4 Easy Steps to Remove Playdough from Clothes

Playing with playdough is fun. Unfortunately, some mishaps can happen, and one way or another, you end up with playdough sticking on your clothes.

Don’t worry! With these easy steps and different methods, you will know how to get playdough out of clothes in no time.

What is a Playdough?

Playdough (also spelled as play-doh) is a type of modeling clay designed to be moldable. They are also called silly putty.

Although playdough is made to not stick in the hands while you are playing it, it’s not designed to not stick to clothes. You end up with playdough stuck on your fabric garment one way or another.

2 Things to Know Before Removing Playdough from your Clothes

2 Things to Know Before Removing Playdough from your Clothes

Don’t Wash Your Clothes Without Removing the Playdough

Don’t wash your clothes before removing the playdough. The pigment from the clay will get stuck into the garment or, worse, spread into your other clothing.

It’s best to remove the playdough and treat the stain before putting the clothing in the laundry washer. It will make the process of removing and treating a lot faster and easier.

Know What Type of Fabric You Have

Keep in mind what type of fabric you have when treating your clothes. Some products are not suitable for your clothing.

Bleach discoloration and damages can occur if you are not careful.

Now that you know all these tips, we should go to the step-by-step removal process of playdough.


Step 1: Remove Excess Playdough

Remove Excess Playdough

Removing as much excess playdough will make the removal process much more manageable. The treatments you will use will seep further into the clothing without the blockage from the stain.

It’s best to remove and treat your clothes as early as possible.


Removing the playdough without a scraping tool can be a pain. Fortunately, we have the perfect alternative.

Spoons are a great scraping tool. It has a dull edge that will not damage your clothes and is relatively accessible in your household.


If the playdough is stuck in your garment, you can use ice to harden it out. Since the clay is pretty sticky, ice will prevent the playdough from sticking further into your clothes.

The cold temperature will harden the clay and make the removal process more manageable.

X-Acto Knife

You can also use the dull side of an x-acto knife to remove the excess playdough from your clothes. The tool is best to use in tough fabrics such as denim. Using an x-acto knife in cotton shirts can cause damages if you are not careful.


Step 2: Pretreat the Garment

Pretreating the garment is essential for a fast and easy cleaning process. You make the playdough soft and much easier to remove by pretreating your clothes.

There are a lot of products you can use to pretreat your clothes, such as:

Distilled Vinegar

Process with white vinegar

Vinegar is an incredible, non-abrasive cleaning agent that you can use to pretreat your garments. Not only is it great for removing stains, but it also disinfects your clothing.

You can combine one part of distilled vinegar with two parts of water. Then, you can soak your clothes for 30 minutes to an hour. If the playdough stuck to the clothes is particularly large, you can leave the garment to soak overnight.

You don’t have to worry about discoloration or damage to your clothing. Distilled vinegar is gentle and non-abrasive to your clothes.

Pre-Treatment Laundry

Process with Pre-Treatment laundry


Commercial pre-treatment like this one from OxiClean is designed to remove the stains from your clothes gently. Most pre-treatment doesn’t have any chlorine or bleach, so you are sure that there is no damage done to your clothes.

Liquid Detergent

Process with liquid detergent

Liquid detergent is another cleaning agent great for pretreating your clothes, especially with tricky fabrics like denim. To use liquid detergent to pretreat your clothes, combine it with two parts of water. Let your garment soak for 30 minutes to an hour.

When using liquid detergent, make sure that it doesn’t have any bleach. Prolonged exposure to bleach can cause discoloration.

Dishwashing Liquid

Process with dishwashing liquid

Dishwashing liquid is another non-abrasive cleaning agent. Since dishwashing liquid is designed to remove tough, sticky food off your plate, it can also lessen the stickiness of the playdough.

You can use the dishwashing liquid the same way you can use a liquid detergent.

Rubbing Alcohol

Process with rubbing alcohol

If the stickiness of the playdough is your problem, putting a good amount of rubbing alcohol will significantly help.


Process with WD-40

A WD-40 is a lubricant spray. It’s great for removing oily and sticky substances from the fabric like tar. If the playdough is really sticky, you can try the WD-40 if it’s available to you.

To use it, you should put a good amount of WD-40 spray on the damaged clothing and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. With a toothbrush, gently scrub off the playdough from the fabric.


Step 3: Treat and Remove the Playdough

After pre-treating your clothes, it’s time to start removing the stains. Don’t worry. We have many varieties of options for you.

Liquid Detergent

Use liquid detergent to remove stains


Liquid detergent is the most common treatment for stained clothes. Since the product is made to clean fabric, you can ensure that you can wash your clothes effectively.

To do this method, follow these steps:

Apply a generous amount of liquid detergent directly into the putty stain.

Gently scrub the fabric with a toothbrush until the liquid detergent starts foaming.

Rinse the garment. If there is still playdough stuck into the clothes, repeat the process.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Use vinegar and baking soda to remove stains

Vinegar and baking soda have been a known combination for cleaning various things. Fortunately, we can also use these cleaning agents as a way to remove the playdough from your clothes.

To do this treatment method, you need to:

Pour a good amount of baking soda on top of the playdough stain. You can combine it with the vinegar on a container or directly in the garment.

Leave the mixture soak through the fabric for 10-30 minutes.

With a toothbrush, gently brush the playdough off. You will notice that the remaining play dough will start to crumble off the clothing piece.

Repeat the process until the playdough is wholly removed from the clothes.


Use toothpaste to remove stains

Toothpaste is another alternative if you don’t have any liquid detergent. The product is designed to be clean and very gentle to the clothing.

You can use toothpaste in the same method as the liquid detergent.

Dishwashing Liquid

Use dishwashing liquid to remove stains


Dishwashing liquid is another substitute for liquid detergent. You can follow the directions on the liquid detergent.

They are very identical in steps when used to remove the playdough.


Step 4: Wash the Garment

The last step in our removal process is to wash it as you usually do. You can either run it through the washer or manually handwash your clothes.

When it comes to the removal process, many factors should be considered. You can combine the cleaning agents and pre-treatment products to get the best results.


5 Steps to Remove Dried Playdough Stains

Unfortunately, sometimes we cannot catch the sight of playdough in time. One way or another, your clothing ends up in the washer without removing the stains first.

Don’t worry. With these couple of steps, you can still fix your clothes. Remember that the removal process is more complicated since the playdough has to seep and dry out on your clothes.

Step 1: Soak in Distilled Vinegar

Combine two parts of warm water and one part of distilled vinegar. Let the garment soak overnight.

The warm temperature will soften the dried-out and stuck clay, while the distilled vinegar will help lift off the pigment.

Step 2: Apply Baking Soda

Once the clothing has been soaked overnight, you can apply baking soda to remove the existing stains. You don’t have to mix it with vinegar since the garment has been washed to the distilled variation all night.

With a toothbrush, gently scrub the stain off from the clothing. Then, remove the baking soda and rinse the clothing.

Step 3: Combine Rubbing Alcohol and Dishwashing Liquid

Rubbing alcohol and dishwashing liquid are incredible cleaning agents for removing stained pigments. Combine two parts rubbing alcohol to one part dishwashing liquid.

As with the baking soda, gently scrub the rubbing alcohol and dishwashing liquid. Repeat this process until the colored stain is gone.

Step 4: Treat the Stain

If the stain is particularly tough, you can use a stain treatment to permanently remove the pigment of the playdough off your clothing piece.

If your clothes are white, you can even use a small amount of laundry bleach to remove the stain. Don’t use bleach if you have colored shirts to avoid discoloration.

Step 5: Wash the Clothes

Lastly, wash your clothes as you usually would. You can either handwash or run it through the washer.

In Conclusion

Playing with playdough is a fun and creative activity. Your mind will run wild with whatever model you will make with the moldable clay.

With the easy steps we presented in this article, we hope your clothes are now safe from playdough stains.


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