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How to Get Playdough Out of Carpet


The name of the product is actually Play-Doh®, and this pliable, putty-like substance has been around since the 1930s. It was not originally meant as a play thing for kids, but as a wallpaper cleaner. It's made of flour, water, salt, boric acid, and mineral oil, and generally doesn't stain things. However, depending on the color the kids were playing with and the type of carpet they dropped it onto, it can stain. So here are the basics on how to get playdough out of carpet.

If it has dried up before you got to it, carefully break it up and remove the large chunks. Then vacuum up the remaining pieces. After that, if there is still residue, continue with the cleaning procedure detailed below.

If the playdough was just dropped you might be able to lift it off the carpet without any damage or staining. If it is rubbed into the fibers somewhat (stepped on, kneeled on, etc.), carefully scoop out as much as you can using the edge of a spoon or a butter knife. At this point you are ready to clean up what remains.

Procedure for Removing Play-Doh Residue From Carpet

Start with a clean white cotton cloth or undyed white paper towels. Apply a bit of rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol to this. You can use 70% or 90% alcohol, but avoid any that have color added to them. Dab at the spot to remove the residue, applying new alcohol to a clean piece of cloth as necessary. Continue doing this until you no longer see transfer of the color or residue to the cloth.

Note: Be very careful when using isopropyl alcohol. Don't ever pour it onto a stained carpet. If it reaches the backing it cause delamination (it may destroy the latex bond). Always apply it to a cloth, cotton ball or paper towel and use that to clean a spot.

To get out the remaining playdough residue and alcohol, use a mild detergent solution. For this, mix a few drops of a simple dish washing liquid (Dawn® or Joy® will work) into a few ounces of warm water. Apply a bit of this to the spot using your fingers, and immediately blot it up with a clean white cloth or white paper towels. Repeat this process a few times.

Then do the same with plain water. Sprinkle it on the spot with your fingers, blot it up and repeat. A stack of paper towels with weight on them can be placed over the spot for final drying. Remove and replace the paper towels when wetted through, and remove all of them after an hour or so to allow final air-drying. Placing a fan where it will blow on or over the area will speed the drying process.

If that doesn't get the playdough out of the carpet completely, you can try using 3% hydrogen peroxide. Apply it carefully, just to the affected fibers. Let it stay there for thirty minutes to an hour. Blot up any excess and use paper towels and/or a fan to dry the spot, as explained above. You do not need to rinse out the hydrogen peroxide, because it becomes water on its own after some time.

If, because of some combination of carpet type, color of Play-Doh®, time spent smashed into the fibers and so on, you still can't get all the playdough out of the carpet, you can do one of two things. You can call a professional cleaner for help. If the stain is small, you can also carefully clip out the affected fibers.

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