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How to Clean Paintball Stains from Clothes

When paintballs hit your garments, the paint penetrates deep into the fabric of your clothes. As such, cleaning the aftermath of a thrilling paintball game can be difficult.

The resilience of paintball stains on the fabric depends on a number of factors including the amount of oil in the paint, the color and material of your clothes, and how long you take before you clean them. The solubility of the paint also determines the ease of cleaning. Generally, water-soluble paint is easier to clean than oil-based paint.

Here are a few tips on how to get paint out of clothes.

How to Get Paint Out of Clothes

1. Clean Your Clothes Immediately

The dye used in paintballs is the same grade as those used in food dyes. And just like food dyes, paintball stains do wash away as long as you launder them the right way. If the dye sits on a garment for too long, it can seep deeper into the fabric and become difficult to remove.

For quick and easy cleaning, don’t let the paint dry on your clothes. Clean your clothes as soon as possible. If the first round of washing doesn’t do it, add a stronger stain remover and soak your clothes for about 45 minutes before washing them again.

If you’re cleaning white garments, be sure to use a bleacher for best results.

2. Remove Debris from Clothes Before Washing

Before you throw your clothes into the laundry machine, remove all the sticks, leaves, or burrs that you may have picked up during the game. Such debris can cause further stains as well as clog and damage the washing machine.

This step is particularly important if you are cleaning the microfiber cloth used to clean the paintball equipment. It picks up so much dirt and debris. It’s recommended to wash it separately.

3. Pre-treat Your Clothes Before Cleaning

Before you soak or wash your clothes, take some time to pre-treat them with a strong washing detergent or a stain remover. The best way of doing this is rubbing the cleaning agent onto the garments with your hands, and let it sit for around five minutes before you start the actual washing.

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4. Adjust the Settings of Your Washing Machine

Depending on the fabric of your clothes, set your washing machine’s temperature as high as possible. Also, if your laundry machine has “sanitary cycle” and “super hot” settings, utilize them for as long as your fabric allows.

Normally, clothes with cotton fabric or a mixture of cotton and other fabrics will withstand these settings without getting discolored. This is a tried and tested way of removing stubborn stains, even with poor detergents.

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5. Air Dry Your Clothes After Washing

Contrary to what many people believe, the process of removing paintball stains doesn’t end with rinsing your clothes. The way you dry them affects the degree of the stain removal, and air drying is the best way to go about it. You can dry your clothes in direct sunlight or under a shade.

If your clothes are white, drying them in the sun (after washing them with a good bleaching agent) will work like magic as far as stain removal is concerned. However, you shouldn’t leave your clothes in the sun for too long as this weakens and decolorizes the fabric. A maximum of four hours will do.

Also, avoid drying brightly colored clothes directly under the sun as this can cause fading. You can either turn them inside out or dry them under a shade to preserve the colors. You can also use a color care agent.

6. Consider Using a Different Cleaning Agent


Since you can’t use a bleaching agent on colored clothes, you will often find yourself stuck with your regular detergent, which may not be as effective when removing paintball stains.

In such a situation, mix a cupful of water with a teaspoon of dishwashing soap and a tablespoon of ammonia. Let this mixture sit for around 10 minutes and then use it to soak your stained clothes for about half an hour.

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Avoiding Stubborn Paintball Stains

Now that you know how to get paint out of clothes, don’t worry so much about stains when paintballing – this can take the fun out of the game. To have some peace of mind, designate some clothes for paintballing.

Furthermore, since you know that you are going to leave the battlefield covered in paint, you can minimize the damage by wearing dark colored clothes with soft fabric as they are easier to clean.

Also, avoid using cheap paintballs – most of them are oil-based and contain waxy fills. You can tell that a paint has wax in it by touching and feeling its texture. If it feels oily like a crayon, don’t use it.

Good luck on the battlefield!

See our post about: How to Clean A Paintball Gun