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How to Get Playdough Out of Carpet

A close look at a piece of green playdough.

Kids love Play-Doh. This colorful, doughy putty is an excellent tactile activity for your child to explore his creative side while activating his senses, too.

But for parents, Play-Doh isn’t all fun and games. It’s messy reputation often results in an anxiety-inducing experience for moms and dads.

What if your child gets playdough in the carpet? Does Play-Doh stain?

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If your child has dropped Play-Doh Modeling Compound onto your carpet, it’s a heart-pounding scenario you would just as soon avoid. But for anyone with young children, it’s usually not a question of if they will drop Play-Doh onto the carpet, but when.

When it comes to Play-Doh in your carpet, it’s not just the viscous putty that can get left behind; the bright dyes used in the product may leave your carpet stained.

As a result, it’s important to act fast to remove as much of the product as possible from your carpet and apply a treatment solution to any remaining stain.

Although Play-Doh may look like a mushy mess, it doesn’t have to spell complete disaster for your carpet. With quick action, a Play-Doh stain is generally quite surmountable.

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Use more Play-Doh

A close look at a child playing with a lot of playdough.

If you or your child have just dropped playdough on the floor, it’s not too late to prevent a total disaster. If you act quickly, you can generally manage to grab up some of the fallen dough before it becomes mushed too deeply into your carpet.

Take quick action to scoop up any fallen pieces and place them onto a table or into the container to avoid them falling back onto the carpet.

If you find that some of the Play-Doh has already become pressed into the carpet, one quick action you can take to prevent it from becoming embedded in your carpet fibers is to use fresh, moist Play-Doh and press it into the product in your carpet.

Simply roll some fresh Play-Doh into a ball and press it into the Play-Doh into the carpet.

This can be extremely helpful toward removing much of the product before it has a chance to become intertwined in your carpet and hardened.

If you find dried Play-Doh in your carpet, or you are unable to remove it before it hardens, it’s generally no cause to become overly concerned.

There are a number of effective ways to remove dried Play-Doh from carpet.

To tackled dried Play-Doh, find a blunt, dull object, like a butter knife or a nail file or even a spoon, and begin to scrape beneath the product to work at removing it from your carpet.

Take care not to press down on the Play-Doh, as this can embed it further into your carpet. You will also want to avoid use of a sharp object and be careful not to scrape too hard, as this can cause damage to your carpet.

If you don’t have a blunt object handy, or if you’re finding it’s not working quite so well, then you can also try using a hard-bristled scrub brush, gently massaging it against the dried dough.

Use of an old toothbrush may also suffice, provided it’s not one with super soft bristles. A hard-bristled toothbrush would work best.

As you scrape away the dried Play-Doh, pick up the flakes using your fingers and discard the product into the trash.

You can also use a vacuum cleaner, taking the upholstery attachment and gently sucking up the flakes. Just be careful not to press the flakes into the carpet as you vacuum.

Freeze and Scrape

A close look at a child playing with playdough of different colors.

If your Play-Doh is not yet dry and you’re finding the blotting method with fresh, moist Play-Doh has reached the limit to its effectiveness, then it’s possible to speed up the removal process by freezing the remaining Play-Doh.

This could be preferable over allowing it to dry and harden on its own, as the product has less time to soak into the carpet, allowing the dyes to spread.

As a result, it’s a good idea to take action to harden the Play-Doh yourself.

One way to do this is to fill a small sandwich bag with ice, place it on the spot of the Play-Doh, and allow it to set until the product has sufficiently hardened.

Once it is hardened, you can perform the scraping and vacuum method detailed in the section above to remove as much of the product from your carpet as possible.

If you have removed as much of the dried Play-Doh as possible and you find that some dough, or at least a bright, colorful stain remains, there are a number of DIY home remedies for removing Play-Doh that may work well to loosen the remaining product, while lifting and lightening the stain.

Dish Detergent

One of the more effective methods for loosening and removing Play-Doh product and stains is the use of a non-bleach dish detergent. These products are designed to loosen and lift tough stains like grease, and they can add Play-Doh to their arsenal, as well.

Mix one tablespoon of liquid dish detergent with two cups of warm water. You can either use a spray bottle to apply the product or a clean, light towel.

Apply a small amount of the product to begin, allowing it to set for several minutes as it goes to work to lift the stain and loosen the Play-Doh.

Then, using a light, soft cloth or sponge, blot at the stain affected area, applying additional product as necessary and repeating the blotting action until the stain is removed.

Once you’ve removed the stain, be sure to thoroughly rinse the area using a damp cloth with cold water. It’s important not to leave any dish detergent in your carpet, as this can leave your carpet looking drab and will also collect dirt and cause additional stains to deposit.

Rubbing Alcohol

A pair of gloved hands cleaning the beige carpet with a spritzer and rag.

If you find that some dye from the Play-Doh still remains in your carpet, leaving an unsightly stain, you may need to apply a product that works to lighten a bright or dark stain.

One option that may work well is rubbing alcohol. It’s important to be careful with this product when using it on your carpet, however. It’s not appropriate for all materials, and when used with any carpet, it can cause damage if it is left on too long or allowed to penetrate too deeply into your carpet’s fibers.

If rubbing alcohol comes into contact with the latex that adheres your carpet to the floor, it can cause it to become ineffective and bubble up.

As a result, it’s a good idea to test this product on a small, non-visible section of your carpet before applying to the stained area to ensure it will not damage your carpet.

Once tested, dab a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto a small section of soft cloth or towel and blot it onto to the stain, allowing it to set for several minutes. Do not allow it to set too long, however, as this can cause the product to come into contact with the carpet’s base and cause damage.

Then, use cold water and a towel to blot the area and rinse away any remaining rubbing alcohol. Make sure not to leave any of this product in your carpet, as it will damage it.

This should help to remove the bright Play-Doh stain that remains.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Another potential lightening agent you may have on hand at home is hydrogen peroxide. Take care never to use this product with any product that contains bleach, as this can cause a dangerous chemical reaction.

Hydrogen peroxide is not appropriate for use on wool carpets and it should only be used on white or light colored carpets, as well.

Combine one part hydrogen peroxide with three parts warm water into a spray bottle. One tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide should suffice. You don’t need much for it to be effective.

Spray the mixture onto the stain-affected area and allow it to set for several minutes. This will allow the product to go to work lightening and lifting the stain.

Then, using a wet cloth, blot at the area and apply additional product as needed until stain is removed.

Rinse thoroughly once the stain has been removed or you have succeeded in removing as much as it appears will come up.

Be careful not to leave any hydrogen peroxide solution in your carpet.

White Vinegar

Another option that can work well for lightening bright or dark stains or lifting difficult product is white vinegar. You can use a solution combining just vinegar and water, or you can combine white vinegar, dish detergent, hydrogen peroxide, and water for a powerful stain-fighting option.

To use just white vinegar to address the stain, mix ¼ cup white vinegar with ¼ cup warm water and apply the product to the stain. Allow solution to sit for 15 minutes.

Then, using a cold, white cloth or towel, blot the stain until no more color appears on the white cloth.

Rinse the area thoroughly.

Although this method can work well when it comes to many stains, it may not be the most appropriate for Play-Doh. It’s probably a good idea to start with dish detergent once you have already removed as much of the dried Play-Doh as possible using a dull scraping tool.

Finishing Touches

A close look at two children playing with playdough.

After you have applied any treatment solution to your carpet to remove a Play-Doh stain, it’s important to make sure you remove any trace of that solution in your carpet.

Usually, use of a damp cloth with cold water will be sufficient to remove the product successfully.

Then, take a dry cloth and blot the wet area to draw up as much of the remaining moisture as possible. It’s important to dry the area thoroughly, as moist carpet can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Some may opt for use of a wet-dry vacuum to accelerate the drying process.

You will then want to gently run a vacuum over the treated area to smooth out your carpet.

Make sure you have removed all traces of the Play-Doh before you run a vacuum cleaner over the area, as it could otherwise result in pressing the product further into your carpet.