How to Clean an Acrylic Paint Palette

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Painting is the process of imprinting an imaginary world on a piece of paper. Painting is fun, but cleaning isn’t. After mixing and matching colors on a palette, it is exhaustingly tough to clean. Here is an article on how to clean an acrylic paint palette.

How to Clean Acrylic Paint Palette

If there is one thing artists despise is the cleaning process after painting a liberating art. The mess created on a palette looks like a battlefield of colors.

White paint palette with brushes

Why Should You Clean the Palette?

No matter what medium of paint or how big palette you use, it is advisable to clean it often. It is a habit that you should force yourself into; it makes you a disciplined artist.

The longer you leave the paint to dry on the palette, the more difficulty will arise while cleaning. This is particularly true if you have a wooden palette.

When you leave the palette unattained after painting, dust, and grime settle on it, leading to difficulty in color mixing. Here is a detailed stepwise solution for cleaning an acrylic color palette.

Materials Required

  • Blunt knife/butter knife
  • Soap
  • Nail paint remover
  • Acrylic gel
  • A clean toothbrush

Step 1: Peel off the Excess Paint

Acrylic paints can be peeled off when it is dry.

  1. The paint easily comes off quite easily when you peel it with fingers.
  2. If you are using a wooden palette and the paint has stuck in the surface of the wood, you can use a butter knife.
  3. The blunt knife is useful in scrapping off the acrylic or oil paint.

Never leave the paint for a long period on a palette. It stains the palette. Try scrapping it after the painting session to avoid damage to the painting palette.

Step 2: Scrapping of Paint

This is the most engrossing procedure to follow. The material required for this is a handy knife.

  1. Take a palette with dried paint, and this works better if you have a plastic or ceramic palette.
  2. Use a knife or metal spatula to scrape the dried paint.
  3. It is advisable to lead the procedure with sharp-edged objects like a straight razor.
  4. Keep scrapping until the paint comes off.

After this, the next step is to clean the remaining stain residue from the palette.

Step 3: Apply Solvent or Alcohol

To clean the residual, apply solvent/alcohol on the palette.

  1. To remove excess residue from the palette, apply 70% alcohol/nail paint remover.
  2. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Check if the color is coming off; if not, then leave for a few more minutes.
  4. Next, use a butter knife and scrape the paint from the palette.
  5. After scrapping, use a toothbrush and remove as much as you can.

The acrylic paint dissolves in alcohol, thus removing it from the color palette.

Empty paint palette

Step 4: Cleaning Wet Acrylic From the Palette

The best way to clean the color from the palette (plastic, ceramic, or wood) is to do when the color is still wet. Acrylic is water-soluble, and cleaning while it is wet is a time-saving method.

  1. Use a wet tissue or damp cloth to clean the paint from the palette.
  2. Repeat the procedure until the globs of paint come off.
  3. To clean the stain or paint from the palette, submerge the palette in a bowl of water. Use some amount of liquid soap and leave it for 2 hours.
  4. The oil/acrylic paints get dissolved in water.
  5. Next, use a fresh brush and scrub the palette surface well to ensure o residue remains.
  6. Rinse the palette after cleaning and leave it to get dry.

This is the simple and non-strenuous solution to clean the acrylic paint. If you have globs in the palette’s crests that are not coming off easily, use a cotton swab soaked in soap solution and scrub it well.

Leave it for a couple of minutes and rinse off the solution to get a clean and new palette.

Step 4: Apply Acrylic Medium Gel on Dried Paint

By far, this is the most satisfying technique to remove acrylic paint from the palette.

  • Use clear tar gel and brush it in a period thin layer all over the acrylic paint.
  • Let it sit for 15-20 mins until it is completely dry.
  • Then, start peeling from the corners and make the path to the center.
  • Finally, the dried medium and the paint started coming off with ease.

This procedure works well on ceramic and plastic acrylic paint platters; it does not give promising results when applied on wooden or polystyrene palettes. You can also check this short video to know more about it.

Cleaning Tips for Various Materials

Cleaning the mess after a masterpiece is not limited up to palette; it goes beyond that. Before we begin to check the surface, we will discuss this in this article.

Here is a simple and quick solution to get rid of paint from the brushes.

  • Arctic paint dissolves in water; rinse the brush in water to get rid of excess paint.
  • Right after the painting session, pour gentle soap or shampoo on the palm and mix it well with the brush you intend to wash.
  • Keep circling the brush until the soap gets properly between the bristles.
  • Rinse well, squish it dry.
  • Take one cap of tarpaulin oil and then keep the brush for a few minutes; this cleans any remaining dry residue from the brush.
  • Use a soft cloth and wipe it well; keep it horizontally to dry.
  • If you follow these steps, you will keep the brushes in great shape and save money in the long term.

How to Get Off Paint From Clothes

Accidents often happen while painting, and it is not new that unknowingly paint gets on your clothes. Here is a solution to clean paint from clothes.

  1. Don’t et the paint sit on your clothes; wash it immediately with water.
  2. You can also hand wash it with a small amount of detergent and water.
  3. If the paint has dried, soak the cloth with rubbing alcohol and scrub it with your hands. When the paint comes off, wash it in water.
  4. The preceding solution didn’t work. Then soak it in ammonia or window cleaner. Rub it and then rinse it in water; the cloth won’t have the remaining residual stain of paint.
Brown paint brush on assorted paint palette

Tips for Coloring Palette

If you feel paranoid after every painting session, then you can use disposable color palettes.

Disposable color palettes have become popular recently; you can buy these waterproof pads at any stationary shop. Then, after using it, you can throw it in the trash and completely avoid the hassle of cleaning the palettes.

Also, in this way, you can eliminate the problem of draining the paint in the waterways, causing water pollution.

The next tip is to use plastic coating over the palette, wrap plastic, and secure it with tapes. After the painting, the session throws out the plastic, and you are good to go for the next session without investing time in cleaning the paint.

Use baking paper or butter paper and cover the palette with baking paper. Complete the color mixing on the butter paper and throw the paper after using.

Health and Safety Tips

There are some rules you must follow while painting, these rules ensure you maintain a safe lifestyle while working with paints.

  1. The paint contains a lot of toxic chemicals that should not get into your body system. That said, be aware of what you use for painting.
  2. Avoid keeping it around food, do not throw the remaining paint solution in the kitchen sink, where you wash eating tools.
  3. Avoid washing a large amount of paint down the sink, use paper towels or damp cloth to clean, period and then throw it away in the trash.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Clean Acrylic Glass Palette?

To clean the glass palette, first, secure it well with duct tape. Next, spray alcohol solution over the palette and then use a damp cloth and clean the remaining residue of the paint. This way, you can avoid scratches while cleaning the acrylic glass palette.

Is It Okay to Dispose of the Paint in the Sink?

No, it is not advisable to wash the pant in the sink; this can clog up the water pipes. Instead, you can use a bowl of water and let the paint dissolve in the water. This helps in thinning the paint, and then you can drain the paint solution in the sink.

Black brush on paint palette

Can I Use Laundry Detergent to Clean the Paint?

Never use laundry detergent; it leaves a thin film over the palette, which can intrude in your painting sessions. Instead, you can use a mild shampoo or dish washable solution to clean the palettes.


Acrylic paint stains when left for too long. Remember, it is smart to clean it earlier. The steps are explained to make the cleaning process simple. In addition, proper care of palettes can make them last longer.