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How To Clean Velcro So That It Retains Its Grip: 5 Genius Tricks From Pros

Plus the storage trick that keeps it sticky

The last thing you want to discover as you’re about to head out the door in the morning is that your coat’s Velcro closures are caked with lint and hair and no longer have any sticking power. Or the Velcro handle wrap on your gym bag or travel duffle no longer latches together. Thankfully, there’s no need to toss the items! Here, home experts share the easy methods for how to clean Velcro using a few household staples.

What is Velcro?

Blue Velcro strips being peeled apart by hands on a white background

Velcro Brand products are used to adhere, affix, fasten and secure almost anything and can be identified by their iconic and reassuring fastening sound, according to Each hook and loop Velcro fastener is comprised of two pieces of nylon — one piece has a side with a soft, fur-like texture, and the other piece has a side with a prickly texture — that form a strong bond when pressed together.

Why does Velcro get dirty?

“Because Velcro is a sticking tool, debris tends to stick to it easily,” explains Aaron Christensen, resident cleaning expert at Homeaglow. “Hair, lint, dirt — they all clog the Velcro’s sticking mechanism and block the strips from accessing and sticking to one another.” Additionally, the prickly hooks bend and break and the fuzzy loops stretch out and become less sticky the more you use them, notes Milly McEwan, product and design manager at RJ Living.

Also, exposure to outdoor elements like heat and debris like mud, water and sand can make Velcro lose its sticking power, McEwan says. “Moisture, in particular, can really damage the loops and make them become even more matted and worn.”

Fortunately, all it takes are a few below strategies — from combing it clean to pressing it with tape — to get your Velcro back to its former glory.

How to clean Velcro idea #1: Use a comb to lift out debris

Green plastic fine-tooth comb on plain white background
Apiwan Borrikonratchata/iStock/Getty

“A fine-toothed comb or a soft-bristled brush gently removes and lifts away the lint, hair or other debris from the prickly ‘hook’ side of the fastener,” says McEwan. With a little wiggle of the tools, you can loosen out coiled up hair and dust and dirt trapped deeper into the Velcro because the little teeth on the comb can access far into the Velcro’s surface, notes Christensen.

Tip: Be careful to avoid moving the brush or comb back and forth over the fastener, as it can damage the hooks. Instead, go gently and stick to moving the brush or comb one direction.

How to clean Velcro idea #2: Use another piece of Velcro

Surprisingly, you can clean Velcro with Velcro, says Elizabeth Shields, operations manager of Super Cleaning Service Louisville. Simply grab a clean piece of Velcro that’s the same type as the one you want to clean (i.e. if you want to clean the “hook” side, grab a clean “hook” side of another piece of Velcro), then slide it over the dirty piece in a single direction several times. “It will cause the lint, hair or other stringy debris to ball up and detach easily.”

How to clean Velcro idea #3: Try tweezers

“For hard-to-remove particles, tweezers can be a handy little tool,” says McEwan. Use them to get in-between the hooks and loops to grab any hard-to-reach or tangled up pieces of hair, string, lint or crumbs. “Just make sure you don’t pull too hard on the hooks and try to pluck out the debris as carefully as you can.”

No tweezers on hand? No problem! Insert a straight pin, safety pin or sewing needle at an angle into the stuck hair, string or lint and gently lift upward to extract them in a similar fashion, says Shields.

How to clean Velcro idea #4: Pick packing tape

Clear packing tape being unraveled from roll by man's hands on white background

Sticky tape is an ideal cleaning tool when it comes to de-gunking Velcro, says Christensen. “I like to use a piece of packing tape or duct tape, then press the sticky side into the dirty Velcro,” he says. The tacky tape will stick to the little pieces of lint and dust and pull it out when you lift the tape away. “Repeat this step as many times as needed until the Velcro is clean.”

Related: One Way To Remove Duct Tape Residue? Use More Duct Tape! House Pro’s Genius Trick

How to clean Velcro idea #5: Handwash if needed

If you tried any of the above steps and still notice that your Velcro is dirty, discolored or riddled with stains that just won’t budge, washing the fasteners is most likely in order. “Handwashing Velcro in mild detergent and water can lubricate bits of gunk that you can’t access or see,” says Christensen.

However, not all Velcro is washable. If you don’t have access to care instructions for the Velcro you’d like to wash, you can rest assured that your Velcro is washable if it is attached to a garment or fabric that is also washable.

“To ensure your Velcro doesn’t get damaged, opt to handwash the items whenever possible and avoid using any harsh detergents so they don’t weaken the fasteners,” says McEwan. To handwash Velcro, Christensen suggests stirring a few squirts of dishwashing detergent into a bowl of warm water, dipping a clean toothbrush into the soapy water, then using it to gently scrub the Velcro clean. Once clean, let Velcro air dry.

How to keep Velcro clean and sticky in the future

All it takes are a few easy steps to ensure your Velcro doesn’t become a magnet for grime again and loses its stick. First, always close the Velcro together between wears or when storing a Velcro-adorned item, advises Christensen. “This way, the Velcro doesn’t catch on any nearby materials and minimizes how much dust, lint and hair it collects over time.”

Also smart: “When you are using the Velcro, try not to yank on the strips when you separate them,” says McEwan. “Instead, pull them apart with as little force as possible to prevent over-stretching and help the fasteners last longer.”

Lastly, avoid exposing your Velcro to heat. “Heat can melt and damage Velcro, so try to keep it out of direct sunlight and don’t store it next to a dryer, heating vent or anything too hot,” says Christensen.

For more cleaning hacks, click through these stories:

How to Clean Boots So They Look as Good as New — And the Viral Hack One Pro Says Will Ruin Uggs

The Freezer Trick That Removes Bad Smells From Clothes (and Other Dry-Clean Only Fabrics) — No Washing Needed

Jewelry Dips Can Damage Rings, Cautions Pro — The Better Way to Clean Them

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