always go a step ahead. How? You can use water or a solution of soap to clean the canvas once all the paint has been removed.

Since your canvas is already gone through the treatment of harsh chemicals, detergent should be avoided. Some paint that is not visible to the naked might still come off your canvas when you do this. To bring back the original texture of your canvas surface, you should continue this process until no more paint comes out of your soap cleaning. After cleaning, just like with normal clothing. you should wash the canvas in running water one last time before allowing it to dry.

removing acrylic paint from canvas

How to prepare before cleaning acrylic paint?

There are a few well-known but simple steps that an artist should remember before undertaking the cleaning process. In this segment, we will just recall these points to make sure the result is as refined and complete as you can wish.

  • Start by making sure you already have all the ingredients you require for this cleaning process. Leaving out the process in the middle can do more hand than good to your canvas and painting.
  • Invest in the proper gear before handling strong solvents. Protective gear includes latex gloves or leather gloves, hair caps, aprons, leg coverings, etc. These will protect you if and when the solvent reaches your skin.
  • Avoid going through with the cleaning process in your traditional work room where you keep other paintings and paint materials. Some of the hardship chemicals used as solvents include paint thinners and other such variations. These can permanently alter your paint tubes as well as paintings if they come in contact with them.
  • Choose an empty room with no expensive furniture and a lot of open air so that the solvent fumes do not impact your health. At the same time, avoid an open area which too much exposure to environmental factors as this can disrupt the process.
  • Remember, if you still see paint stains that you just cannot get rid of scraping and sanding. the canvas is always a great option. Both of these methods require great patience and a lot of time. So, start with a happy and energetic mode with lots of free time in your hands.

preparing canvas for paint removal

Which solvent to use to clean acrylic paint from canvas?

The solvent you will be used to be in acrylic paint from canvas depends on the material of your canvas as well as the state and nature of your acrylic paint. For example, an old acrylic painting made on cotton canvas will require a solvent much different from a new acrylic painting made on a synthetic canvas plate. The conditions which did remind us which solvent is to be chosen for your canvas and how you will be making your choices in these scenarios.

  • Depending on the material of your canvas you can go for the right solvent. On a cotton canvas, denatured alcohol provides the best results. While on synthetic canvas acetone or paint thinner will do a better job.
  • For acrylic paintings with especially dark strokes which will be requiring the harshest solvents to dissolve (remember that older paintings require stronger solvents than newer ones). You might have to go for solvent options like turpentine or mineral spirits.
  • Special artist products are available in premium grade quality in most art stores for removing paint and unlocking the acrylic formula. These artists specialized solvents have the best chance of working with the hardest areas of your cleaning process for cleaning canvas and carpets from unwanted acrylics.

A little about popular paint cleaning solvents

In the following section, we have provided a brief introduction to each of the most popular paint-removing solvents when it comes to acrylic paint.

Isopropyl alcohol

Isopropyl or denatured alcohol is the most widely used and gentle of all solvent variations. They are very simply used. With this, the artist only required to dip their cloth or chosen tool into the alcohol solution before applying it in the region in question.

It works on the paint formula quickly and penetrates the canvas without affecting its quality or structure. The world perfectly on ticket layers of paint and remove the entire paint in one swipe. Wearing on during the use of alcohol is mandatory.


Acetones are paint thinners. They are chosen pain remover chemical. These automatically acts on the acrylic paint respective to the surface it is being used on. It is a very fast method, showing results in mere minutes. For the best results knowing the credit concentration which should be applied is important.

Acetone might stick to the surface of the canvas so cleaning your canvas completely before you start painting on it again is advised. Acetone can be toxic and should be used carefully.


Turpentine only requires 6 minutes to dissolve the acrylic paint. Like acetone, it also needs you to completely clean off the canvas of the presence of its chemical residues before you start painting. It works equally well on thick consistencies of both dry and wet paint.

Turpentine is usually considered the best option for sports cleaning using a fast-reacting solvent. While using Turpentine The artist should be completely covered using protective gear and were a mask for the whole duration.

Other homemade hacks

For tiny quantities of such mistakes which needed immediate and casual attention, everyday products like nail polish removers, time sanitizers, liquid soap, and laundry detergent can be used as removers and correctors.

Be substances contain solvent chemicals within themselves including acetone which then reacts on the small areas over which these are applied to provide the desired results.

However, they are not strong enough to give appropriate results over large areas. In such cases, can harm the painting more than doing something profitable.

home based nail polish remover for cleaning painting canvas


Cleaning acrylic paint from a canvas is not that difficult once you know the correct rules and regulations and follow them to the end. However, it is also common to make mistakes as a beginner. And you must not let such experiences be a setback to your mental and emotional motivation.


Are acrylic paint removing solvents flammable?

Yes, almost every acrylic paint-removing solvent is a flammable chemical. to know if your acrylic paint is flammable then you can read this post for better understanding.

Should I mix two solvents for a stronger result?

You should never mix two solvents. That does not give a stronger result or a better finishing.

Can I use nail paint remover to remove acrylic paint?

Nail paint remover can be used to remove acrylic paint. Given that, it is a hundred percent acetone solution and does not have herbal or nutritional additions.

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