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Does Paintball Paint Wash Out?

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So, you’ve just worn your favourite track pants to your first paintball game, you’re covered in paintball paint, and you are wondering if there is any hope for your pants. Let’s find out, does paintball paint wash out?

The paint from paintball easily washes off of clothes, skin, and hair. A paintball is filled with a water-soluble, non-toxic dye. This dye is typically polyethylene glycol, which is an inert liquid that is used in industries like medical, chemical, biological, commercial, and industrial. It’s used in paintball because of its thickness and flexibility yet bio-degradable and non-toxic to humans and animals.

We even have a few tips and tricks to getting the toughest paintball stains out of any clothing that had an unfortunate accident. 

The Paint

The casing and the paint in a paintball are both designed to be water-soluble, meaning they are made specifically to dissolve in water. 

They are also non-toxic, hypoallergenic, eco-friendly, and biodegradable so that any paint that touches you, the ground, trees, or even animals won’t cause any harmful reactions - besides the bruises from being shot at, of course!


This isn’t true for all paintballs though. If you’re wondering why you can find cheap paintballs, ( Amazon Link ) it’s probably because they are made cheaply and don’t contain water-soluble dye and they will stain anything they splatter on. 

This is one of the reasons why some paintball fields will only let you use field paint (paintballs that you have to buy from the field) instead of bringing your own. They do this to make sure nobody is playing with paintballs that will stain clothing. 

How to Wash Paintball Paint Out of Clothes

To prevent any clothes from staining, follow these steps. 

does paintball paint wash out
  • As soon as you’re done playing, change your clothes and put your game clothes in a plastic bag and seal it. Sealing the bag is almost as important as putting your clothes in the bag, to begin with, as this will prevent your clothes from falling out onto the seats or floor mats of your car. 
  • Don’t wait to do your laundry or you are giving the paint time to set and stain your clothes. 
  • When you’re home, take your dirty clothes and soak them in cold water. This allows the paint to dissolve before being washed away so it doesn’t end up in your washing machine.
  • Spray a laundry pre-treatment on the areas where there was paint and let the formula sit for 5 minutes. 
  • Toss your laundry into the washing machine on a normal cycle with cold water. 
  • Hang all of your paintball clothes to dry. Don’t apply heat or any stains that remain set permanently. 

If you have been playing with someone who has been using paintballs with dye, soak your clothes in warm water with dish soap and ammonia. The ammonia and dish soap will break down the dye, and the rest of the paint will dissolve off of the clothes. 

hit by paintballs

If someone hasn’t been paying attention, and they brought wax-based paints to the field, you’re going to need to put a little bit more work into treating your clothes before you can wash them: 

  • Gently scrape any paint off your clothes. You want to remove the paint without smearing any into the fibres of your clothes, or damaging those fibres. 
  • Cover an ironing board in paper towel or a paper bag. Place the clothes on top of the paper towel or paper bag, and then put another layer of paper towel or paper bag on top of your clothes. 
  • Use an iron on a low setting on the top layer of paper to slowly heat the wax paint. As the wax heats up, it will absorb into the paper towel or paper bag. 
  • After the wax has been removed, apply a laundry pre-treatment, rub it into the spots where the paint was, and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. 
  • Wash in a normal cycle with the hottest water and hang to dry. 

See, there’s nothing to worry about, the paint will wash out. Now you can go play paintball without the worry of stained clothes. Need more information before starting? Check out the complete beginner’s guide to paintball!

Skin & Hair

Luckily your skin isn’t absorbing like clothes are, so you won’t get any paintball stains on your skin or your hair. 

To remove paint from yourself, simply wipe off any excess paint, and jump in the shower. Wash your hair and skin as you normally would. 

If you want to clean up at the field before coming home, bring baby wipes with you to wipe the paint off your hair and skin. 

Is There Anything It Will Stain?

While paintballs are made to dissolve in water, there are some clothes that they will stain. 

If you wear light-colored clothing to a paintball game, they are extremely likely to end up stained. Instead of light grey sweat pants, opt for darker colors or camouflage. 

Cotton fabrics are also susceptible to stains. Clothes made from polyester and clothing made for paintball games like paintball jerseys and pants are stain-resistant and are better for wearing on the field. 

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If you really enjoy paintballing and start doing it regularly as a hobby. You might decide to invest in your own protective gear. Washable gloves and a protective vest would be my first purchase along with camouflage clothing.

Final Thoughts

The paint in paintballs has been designed to wash off of clothes, skin, and hair easily so that you don’t need to worry about buying new clothes or showing up to work with multi-colored skin. 

While they are designed to wash out easily, some brands use cheap paint and those paintballs can stain. Follow the tips and tricks on how to get the paint off your battle armor.