How to Get Slime Out of Carpets, Clothes, Hair, and More

published Feb 6, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

As a mom of two messy — er, creative — young kids, I’m well-acquainted with strange spots and stains on just about every surface in my home. Marker all over my light gray couch, crayon on the walls, apple juice all over my brand new rug — I’ve got my go-to strategy for each one. But recently, I met my match when it comes to kid messes.

I’ll be honest, bringing slime into my house was my idea. I’d heard playing with slimy textures can be relaxing, so I grabbed some in the kids’ aisle at Target without thinking about where it would end up. The kids played with it for ten minutes, and I never saw the slime again — until, that is, we moved our media console away from the wall to paint, and my husband spotted it. Suffice it to say we didn’t get much painting done that afternoon, because my kind and patient spouse spent hours with his face inches from the sticky section of carpet, slathering it in Goo-Gone and chipping away at it with a knife. Good thing it’s under the console. 

Next time, I’ll need a better strategy. So I asked Angela Bell and Georgia Dixon, cleaning experts and Grove Guides at Grove Collaborative, for their best suggestions on how to get slime out of carpet and clothes. Here’s what they had to say.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

How do you get slime out of carpet?

Addressing the slime as quickly as possible is paramount, according to Bell: a fresh splatter comes out way easier than something that is dried or set in. So if you have kids who play with slime, don’t make the same mistakes I did. Always supervise them with it and make sure it’s put back and not, say, dissolving into your carpet. 

To remove fresh slime from carpet or rugs, Dixon and Bell suggest soaking the spot with a couple drops of dish soap and water, or equal parts vinegar and water. Whichever method you use, be sure to test an inconspicuous area of the carpet to test for color-fastness first. 

Then, soak the area and cover with a wet cloth. Let the solution and cloth sit on the affected area for an hour or more before attempting to remove it. Work at it with a heavy-duty scrub brush and for extra-sticky parts, chip away at it with a butter knife. 

How do you remove dried slime from carpet? 

If the slime has dried into the carpet, Dixon and Bell say you’ll likely need to do some rehydrating to fully remove it. Soak and wring a cleaning rag with warm water, then gently blot the slime to soften it. Be careful not to rub the slime further into the carpet, and use a plucking motion with the damp cloth to remove slime from carpet fibers. Follow with a butter knife if needed.

How do you get slime out of carpet without vinegar?

Vinegar works well to eat the goo out of the carpet, but it’s not the only option. An alternative, according to Dixon and Bell, is a dish soap and water solution. (See instructions above.) You can also try plain club soda — the carbonic acid acts as a gentle cleaning agent to dissolve the slime and make it easier to clean.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

How do you get slime out of clothing?

First, address the stickiness. Grab a butter knife and gently scrape off the slime, being careful not to damage the item’s fibers. If any slime remains, grab an ice cube. Freezing the slime spots will make it easier to scrape away. 

Once you remove as much slime residue as you can, deal with potential staining or discoloration caused by any coloring in the slime. Dixon and Bell recommend soaking slimed clothing in a warm water and oxygen whitening mixture — Dixon and Bell swear by the oxygen cleaner Molly’s Suds, which, despite the name, is a color-safe solution.

After soaking for 30 minutes, use a Stain Remover Spray on any remaining discoloration from the slime, then launder as normal. Repeat the process if necessary to banish any excess slime residue. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

How do you get slime out of hair?

For slime in the hair, try using a gel based hand sanitizer or dish soap. The gel can easily be applied to the affected hair, rubbed gently, and then rinsed out. Repeat as needed to remove all slime. You may want to follow with a good shampoo and deep conditioner to revitalize hair. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

How do you get slime off of upholstered furniture, such as the couch?

The ice cube-and-scrape method is the best way to chip away at excess slime on upholstery. If that’s not doing the trick, you can also use a few drops of club soda or rubbing alcohol to help dissolve the bits of slime. Once it’s wet, lift it with a spoon or butter knife, then blot dry with a clean towel. 

To prevent lasting discoloration on your furniture, find your favorite enzyme-based stain remover (and make sure it’s safe to use on the affected upholstery). After testing for color-fastness in an inconspicuous area, spray the stain until it’s fully saturated, and use a damp microfiber cloth to blot gently on the affected area. Repeat if the stain remains.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

How do you get slime off of the wall? 

Dixon and Bell recommend blotting fresh slime off of the wall with a cloth dipped in a solution of warm water and a few drops of gentle dish detergent. If any residue remains, try scrubbing it off with an abrasive cleaner, like a paste made from equal parts baking soda and water, and the scrubby side of a sponge. Dried slime may require gentle scraping with a spoon or butter knife — just be careful not to damage your wall in the process.