Winter parka + oil paint - and winter's not over in the NorthEast!
March 22, 2013 11:53 AM   Subscribe

Had a lovely tour of an artist's studio yesterday, but noticed today that there are several large smears of white paint on one sleeve and the zipper placket of my coat. It seems I brushed up against a wet work, and then transfered it around to several other spots. I confirmed that it's oil paint, not acrylic. Fortunately, the artist is a good friend and the painting in question was not finished, so the art is safe and in good hands. Coat is a black nylon parka from LL Bean, and a call to the help desk there confirmed that it cannot be drycleaned, nor can any sort of solvent be used on it. But - I have to try something or throw it out - it's that awful-looking. It might never be perfect - I'm looking for . . .better. Any artists or art conservators (or perhaps dry cleaners) out there who could advise me on the best way to proceed?
posted by citygirl to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total)
I've gotten artist's oil paint out of puppy fur by diluting it with baby oil. Maybe you could break it up with a little oil and then hit it with some detergent to get the oil stain out.
posted by bonobothegreat at 12:08 PM on March 22, 2013

I would hit it with a Magic Eraser sponge, especially if it's mostly on the surface and not worked into the fabric. And then maybe get artistic with a black Sharpie.
posted by HotToddy at 12:14 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Can you revisit the artist and borrow some black oil paint?

Other than that, just because someone says that no solvents should be used on something doesn't mean that you can't try a suitable solvent for oil paint on an unobtrusive bit of the coat to see if the nylon does dissolve.
posted by sciencegeek at 12:15 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Mineral Spirits should be fine, but test first.
posted by jcrcarter at 12:18 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

This site suggests using a combination of turpentine or other paint thinner, a bunch of paper towels, and a lot of patience.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:25 PM on March 22, 2013

Hit the paint with paint thinner like odorless mineral spirits, then spot clean with detergent and get rid of whatever residue you can. LL Bean probably told you not to do this because it will destroy the water resistant coating on the fabric, so you want to be careful to SPOT treat and not spread solvent or detergent around. Blot with a towel underneath.

Then, you get a product like Nikwax and spray that on the cleaned area and hope it restores some of the water resistant coating.
posted by slow graffiti at 12:38 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Soap and hot water to the max. Mineral spirits first if that is allowed.
posted by londongeezer at 12:40 PM on March 22, 2013

Take baby wipes to wipe most of the residue out. The art materials company I worked for sells "art wipes" which are repackaged baby wipes with expensive marketing attached also. Baby wipes are made to gently remove body oils, which would be similar to linseed or safflower oil.

Solvents will damage the nylon material of your coat, and bleach the colour (hello uk).

Try several applications of the wipes and keep the fabric moist. After a few applications, try some dish soap on a toothbrush with warm water.

Memail me if I you have more questions. I hope this is helpful.
posted by effluvia at 1:31 PM on March 22, 2013

If these ideas don't work, then you can go back to the artist and have him/her convert you coat into wearable art.
posted by carmicha at 1:33 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Another thought: ask the artist which white. If it's flake white or "Crementz white", that's a lead based paint, so exercise caution when handling the spot---wear gloves since lead is small enough to migrate through the skin, especially if loosed from the oil binder with solvents.

Titanium white and Zinc/Mixing white have trace amounts of lead, and are less of a concern.
posted by effluvia at 1:38 PM on March 22, 2013

whatever you do, do it as soon as possible. Oil paint takes a while to dry but once it does it is there for good. I accidentally left a little trail of oil paint around downtown chicago once and it was still there years later
posted by velebita at 1:49 PM on March 22, 2013

mix the mineral spirits with dish soap to make it easier to rinse everything out
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:14 PM on March 22, 2013

Unfortunately, there is a reason most artists I know have studio clothes, or give up completely on trying to keep paint off of their clothes. Good luck, but I suspect that at best the stain might be reduced - but not entirely eliminated. Whatever you do, I would be careful of putting flammable solvents on your clothes - and if you do - do NOT put it in the dryer.
posted by R. Mutt at 2:32 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

If worse comes to worst, you could try coloring over it with a black Sharpie.
posted by ottereroticist at 2:35 PM on March 22, 2013

Came in to say, no no, avoid black Sharpie! It washes out right away to a brownish tone, then gray.

I wonder if a better alternative might not be a thin layer of black acrylic paint? Or something else that'll hold color a bit better than Sharpies do.
posted by tapir-whorf at 2:39 PM on March 22, 2013

My house painter recommended using vegetable oil, and then detergent. Basically the same tactic as the first answer.
posted by amelioration at 2:48 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I know a lot of my fellow students use KissOff.
posted by jorlyfish at 4:38 PM on March 22, 2013

Take it to a great dry cleaner and see if they can hand-clean the paint with dry-cleaning solution. Or ask LLBean to send you a swatch; maybe it can be dry-cleaned once, but not all the time. As a dry cleaner to test the swatch.
posted by theora55 at 11:44 AM on March 23, 2013

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