Most people have sprayed their friends with Silly String as kids (or even adults), running around at parties or holidays. Since the substance comes out liquid, some of it can soak into clothing if sprayed too close.
So, does Silly String stain? Yes, Silly String can stain everything it touches. If it’s shot out of the can closer than 5 feet from the object or person, it is still too liquid and hasn’t had time to dry. The liquid seeps into whatever it lands on and can leave a stain.
Even though stains are somewhat inevitable when using Silly String, the good news is that it washes out fairly easily! You can remove it from your clothes and skin, as well as your furniture and carpet.
Why Does Silly String Stain?
Although the exact ingredients in Silly String and other products like it are unknown, we do know that it’s made up of elements such as oxygen, silicon, and magnesium.
These elements create a flexible plastic that shoots from the nozzle of an aerosol can. They come out liquid, but dry quickly in the air to form the string.
Silly String is also dyed fun colors. You can find it in all sorts of colors like pink, green, and blue. Because the substance is also colored, the liquid that comes out will stain whatever it lands on until it dries completely.
It’s best to shoot Silly String from at least 5 feet away to avoid this issue. From that distance, the Silly String has enough time to dry before it lands, helping you prevent any stains.
How To Remove Silly String From Clothes
Although Silly String is best sprayed from at least 5 feet away, most kids disregard that rule and spray each other within just a couple feet.
This will inevitably result in some stains on their clothing. However, all is not lost! You can easily remove Silly String using two methods: using dish soap or distilled white vinegar.
Before trying either of these methods, we recommend washing the clothing as usual. If you wash it quickly enough after the Silly String has been sprayed, a regular wash cycle will likely suffice to remove the stains.
If there are more stains than you think your washing machine could remove, try one of the two methods below.
You can use any dish soap, but we recommend something unscented and gentle like Dawn dish soap. Dawn works great at removing stains without adding further damage to the clothing.
You may also want to grab a toothbrush. Silly String can leave more than just stains – it can leave residue that needs to be brushed off before stain removal.
- Wet the Silly String stains and brush them with the toothbrush. This can help remove leftover residue or pieces of plastic that have dried and are resting on the fabric.
- Add more water to the fabric in the areas where the stains are and add a small amount of dish soap. Scrub with your hands, a new toothbrush, a sponge, or even just the shirt itself to work up a lather. Make sure you see bubbles. If you don’t see the soap forming suds, you may need more water and/or soap.
- Once the stains have all been scrubbed with dish soap, place the clothing in the washing machine and wash as usual. You can also dry it as usual.
After washing, the stains should be gone! If they’re still there, you can always try the second method below.
Distilled White Vinegar
If you’re going to use distilled white vinegar, first you need to make sure that it won’t damage the fabric.
White vinegar should not be used on delicate fabrics. If you’re worried that it might harm your fabric, try a small amount of vinegar in an unseen area to see the effects.
- Grab a sponge and your white vinegar. Get a small amount of distilled white vinegar on the sponge and press to the stained area. You may want to dab it several times to ensure a proper soak.
- Wash the clothing item immediately on a normal cycle. You want to wash it quickly rather than letting the vinegar soak for too long on the fibers. Dry as normal.
It’s as simple as that! Vinegar is a natural stain remover and cleaner. It works great for multiple purposes such as cleaning rust and mildew from a shower head and, like we did here, removing stains from clothing.
How To Remove Silly String From Other Surfaces
Although it’s simple enough to remove Silly String stains from clothing, it may not be as straight forward for other surfaces.
One surface you can be sure will never lose the stain is vinyl. If your children (or you and your friends) are playing with Silly String near a vinyl surface or while wearing something made of vinyl, like shoes, the stains will become permanent.
It’s best to leave the vinyl somewhere else to prevent long term damage. However, most other surfaces can get rid of Silly String stains fairly easily. Let’s explore some of the common areas you may want to clean below.
Remove Silly String From Skin & Hair
While Silly String can create stains on clothing and other surfaces, luckily, skin and hair get off pretty easy! If you clean the Silly String off of your skin after all the fun is over, you likely won’t see any stains at all.
There may be some slight pink stains, but overall you’ll have very little to worry about. Even the small pink stains will go away within a few days.
The same thing goes for your hair. If you simply wash your hair after playing, the stains will go away quickly.
This may not even be necessary unless you got a lot of Silly String on your head. If only a few strings made it into your hair, you can likely wait to wash it until your next routine shower or bath.
Remove Silly String From Carpet
While Silly String is best played with outdoors, sometimes the weather doesn’t allow it and the kids still want to play. If there’s been Silly String sprayed indoors on a carpeted area, you’ll want to act quickly.
Carpets have bigger fibers that soak in more of the Silly String liquid quickly. If you don’t want the stains to become permanent, you’ll need to grab some rubbing alcohol or vinegar right away.
- Pour rubbing alcohol onto a clean washcloth, then scrub it on the area where Silly String is starting to stain. Alcohol dissolves very quickly, so you’ll need to work fast and you might have to pour alcohol on the cloth multiple times to get the job done.
- Once you no longer see the stain, you can get another clean cloth. Wet it, then get a small amount of mild dish soap. Scrub the area again.
- Rinse the area with an additional cloth that only has water.
- After rinsing, you’ll want to get a dry washcloth or paper towel and dab the stain to soak up some of the leftover water. When the area only feels slightly moist instead of soaked, you can allow the rest to air dry.
You can follow the same steps above with vinegar instead of rubbing alcohol to achieve the same result.
Remove Silly String From Furniture
Unfortunately, if Silly String is shot in the house, it will likely fall onto some of your furniture items.
Furniture is a little more tricky to clean than clothing or carpet. Each furniture item is made with a different material, from wood to leather to vinyl, so you’ll have to consider the best course of action for each material.
If it’s a surface that can easily be wiped down like metal or glass, then you can quickly clean that without any worry of staining. However, if Silly String fell onto your favorite leather armchair, more consideration will need to be taken.
In general, it’s best to consult the furniture company or the manufacturer’s manual before attempting to clean. Some of the methods we listed above, like vinegar, may be harmful and cause further, irreparable staining to your furniture.
If you don’t have the manual or remember the furniture company, try calling a local furniture company or stain removal service. They may have a quick tip that can help you remove the stain from your specific furniture piece.
How To Avoid Silly String Stains
The best way to avoid getting Silly String stains to begin with is to use it only outdoors. When used outdoors, it can fall on grass or concrete and simply wash away over time. This helps save your furniture and carpets.
Just remember to stay far away from any cars! Silly String will cause stains on car paint that can be tricky to remove.
Also remember to keep the spray at least 5 feet away from your intended target. This will ensure that the Silly String has enough time to dry in the air and will help significantly lessen the amount of stains on clothing.
How To Remove Silly String Putty From Fabric
If your Silly String has not only stained your fabric but left it covered in putty-like residue, take a look at the video below to see how you can remove it from your fabric.
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