How can I clean paint spilled on carpet during a DIY painting job

How can I clean up paint spilled on my carpet during my DIY painting job in Bellevue?

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Cleaning paint out of a carpet, especially oil-based paint, and when it has had a chance to dry into the carpet, is difficult but not impossible. A lot depends on the type of carpet, of course, because cheaper carpets tend not to hold their color so well. If too much is tried on such a cheap carpet, you might be able to see the stain area clearly when it has all dried out. And that will only be obvious, therefore, when all the work is done and a few days have passed. It’s often easier to simply cut the area out of the carpet and replace it with a new piece. If the carpet is relatively new, that might be possible, but even the best carpets, over time, change their ‘look’, both from wear and tear and simple fading. Swapping out small sections of a carpet takes skill, and you are well advised to get an expert in to do that, if you think it’s the only way forward. If the carpet has a pattern, it’s more challenging, because the human eye can pick out the smallest imperfection in an otherwise flawless carpet. Still, it’s not impossible, as in many carpet installations, there are already joins in place that you might not even have noticed. Carpet manufacturers do indeed make some big stretches of carpet, but sometimes a room simply cannot be covered from a single piece of carpet. It’s easier to become expert at pattern matching than it is to make carpet rolls to fit every imaginable room shape and size.

How big is the stain area? If the paint stain is, for example, under where a bed usually sits, you might be perfectly happy with a bit of a leftover staining from the cleaning process. But it’s definitely worth removing the stain, no matter what. Circumstances change, and you may be wanting to sell your house for some currently unforeseen reason. Keeping the carpets in reasonable shape means not giving a potential buyer an opportunity to nickel and dime you during the selling process.

Cleanup from a painting project is all in the preparation

By the time you’re struggling with a paint spill, you know that something probably went wrong in the preparation stage. Were the drop cloths adequate? Was all the masking done properly? Was all the furniture that could be moved to another room moved? Did you cover off areas that absolutely needed to be completely protected? All it takes is a whiff of a spray of paint to do real damage to, for example, an old grand piano.

A friend of mine, his neighbor was getting his house painted. He didn’t think to tell his neighbors about the project, even though their respective houses were perhaps 15 feet away from each other. It was waterfront property, and so the land was at a premium. It seemed like everyone wanted to maximize the use of their land, so they built the biggest possible homes allowed by the city. The two driveways were also side by side, and when the painting started, some of the light colored exterior paint wafted over onto my friend’s new, black Toyota Prius. You could see the thousands of tiny droplets all over his car. I can only imagine how well that paint was designed to stick to whatever surface it is applied to, and it was an expensive mistake to fix. The painting company didn’t return any calls, and the neighbor, too, didn’t want to deal with it. In the end, my friend was able to cover the damage with his own home insurance, but it was a completely avoidable problem. All the painters had to do was to reach out to the neighbors and ask them to move their vehicles out of the way for the few days of the project.

Any time you are using a paint sprayer, you have to take wind and ventilation into account. In addition, not everyone is as good with a paint spray gun as the next person. It take skill and care to get it done right.

Preparation for an interior project is different, of course. People don’t normally worry about carpets outdoors, but indoors, a paint spillage can be far more challenging because wood floors, carpets and vinyl flooring can be far more easily damaged than, for example, a concrete driveway.

Hire an expert to clean your carpets

I remember many, many years ago, I was leaving an apartment to move into another one. I decided to clean the carpet myself using a cleaning agent I bought at a home supplies store. I went down on my hands and knees and applied the stuff by hand, inch by inch over the carpet in the entire 1,000 square foot apartment. The carpet came up nice and clean, all right, but the next day I had a wheezing cough that lasted about three months. It wasn’t painful, though, but it hung around like that cough you keep for a while after a head cold is gone. It was a long time ago, and the effects – as best I know – are long gone. It was a stupid way to clean a carpet, and hopefully I never have to pay the ultimate price for it, but since that time, I never try to clean a carpet myself. For the sake of a few hundred dollars, you can save yourself a lot of work by hiring a professional carpet cleaning company. Before the job starts, be sure to point out the exact cleaning you need, and that the paint needs to be removed.

Keep the rooms fully ventilated until the paint has ‘cured’

Just as concrete is not fully hard just because it has mostly dried out, paint is not fully cured – or ‘set’ – for some weeks after the last of the paint is applied. Much as government agencies are paid to look after the safety regulations regarding the manufacturing of paint products, I prefer to remain ultra cautious when it comes to the potential of inhaling vapors that might come from paint used in my home. If at all possible, keep your windows wide open for four weeks after the paint project is finished. Best option of all, of course, is to get your home painted while you and your family are away on vacation. Young and old people are more vulnerable to ‘pollution’ than other folks, so it’s more important to protect the good health of such family members.

Even though the paint is dry to the touch, be aware that vapors may still be coming from the paint. Water-based paints take about two weeks to cure, and oil-based paints take about four weeks, but it is definitely advisable to work with your painting contractor and paint provider to determine exact curing time for the paint products you intend to use.

More next week!

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