The Easiest Way to get Silly Putty Out of Any Fabric

Silly Putty is such a fun little toy but there’s a decent chance it will get stuck in fabric at some point. It sounds like a nightmare but there’s a quick and easy trick to removing the sticky stuff from clothes with little effort.


The Best Way to Get Silly Putty Out of Clothes

Silly Putty, or Thinking Putty as it’s also called, is such a neat little toy for kids.  Since products like slime and kinetic sand are super popular right now, Silly Putty has been growing in popularity again too. It’s a great little Christmas stocking stuffer which is how my son got his last year.

It was just a couple of weeks ago that he got it stuck in fabric for the first time. Almost an entire year went by so that’s not too bad. He was getting ready for school and I noticed a pink blob on his bum. Yep, he sat in it. Luckily, it didn’t get on the couch.

I buy most of his clothes at the thrift store so I wasn’t super annoyed. I thought about tossing the pants instead of dealing with the stuck on putty. The pants had just been bought the day before so my son was a bit sad about ruining them so I told him I’d try to get the putty out.

Silly Putty is such a fun little toy but there a decent chance it will get stuck in fabric at some point. It sounds like a nightmare but there's a quick and easy trick to removing the sticky stuff from clothes with little effort. | We Three Shanes

Remedies For Getting Silly Putty Out of Fabric

I had a couple of remedies come to mind that are supposed to help get rid of sticky gunk. 

  • Sticking ice on the gunk which makes the putty hard and therefore easier to scrape off.

  • WD-40 – the oil from the WD-40 is supposed to help release that sticky bond the silly putty has. The problem is, WD-40 stains so then you need more products to get the oil stain out.

  • Rubbing alcohol will get the putty out by breaking it down but you can waste a lot of product. The liquid form makes it absorb quickly into fabric so you have to keep applying it to get the putty out.

  • I also had flashbacks of using peanut butter to get gum out of hair and thought that could work too but is so messy.

All of these remedies will get silly putty out of clothes but it’s quite the process. I wanted quick and easy so I turned to hand sanitizer.

Learn how to use hand sanitizer to remove stuck on silly putty. Removes it from any fabric the easy way. | We Three Shanes

Why use Hand Sanitizer for stuck on Silly Putty?

Hand Sanitizer is 62-65 percent ethanol, or ethyl alcohol. That’s not as much as rubbing alcohol which has about 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. Even though there’s less alcohol in the hand sanitizer, the ethyl alcohol is more dehydrating so it’s better at drying out the silly putty, making it easier to scrub away.

Rubbing alcohol is thinner than hand sanitizer so it messier to use for stuck on thinking putty. You’ll end up using way more rubbing alcohol than hand sanitizer. If you would still rather use it then soak a cotton ball or two in rubbing alcohol and set it on the silly putty so it stays in place.

The Easiest Way to Remove Stuck on Silly Putty

The winner for easiest silly putty removal is definitely hand sanitizer. But you have to do it the right way because it can stain fabric if left to sit for too long.

You only need to squirt a little amount on the stuck on silly putty. Because it’s thick it stays right on the stain. It quickly dehydrates the silly putty making it super simple to scrub away.

It doesn’t take long to work it’s magic so start scraping pretty quickly after applying. Make sure you wash the whole garment right after the putty comes off. If the putty was stuck on carpet or a couch that you can’t throw in the wash then you’ll need to do a light rinse with some water and a drop or two of soap. 

How to Remove Silly Putty From Fabric – the full steps

This should work on any fabric that silly putty can get stuck in/on. Carpets or rugs might take a bit more elbow grease but will still work.

  1. Start by scraping as much of the silly putty off of the clothes as possible. You can pick it off with your fingers but I found scraping with a butter knife worked best.
Silly Putty getting stuck in fabric sounds like a nightmare but there's a quick and easy trick to removing the sticky stuff from clothes with little effort. | We Three Shanes

2. Next, squirt the hand sanitizer on the stain, making sure to cover all of it. You can see how it sits on top of the putty instead of quickly soaking in to the surrounding fabric. This helps the alcohol stay focused on the putty which helps dry it out faster. 

Hand sanitizer sitting on top of silly putty that's been stuck on fabric.

3. Then with the knife or a washcloth (I used my finger nails) just rub/scrape back and forth on the stain until all the putty comes off. It really doesn’t take much scrubbing at all. 

4. If there was a large amount of silly putty stuck to the fabric then you might need to repeat steps 2 and 3 until it’s all gone.

A photo of black fabric that's had silly putty removed.

5. Wash the fabric right away by throwing it in the wash or doing a light hand wash to get the hand sanitizer out of the fabric. In the picture you can see the slightest ring where the sanitizer has been absorbed by the fabric. This went away once the pants were washed. 

That’s it. It took me less than 2 minutes to get the stuck silly putty out of my kiddos pants. Crisis averted quickly.

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  1. Well I got some color changing putty in my carpet and it been there for a while because I just noticed it and I’ve tried everything but it won’t come out

    1. This is definitely for fresh putty. Once it’s dried into the carpet it’s a whole different story because the whole texture has changed.

    1. I can’t say for sure about how to get a stain out if one was left behind. I’d try Shout Advanced because it is my absolute favorite for getting out grease and oils and my best guess is that’s what the stain is.

  2. Hand sanitiser really works, just got putty out of my £90 Sweaty Betty workout trousers! I thought they were doomed. So pleased thank you.

  3. Thank you, just remove fire engine red putty from our couch! Wonderful tips. Karen, Falkirk, Scotland.

    1. Hi Crystal. I’m glad the silly putty came off but it’s a total bummer you’re left with a stain. Removing the stain really depends on the cloth type and color. If it’s a white garment you can try mixing oxygen-based bleach with some liquid dawn and scrub the stain. Otherwise I’m not sure what to do. I’ve never been left with a stain after removing the putty. So sorry. I hope you find something that works.

  4. My granddaughter came to me with silly putty that she had sat in. It was a sticky mess. My son grabbed the ice cubes, I went straight to Pinterest. I knew someone out there could help. Bless your heart you did. I happened to have a bottle of handsanitizer handy. It took some elbow grease, but it worked like a charm. The pants are in the wash now. Thanks for the help.

    1. Everyone’s got sanitizer at their house these days which is extra helpful. I’m so glad this helped you out. Thanks for commenting so others can see it works!

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