Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Getting Silly Putty out of Clothes

Boys put things in their pockets. If you're persistent, or maybe lucky, they put their clothes in the laundry. They forget to check their pockets. I have a bucket in the laundry room for things I find in the wash--Legos, plastic Knights, ninjas, K'nex, various toy animals, a harmonica, Tinkertoys, hair accessories, (boys aren't the only ones who leave things in their pockets) various wheels, Hot Wheels, a rubber lizard, something that's either a baby dinosaur or a small alien--you name it. Gum and candy wrappers, broken crayons, used Kleenex, and the like go in the trash. Loose change goes in my pocket.

The day before yesterday, I found an empty plastic Silly Putty egg on the floor. No sign of its former contents. Last night, I found the Silly Putty. The good news is that it had wrapped itself in a pair of pajama pants, so it didn't get on anything else. The bad news is that it had wrapped itself in a pair of pajama pants, so I didn't find it until it had been through the dryer.

I've become quite proficient at treating the most common stains we get around here, but this one was new to me. Don Aslett's Stainbuster's Bible is a very present help in time of trouble, but it had nothing on Silly Putty.

I turned, naturally, to the Web. Problem is, everyone seemed to have a different idea about how to remove Silly Putty, and many people warned against the methods others were suggesting. Who do ya trust? Among all these ideas, someone posted a link to Crayola's Stain Tips page. Crayola, formerly known as Binney & Smith, now owns Silly Putty. Select the Category, Product, and Surface, and Crayola will tell you what their laboratory found most effective.

eHow warns that "WD-40 is a much harsher product and can damage some clothing." It worked fine on 100% cotton pajamas. Don't skimp on the rubbing alcohol, though. After two washings, the pajamas still smelled like WD-40. I got the smell out with acetone. eHow also made the following helpful suggestions: Stretch the material taut when you scrape it. Use a butter knife with a serrated edge. Several people suggested putting the garment in the freezer first. This definitely helped with the scraping.

So did it work? Well, the pajamas are no longer sticky, but a coral-pink stain remains. If this were an expensive garment, or had sentimental value, I could probably get all or most of it out with repeated treatments, but this is an old, ratty pair of kid's pajamas, and the stains match the pink lizards. The pajamas were probably worth less than the cost of the chemicals I used on them, to say nothing of the two hours' labor. It would have been more economical, though less instructive, to just throw them away. Call it a learning experience. I'm just glad the Silly Putty didn't spread itself through the whole load.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Arby said...

Yeppers...you got lucky with that one. I would have opted for the "toss the pj's in the trash" option. They cost twenty-five cents in the local thrift store, so for a buck I could have thrown away one and bought four. However, you have taught me how to save more expensive garments, and for that I thank you for your hard work. Happy New Year!

December 31, 2009 at 8:56 AM  
Blogger Mama Bear said...

Hey Arby, I want your used stores around here most of them want close to Wal-Mart prices for stained or damaged goods. I'm pleased that Papa Bear tries so hard to keep our stuff nice. Have a blessed new year.

December 31, 2009 at 5:35 PM  

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