Letting the little ones in your life play with slime seems like a fun idea and a great way to entertain them on a long rainy day. The super sticky sensory play substance is known to keep kids busy for hours. But once it ends up stuck to their clothes, you have an entirely new task at hand — one that promises to keep you busy for some time. To save you time and money, we talked to top cleaning pros and fabric experts to get their expert tips on the easiest ways to get slime out of clothes.
What is slime made of?
Slime has been around since 1976 when Mattel first introduced the item as a toy. The green goo was originally sold in a tiny garbage can and for almost 40 years, parents and grandparents everywhere have been trying to get the sticky gunk out of any fabric that it comes in contact with.
There are plenty of slime recipes, most are made from a mixture of white school glue, shaving cream and borax plus a few drops of liquid food coloring to make it any color in the rainbow. We’ve even seen some recipes for slime with glitter, slime with a small handful of confetti, oversize glitter or mini foam beads. There are limitless options for slime recipes and all of them have one thing in common: they will stick to fabric.
Why it’s so hard to get slime out of clothes
“Honestly, slime is one of the hardest things to remove from clothes. They have bright colors, a sticky texture and attract all kinds of germs,” says Alex Varela, General Manager of Dallas Maids, a house cleaning service in Dallas, Texas. Getting slime out of clothing isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.
“The effectiveness of removing slime will depend on a few factors, such as the type of fabric, the nature of the slime and the washing method used,” says Brindha Dhanabalan, CEO of All Cotton and Linen based in California.
Before you start any of the methods below, take a look at the handling instructions on the garment. The solutions we recommend are general guidelines that may not have the desired results on delicate fabrics.
How to get wet slime out of clothes
Varela recommends getting the wet slime out of clothes as soon as you discover it. “Wet slime is easier to remove than dried slime, so if it’s still wet, even better.”
While tossing the clothes in the washing machine may seem like an intuitive option for removing slime, Varela says it will probably result in an even larger problem. Instead, Varela recommends hand-washing the garment individually.
Because the first ingredient in most slime is a washable glue (such as Elmer’s), removing it may be as simple as using warm water to get slime out of clothes.
This video shows how to to do it with just warm water:
If the slime is colored, that’s probably going to be your biggest hurdle because it can oftentimes leave a color residue stain.
No worries: Just follow these steps to get the slime and the color residue out of your clothes.
Step 1: Wipe up as much of the wet slime as you can. Use a clean cloth or your fingers. Remember, it’s going to be messy and you want to keep the mess as contained as possible. Try to pull up rather than wiping side to side.
Step 2: There are a couple of kitchen staples that will get wet slime out of clothes, so depending on what you have on hand, you can try either method.
And regardless of the method, try to keep the slime wet with warm water to help the stain come out more easily.
Have Dawn dish soap? “Dawn dish soap is well known for its grease-fighting properties and can effectively remove certain stains from clothes.
Apply a small amount of Dawn directly to the slime stain and rub it in with a clean soft brush or gently massage with your fingers. Let the dish soap solution sit for a few minutes before rinsing with warm water. Repeat if necessary until slime is gone.
This video shows how simple it is to remove wet slime from clothes with just warm water and dish soap:
Have white vinegar? The common pantry staple is known for its magical cleaning power. Prerna Jain, operations manager at the MInistry of Cleaning swears by vinegar as a secret weapon against slime stains.
Simply mix equal parts white vinegar and water, and sponge the solution onto the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes. Vinegar’s acidic properties help break down the slime and loosen its grip on the fabric. Rinse and launder as usual.
How to get dried slime out of clothes
If you find dried out slime on clothes, don’t panic. Laundry expert Johanes Bangao Godoy of Liox Clean in New York says it’s pretty simple to return your garment back to its original state. “
But whatever you do, do not use super hot water to remove the stain. “Avoid using hot water or drying the garment with heat until the slime stain is completely removed. Heat can set the stain and make it more difficult to remove.” says Jain.
Follow these easy steps to remove dried slime from clothes:
Step 1: Use a blunt knife, spoon or even your fingernail to gently remove as much of the dried slime as possible. Be gentle on your clothing so you don’t damage the fabric in the process.
Step 2: Depending on how much slime is still left, you have a couple of options:
Just a small surface area with slime? Put ice cubes directly over the slime for 5-10 minutes, the ice cubes will freeze the slime making it easier to pick off the garment.
Or, put the garment in the freezer for 10 minutes. When it comes out, you can pick the slime off. Be aware that you may need to refreeze the garment during this process as the slime will become room temperature quickly.
Slime spread out over a large portion of the clothing’s surface? If the dried slime is spread out over a large portion of the clothing’s surface, it might be easier to pre-treat the stain (rather than trying to pick at it). You have a few options, depending on what you have in hand:
- Have dish soap? Cover the stain with a squirt of Dawn. Use a little warm water and use an old toothbrush or your fingers to get as much of the slime off as possible.
- Have vinegar? Soak the garment in a 1:2 mixture of warm water and white vinegar for 5 minutes. After soaking, gently scrub the area with an old toothbrush or your fingers.
- Have rubbing alcohol? Rubbing alcohol tends to dissolve slime. We’ve found that it’s easiest to use the ice cube method, then generously squirt rubbing alcohol on the garment, soaking up the slime and rubbing alcohol with a clean lint-free cloth. Then, pick off any remaining particles with your fingers.
- Have stain remover? Apply stain remover liberally and gently massage the solution into the slime, removing as much of the slime as you can.
Rinse with cool water and launder as usual. Avoid using hot water or placing in the dryer until the stain (and any color residue) has been sufficiently removed.
Rachel Weber is an award-winning journalist with a passion for all things lifestyle, home, and garden. She started with Better Homes & Gardens as an editorial apprentice in 2006 and has been writing and editing ever since. She teaches journalism classes at Iowa State University, works at a boutique public relations firm and loves to write about all the things she learned when she was homeschooled. She’s worked on brands like Allrecipes, Lowe’s Creative Ideas, Shape, and Better Homes & Gardens doing everything from recipe testing to designing kitchens.
Rachel holds a B.A. in journalism and psychology from Iowa State University and an M.A. in communication leadership from Drake University. She loves to crack a good dad joke and listen to Taylor Swift. She’s also pretty proud of her alphabetized spice rack and color-coded closet. A breast cancer survivor, Rachel is passionate about early detection and healthcare advocacy.
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