How to Clean Paint/Stain Off Your Hands

The first rule in using paint, stains, pine tar, and glue is to never let it touch your skin by IMG_3188using latex gloves. But let’s be realistic, almost nobody uses gloves when painting or staining, so it is inevitable that these substances are going to get on your hands and skin.

PRO TIP: Be prepared that you are going to get messy!  Prep your hands prior to working with these types of substances by using hand lotion before you start working. This will keep paint and stain from sticking so easily to your hands, and it will make clean up almost effortless.

If you have managed to get paint or stain on your skin, some paint removers on the market are highly toxic, and may not be safe to use directly on your skin.  Be sure to read all labels to see if the product can be safely applied. There are also a few household ingredients (baby oil, cooking oil) that can be used to avoid any harsh chemicals.

The simplest way to clean off oil-based paint and stains from your hands is by using the same cooking oil you may already have now in your kitchen cabinets.  Mixed with a little liquid dish detergent and lathered with water, a gentle rubbing of your hands together will break the paint down and clean it up fast.

PRO TIP: The sooner you can wash your skin before the paint or stain dries, the better! As paint and stains dry, it becomes thicker and harder to remove.

Here is a little more detail to clean up those dirty spots:

  1. Soap and Water
    • The most common solution would be to scrub your hands with soap and water. You should work the soap into your hands, rinsing periodically. Most water and latex based paints will wash away with just simple soap and water.
  2. Mineral Oil, Mineral Spirits, Baby Oil, or Cooking Oil
    • Mineral oil or spirits work the most efficiently with latex, oil and water paints and most stains.IMG_3189
    • After first washing your hands with soap and water, and the mess still is visible, if you pour a small coating of oil over the area with paint or stain, you simply need to lightly rub it to see the cleaning power.
    • It is important to let the oil soak in a little to do its best work. Two to three minutes is the optimum amount of time.
    • Use a wiping cloth (we recommend either using a Precision-Fiber Cloth or a clean painter’s terry towel) to rub the oil in circles to lift the substance off your skin.
    • For tricky, dried areas, dip your Precision-Fiber Cloth or Painter’s Terry Towel directly into the oil and scrub the area with your cloth vigorously in a circular motion.
    • Paint and stain will begin to lift off your skin. If the mess is still visible, apply more oil, and repeat the process.
    • Continue until your skin is clear and all paint and stain is removed.
    • Wash off any excess oil from your hands with soap and water.


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