It happens to everyone! You’re undertaking a paint project and you have an OOPS! You discover drips, spills, bubbles, lint, brush marks or paint on surfaces it’s not meant for. Following are some ideas on how to correct the most common paint mishaps.


  • Bubbles in your paint occur when the top coat doesn’t properly adhere to the substrate because of moisture or heat problems. Scrape the bubbles off with a paint scraper, sand the surface smooth, coat with a primer and repaint.
  • Latex drips on your trim, walls and/or floor, if fresh, can be wiped off. If the drips have dried, sand down the drip, clean with a damp cloth, prime and repaint.
  • Paint spots on a hardwood or tile floor can be removed by running a razor blade carefully under the drip and peeling it away.
  • Paint on the carpet, if still wet, can be cleaned by first scraping up as much paint as you can then applying hot water and a bit of dish soap. Let sit for a few minutes then scrape with a knife. Add more soap and water as needed. Use a sponge to soak up excess liquid. You may need to repeat the procedure several times. If the paint is dry, try a paint remover purchased from a hardware store.
  • Paint on plastic, if still wet, can be removed with warm water and dish soap. If it has dried, try vegetable oil or rubbing alcohol to soften and lift the paint, then abrade with a paint scraper.
  • Drips or splatters on glass are removed by allowing the paint to dry completely and then scraping the splatters with a razor blade set at an angle.
  • Wrinkled Paint is caused by too heavy of an application in very hot or very cold conditions or not enough drying time between coats. To correct, wait for the paint to completely dry, sand the wrinkled area, dust with a damp cloth, let dry, prime and repaint.
  • Colour bleed happens when you skip the use of a primer when changing from a dark to a light paint colour. To correct, add a coat of primer and another coat of your top colour. For future projects, use a product that is a paint and primer in one.
  • Lint in paint is usually caused by using a new roller that was not properly prepared. Wash a new roller in warm soapy water, spin it to reduce wetness, stand it on end and let dry. Then, run a wide roll of  packing tape over it to ensure that it is lint free. If you have lint in your paint, sand lightly, run a damp cloth over it and repaint.
  • A too bright colour of paint can be covered with a glaze to lessen the intensity. Ask your paint provider to create a custom glaze for you.
  • Painting uneven walls is best done with a self-leveling paint that helps eliminate brush strokes and creates a smooth hard finish.
  • Patching that shows through the paint is usually caused by skipping the primer. Apply a coat of primer to the repaired area using a small roller. Let dry. Then, reapply your top coat.
  • Paint on the ceiling, if still wet, can be removed with window cleaner sprayed on a clean brush and wiped over the area. If dry, touch up the spots with your ceiling colour and a small brush. Feather the edges so they blend in with the rest of the ceiling.
  • Painters tape that peeled away paint when removed was likely left on too long. Lightly sand the area, clean with a damp cloth, prime and repaint. In the future, remove your tape about an hour after finishing the paint job.
  • Paint on wallpaper: Apply a liberal amount of rubbing alcohol to a cotton ball. Dampen the affected area and allow to sit for a few minutes. Then, apply a damp sponge. Repeat if necessary.
  • Paint on concrete can be removed by applying a paint stripper, allowing it to sit, scrubbing the area and then power washing the surface.
  • Paint on metal items, such as door knobs and other hardware, can be removed by soaking them in paint thinner/paint remover until the paint softens, then using a stiff bristle brush to scrub off loosened particles. Careful not to brush too hard or you’ll scratch the surface of the metal.
  • Uneven coverage usually occurs when you don’t have enough coats of paint. Let your paint dry completely and then apply another layer of paint.
  • Roller or lap marks occur when you don’t maintain a wet edge while painting. To create a smooth finish, sand down uneven areas, wipe down the surface to remove dust, prime and repaint.
  • Brush marks appear when the paint dries too quickly for proper “flow-out” and/or you have used an inferior brush. Sand down the area, wipe clean and repaint. For future projects, consider using a high-quality, slow-drying paint and a quality paintbrush.
  • Paint on clothing can be cleaned by pouring isopropyl alcohol over the area, rubbing the fabric against itself, then scraping off remaining flecks.
  • Paint on wooden trim can be removed with a paint stripper, a heat gun or sanding.
  • Paint on leather can be gently rubbed with a damp cloth to soften the stain, then scraped away. If this doesn’t work, try baby oil and dab at the spot till it’s gone. Then clean the area with leather cleaner or a soapy cloth to remove the oil.


To prevent future paint mishaps, use drop cloths and apply painters tape between the walls and the trim. Remove outlet covers and tape over outlets. Cover door knobs with plastic bags and tape. If mishaps do occur, don’t despair! There is almost always a way to correct the problem.


Need advice regarding paint mishaps and/or paint selection? Call Calgary’s independent paint and blinds store West Hillhurst Paint + Design at (403) 270-9696 or email at kyle@westhillhurstpaint.com Our knowledgeable professional design associates provide high quality paint, a wide selection of blinds and expert advice for home projects. We offer excellent service and a variety of products to match any budget. Call for a consultation today!

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