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How to Get Playdough Out of Clothes (Ultimate Guide)

How to Get Playdough Out of Clothes

Playdough is a great way to let your kids explore their creative sides. It allows them to expand the limits of their imagination by shaping the playdough into animals, shapes, and whatnot.

One thing about playtime with playdough is that although it can prove to be a fun craft activity, it can also create a huge mess. And with a big mess comes nasty stains. If not handled carefully, playdough can get stuck on clothes or even carpets as well.

So due to its sticky nature, you can end up ruining some of your best clothes!

In this article, we will discuss the 5 ways to remove playdough stains including some alternate methods with a step-by-step process.

Why is the Playdough Stain So Tough to Remove?

Before we dive into the solution to tough playdough stains, let’s first observe the science behind tough playdough stains for a clearer understanding.

So why exactly does playdough stain your clothes?

Most playdough manufacturers use simple flour, salt, water, and colouring recipes for their products. It contains little to no chemicals to keep it child friendly and less toxic.

With that said, the chemicals used to add colours to the clay might be the reason behind these stains. If moisture meets playdough and comes in contact with a fabric, it will adhere to it and become extremely difficult to wash off.

Moreover, if the piece of clay dries up while still on the fabric and then washed on accident then this is another challenge to get rid of on its own.

Can We Get Rid of the Stains?

The substance used to colour the playdough is usually the same as food colouring. So, the stains are not really permanent and can be removed through a machine wash, detergents, or any other homemade remedies.

However, you need to make sure the play dough is dried before you treat the stain as it makes it easier to remove the clay from the fabric.

5 Ways to Get Rid of Playdough Stains

The playdough stains can be easily removed with stain removers, detergents or so but only if you follow the proper wash procedure. If the clay is still wet you can use another piece of clay and dab it off the surface your clay is stuck on.

For dried-up clay, you can use a bristle brush or scraper to remove the hardened clay. Once you are successful in removing the clay bits off the surface of the clothes or carpets, you can wash the stain.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to get rid of any leftover playdough stains from clothes through 5 different techniques.

1. Washing Machine to Get Rid of Playdough Stains

The best way to remove playdough stains is a machine where you can simply dump the fabric and wash the stain out in one go. For additional precautions and better results, you can add a stain remover with the laundry detergent.

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Bristle brush method:

Allow the playdough to dry thoroughly to avoid it from seeping in deeply into the cloth. Then, use a bristle brush or a coin to efficiently scrape off the dried-up parts. This takes up less than a quarter of your time in the entire process.

Bristle brush method


Now take the cloth and apply detergent or the stain-removing product to it and leave it to absorb completely. The chemicals will react with the fibre of the fabric and loosen whatever particles are still intact on it.


After 10 minutes or so, immerse your garment in a tub of water and let it sit for another couple of minutes. Letting your cloth soak for a maximum of 15 minutes should do the trick.

This process will make the stain particles completely loosen from the cloth making it easier for you to wash off the stain.

If the stain is light then you can skip this step!

Toss in the machine:

Now simply put the clothes in the machine, add some more detergent ( as per the requirement) and set it to your normal routine rinse cycle, your washing machine will do the rest of the magic!

Toss in the machine

Make sure to wash your cloth with cold water only because warm or hot water might make the stain leak further into the fabric.



  • Tie the stained area with a string or put a safety pin near it is easier for you to detect whether it has washed off or not.
  • Hold your garment towards a light source i.e., sun, light bulb, etc. to check if there is leftover colouring from the stain.
  • If there is still some colouring left on the garment then repeat the entire process again till it completely disappears.
  • Do not dry your clothing in a dryer because this will set a remaining stain into the fabric. Making it difficult to remove them entirely.

2. Cornstarch to Get Rid of Playdough Stains

If you are short on time and need to immediately remove the stains then cornstarch is your best buddy!

Cornstarch to Get Rid of Playdough Stains

Cornstarch is a form of a dehydrating agent, which quickly dries up the moist clay and the stain particles from the fabric allowing you to clean it without hassle. You also don’t want to put on a lot of the product on your fabric as it may damage it.

In some parts of the world, cornstarch is also known as corn flour. However, do not confuse it with flour made from corn. Also, it is readily available in every grocery store so you can grab it on the go and make the cleaning process quicker.

  • Cover the stain:

Spread your piece of clothing and place a generous amount of cornstarch powder over the stain. You can even do this when the clay is still wet, make sure to heap the powder and cover the stain completely.

  • Let it set:

Allow it to sit for at least 1 to 2 hours or so. Any earlier than this, the cornstarch will not be able to come into effect.

  • Remove the powder:
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Now brush off all the cornstarch from the fabric. Your playdough will come off along with the powder in dried form. If there is still some clay stuck to the garment then use the bristle brush method to remove it.

Once the powder and clay are removed you can proceed and wash the remaining stains in the washing machine.

Avoid using an automatic dryer for this process as it may make the stain permanent. Instead, dry it naturally in the air or under the sun.

3. Dishwashing Soap to Get Rid of Playdough Stains

Another popular solution is the dishwashing soap method. This is a neat replacement for commercial stain removers or detergents and you treat the specific stained area with it. It should take you around 30-40 minutes to complete the whole process.

Dishwashing Soap to Get Rid of Playdough Stains

Moreover, this technique works for both homemade play dough and the store-bought type!

  • Application:

Take a tub with cool water and add dishwashing soap to it, enough to form bubbles in the water. Then submerge your piece of clothing in the tub and let it soak in the dishwashing soap solution for around 30 minutes.

  • Rinse:

Now take the garment out of the soapy water and rinse it under cool running water. Avoid warm or hot water since it might react with the stain particles and make it difficult to get rid of.

If you still notice some remaining stains then take a dash of dishwashing soap again and carefully rub it on the cloth. Then rinse again.

  • Dry:

Again, dry the garment naturally and avoid the tumble dry method.

4. Rubbing Alcohol to Get Rid of Playdough Stains

Alcohol works as a degreaser, which breaks down hard-to-reach stain areas and easily removes them with little to no effort. It can remove the toughest stains like ink and dye stains.

Rubbing Alcohol

For this purpose, hydrogen peroxide works as the best stain-removing agent. However, avoid mixing alcohol with other bleaching agents or detergents otherwise these might release toxic fumes, which are a hazard to health.

  • Apply the alcohol:

Firstly, remove any excess dried-up clay with the bristle method. Then take a cotton ball or cotton pad and dab it in a small amount of alcohol. Now gently blot this cotton ball or cotton pad on the designated stain area.

You can rub it on the stain but avoid rubbing it rapidly and with a lot of pressure as it might spread the stain. If the cotton is starting to stain then it means the blotting is working and the stain is coming off your clothes.

  • Remove Alcohol:

Once you notice that you have successfully removed the stain, wash off the alcohol from the cloth with cool water.

  • Washing machine:

Next just dump the garment in the washer and let it take care of the rest!

5. Pine-Sol to Get Rid of Playdough Stains

Just like alcohol Pine -Sol also works as a degreasing agent too. It can easily remove stubborn stains and ranks as the second quickest method.


This solution can also be used for impossible areas, where the naked eye cannot detect the stains, and they go unnoticed. This can be the pocket or folds beneath the buttons and so on.

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Here is the method, through which you can easily get rid of the stains:

  • Scrape off the clay:

Remove any access play dough from the fabric using the bristle brush method or some blunt knife or the edge of a coin. Make sure the clay is all dried up before scraping it off from the clothing.

  • Mark the stained area:

Take any safety pin and insert it near the affected area of the clothing. Or use a string instead and tie it around the stain. Marking the stained area will help in detecting this area of the garment way easier once it is washed off.

  • Application of Pine-Sol:

Take a small amount of pine sol, around a 1-minute drop, and put it over the area of the defect. Allow the liquid to sit on it for about 15 minutes so it can soak through it. After that, toss your clothes into the washing machine.

Make sure the water is cool and don’t forget to add some detergent to it. Once the wash cycle is complete check for remaining stains.

Note: To get rid of the odour of Pine-Sol from your washing machine, give it another wash cycle with detergent alone. This will help get rid of the smell.


What kind of detergent should I use for playdough stains?

You can use any regular laundry detergent like Tide, OxiClean, Surf Excel, etc. Along with the detergent, you can use other agents like Pine-Sol and commercial stain removers.

Can we use fabric softeners?

Avoid using any other additional product for your fabric unless the stain has completely disappeared. Once, you can tell the stain removal procedure is complete and the fabric spotless, then you may use products like fabric softener or so.

This is so because if the stain isn’t properly removed and the wrong fabric softeners are used on it then this might make the stain extremely difficult to get rid of.

Final Word

To sum it up, playdough can prove to be a good learning experience for both your kids and you. You can take multiple precautions to avoid it from getting on your child’s clothes or the surface of your carpet and tables but the clay will end up on it one way or another.

Luckily, playdough is easy to remove from clothing and such if tackled in the right way. Most playdough stains will easily come off with a simple cold water machine wash. However, if the stains are tougher, you can use pine sol, alcohol, or dish soap!

We hope this step-by-step guide of 5 ways to get rid of playdough from clothes was able to sort out your sticky playdough problems. Got more useful tips to remove these stains? Let us know in the comments!

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