Spilling paint on carpet is what every DIY painter fears. The worst-case scenario is a whole can of paint spilling on your carpeting — this can happen to even the most careful and prepared painters. Keep plenty of clean towels and rags on hand just in case. And if you don't own a carpet cleaner that uses liquid solvents, rent one and keep it on standby. If you have expensive carpet, consider this an insurance policy. More than likely, the bulk of the paint will be on your plastic drop cloth. Take the drop cloth by the four corners and carry it outside. Put it into a trashcan or someplace outside where it won't harm anything. Be sure there's nothing on your shoes because you don't want to track paint through your home. If there's pooled paint, scoop up as much as possible with your hands and dump it into the roller pan. With latex paint, use water and lots of it. With oil-based paint, use lots of paint thinner (it's wise to stock up beforehand). Soak the spot repeatedly, massaging the water or thinner into the carpet and blotting it up with towels and rags to get out as much as you can. Finally, treat it with the carpet cleaner.
Smaller spots probably won't require the carpet cleaner equipment, but the other steps will be necessary. If you discover drips or extremely small spots only after they have dried, you might be able to pinch them out with your fingernails or cut them out with a razor without doing noticeable damage to the carpet's appearance. Some "miracle" carpet spot removers may also handle small spots of oil-based paint. To avoid huge spills on carpets, you may want to transfer paint from a big can to a smaller one before climbing a ladder. Store the main paint can in a safe place, removing paint only as needed.
For spills on clothing and cleaning your skin, latex paint requires lots of water and scrubbing. With oil-based paint, don't use paint solvent. It's not good for your skin or your clothing. Clean oil-based paint from skin or clothing with a mechanic's hand cleaner — a solvent that handles paint, grease and motor oil.
Because your windows will be open for ventilating your work space, your wet, painted walls will attract and trap insects if you don't have the screens up. If you happen to get paint on a screen, be sure to remove it immediately. Blot, don't smear, the excess paint, and then treat with water, thinner or mechanic's hand cleaner while the paint is still wet.
If you spill paint on hard wood, don’t panic. Use your hands (just as you would with carpeting) to clean up the puddle. Then soak and blot repeatedly with water. Use a wire brush for crevices in a stone floor or an old toothbrush for vinyl or wood.