Life Hack: How to clean play dough from carpets and toys, plus how use it as a cleaning tool

It's come a long way since it was first created in the 1930s as a cleaning solution for wallpaper
Life Hack: How to clean play dough from carpets and toys, plus how use it as a cleaning tool

Play dough can be a pesky problem when it gets stuck in things like carpets and clothes. Picture: iStock

I found some of my child’s play dough mashed into the carpet 

Play dough is a very malleable substance and super popular for children to play with. It is also one of the likeliest materials to be squashed into a carpet enthusiastically by an arts and crafts-loving child. While it can be removed from walls and other flat surfaces easily enough, cleaning play dough from a carpet is a little tricker — but it is by no means impossible. Soak a cloth in warm water until it is damp. Place this cloth over the play dough to soften it. Remove the cloth and use a stiff brush to wipe over the affected area to loosen and remove the play dough.

There’s play dough on my child’s clothes, help?

To remove dried-in play dough from clothes, first scrape off any excess with a blunt object, like a spoon. Soak the fabric in warm water for at least 30 minutes to loosen the play dough before using a soft-bristled brush to scrape away any remaining dough. If you notice a residual stain, run washing up liquid into the fabric before washing the item as normal.

My child has some dried play dough on their toys, how can I remove it?

Dried-in play dough can often be found on other toys, especially anything used specifically with play dough, like shape cutters. For tools like these, fill a bowl with warm water and add the encrusted items. Let them sit there for at least 30 minutes, which will allow the play dough to soften. Remove the item from the water and rinse - this should dislodge the play dough. Any remaining stubborn pieces should be easy to wipe away. A dry toothbrush can also be used for play dough dried into crevices. If you’re hoping to remove small pieces of play dough from a toy before they have a chance to harden, you can use a larger piece of the dough to clean it. Simply press a larger portion of play dough against the toy and lift it away. Smaller pieces will come away with the larger play dough.

Is it true I can use play dough to clean other things?

Yes! Play dough was originally manufactured in the 1930s as a cleaning agent for wallpaper. During that time, coal fires would leave a layer of soot on wallpaper. This couldn’t become wet or the marks would be more pronounced so an innovative cleaning solution was found by US-based soap company Kutol Products. As coal fires became less popular, sales of the cleaner declined. However, in the 1950s, a sister-in-law of the company’s then-boss noticed children in her nursery school enjoyed playing with the substance. Based on this, Kutol began manufacturing it as Play-Doh for young children. Today there is a myriad of uses for play dough, including as a cleaning tool. Play dough can be used in small, poky areas to clean things like crumbs. You can push the play dough into a gap to pick up any dirt or debris, which will be lifted away with the play dough when you remove it.

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