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How to Remove Putty from Carpet

A close look at a hand holding a modelling putty.

If you have kids, you know putty. Whether it’s Crayola Silly Putty or Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty, there are a range of tacky, gooey products your kids will love to play with.

But as fun as these products can be for your children, they can be a nightmare for parents if they get stuck in your carpet.

Whatever the type or brand of putty you’re trying to tackle, there are a number of DIY solutions that can work quite well to remove that sticky mess from the grips of your carpet.

As with any stain, however, swift action is key, so let’s not delay any longer – let’s get to work!

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Freeze it

A woman holding an amber putty on her gloved hand.

The first step to addressing a sticky putty stain is to remove as much of the putty as possible before treating the stain.

In some cases, the putty may still be moist, especially if the blob was recently dropped. You may be able to pull away some of this putty from the carpet without applying any sort of intervention.

As you do, however, take care not to smash the putty deeper into the carpet or spread it across a larger area of the carpet.

Discard of any removed putty in a paper towel, bowl, or plate, taking care not to drip additional putty elsewhere on the carpet during removal.

Once you have removed as much of the putty from the carpet as possible by simply gripping and pulling it, you’re going to want to shift tactics.

While it’s still important to remove as much of the putty from the carpet as possible, you won’t be able to achieve that by simply pulling it away.

Instead, you’re going to need to scrape it away.

But you can’t scrape moist putty, as it will just spread and mush deeper into the carpet.

Instead, you’re going to need the putty to harden in order to remove it.

While you could allow the putty to sit in your carpet for several days until it is sufficiently hardened to scrape away, this is not the best option, as this will allow the oils and dyes from the putty to become even more embedded into the fibers of your carpet, leaving a larger, and more difficult stain to remove.

A better option is to freeze the putty – a process that will take several hours, rather than several days.

Fill a plastic sandwich bag with ice cubes and set on top of the putty. Continue to apply ice to the putty for at least three hours, or until the putty is sufficiently hardened. You will need to refill your ice bag frequently, as the ice will eventually melt and prove ineffective at freezing the putty.

Once the putty is frozen, take a butter knife or other blunt tool appropriate for scraping, and begin to chip away at the hardened putty, taking care not to push any chips into the carpet.

Much of the putty may be embedded deep into your carpet’s fibers. Work to remove as much of this putty as possible, but take care not to press too hard against your carpet, as it could cause damage to the fibers.

Any remaining putty in the carpet will require treatment through an alternative method.

This scraping process should help to remove much of the putty, making it easier to treat the remaining stain below. Although it’s not likely to solve your problem entirely, it will certainly lessen the load you have to work with.

Clean up all chips you have scraped away before attempting to apply a stain treatment to the affected area.

Dish Detergent

A pair of gloved hands pouring dish detergent onto a sponge.

Once you have sufficiently removed as much of the putty as possible from your carpet, it’s time to start applying a stain treatment solution to tackle the rest of your gooey stain.

While there are a number of stain removal options that may work well, one of the first approaches you can take is to apply a diluted dish detergent solution to the area affected by the stain.

Using a spray bottle, combine one tablespoon of liquid dish detergent with two cups of warm water and apply to the stain. Make sure to use a non-bleach dish detergent option, as this could cause staining or damage to your carpet.

Then, use a dry, white cloth to gently blot the stain, working to loosen and lift the remaining putty, as well as any stain that may have been left by any dye or oil in the putty.

Reapply the detergent solution as necessary. You may have to work at the stain for ten minutes or so to achieve the desired result.

Some recommend blotting the solution with cotton balls, rather than a cloth. Either option can work.

When the stain has been removed, be sure to rinse the detergent thoroughly from your carpet, as any detergent that remains can cause your carpet to collect dirt and lead to additional staining.


WD-40 Multi-Use Product Non-Aerosol Trigger Pro Spray. 20 oz. [1-Pack]Although it may seem crazy, WD-40 is often touted for its ability to remove set-in stains from carpet.

This product works to lift tough stains and remove moisture from your carpet.

Spray a small amount of WD-40 product to the area of your putty stain and allow it to absorb into your carpet for at least 30 seconds.

You can then use a soft cloth or sponge to massage the area where the WD-40 has been applied, working to remove the stain. Check periodically to determine your progress.

Once it appears the stain has been removed, use a damp cloth or sponge soaked in cold water to rinse the remaining product from your carpet. Be sure not to leave any WD-40 in your carpet or it may cause damage. You may also want to test a non-visible area of your carpet first before applying to the area of the stain.

Press dry with a towel.

Rubbing Alcohol

A close look at a bottle of rubbing alcohol.

Another common option that is used to remove a putty stain is rubbing alcohol. This is typically not considered a desirable option for use on carpets, as rubbing alcohol can actually cause damage to your carpet if it soaks too deeply into your carpet. It can damage the adhesive that attaches your carpet to the floor, causing detachment.

If you do use this product, it is highly recommended that you test a small, non-visible area of your carpet first and take care not to allow the isopropyl alcohol to absorb too deeply into your carpet’s fibers.

Using either a cloth or a cotton ball, apply rubbing alcohol to the area affected by the putty stain. Gently blot at the stain, working to loosen the putty and lift the stain.

Reapply isopropyl alcohol to the stain as needed.

Once you have removed the stain, or treated it as sufficiently as possible, take a cloth soaked in cold water and gently blot the area of the stain to remove the remaining rubbing alcohol from your carpet.

Take care not to leave the solution on your carpet for too long and make sure to rinse the carpet thoroughly following treatment.

Keep in mind, rubbing alcohol is not appropriate for use on all carpet types and it can cause damage if used inappropriately.

Nail Polish Remover

A woman cleaning her nails with nail polish remover.

Similar to rubbing alcohol, you can also use nail polish remover to get a putty stain out of your carpet. Using an acetone nail polish remover, repeat the steps as described above regarding rubbing alcohol.

Take care when using nail polish remover on your carpet, as it may have a similar effect as rubbing alcohol and cause damage to your carpet. Be sure to rinse the product thoroughly following treatment to avoid discoloration or damage.

Hydrogen Peroxide

A bottle of Kroger Brand hydrogen peroxide.

Another alternative to remove putty from your carpet that may work well if you have a white or light colored carpet is hydrogen peroxide.

Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent, which can work well to lighten a dark or oily stain as caused by putty, but it can also cause your carpet to become bleached. As a result, it should not be used on dark carpets.

It’s also a good idea to test a small area of your carpet before applying to the affected area of the stain so as to avoid damage to a visible area of carpet, should the hydrogen peroxide solution affect your carpet.

In a spray bottle, combine one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide with two cups of warm water and apply to the area of the stain.

Allow to sit for several minutes – up to 15 – to allow the hydrogen peroxide to lift and lighten your stain.

Then, using a dry cloth, gently blot at the stain until it begins to lift.

Once the stain has been removed, it is important to rinse the carpet thoroughly to ensure no hydrogen peroxide remains in your carpet. Leaving any product in your carpet could cause damage, so take your time to ensure sufficient removal.

Cleaning Up

A woman tired from cleaning the carpet.

Once you have successfully removed the putty stain from your carpet, it’s important to take your time to ensure you have removed all trace of treatment product from your carpet’s fibers.

Leaving any product in your carpet could cause a number of effects on your carpet, including discoloration and discoloration, among others. Product in your carpet can also cause dirt to collect, leading to additional stains.

Use a clean cloth soaked with cold water to blot the area and rinse the product away.

Press a dry cloth into the treated area to soak up any remaining moisture from your carpet, as leaving your carpet damp can lead to mold and mildew issues.

Once the carpet is dry, vacuum the area to restore your carpet’s natural look.

Although a putty stain can certainly be a sticky, time-consuming pain, with a little effort and some creativity, you can successfully remove putty stains from carpet.