At home, we don’t make slime. Its smooth, gooey texture horrified me from the start, not just for its germ, grime, and hair-collecting nature, but for the way he ruthlessly clings to every substance he comes in contact with. At occasion, however, one of my children is coming home from school or a birthday party with slime, so resist my instinct throw it away immediately, I have stuck to a strict “kitchen only” rule.
That’s why when my daughter recently returned from a field trip with her dad and a friend, it was the first time in nine years of parenthood that I had to struggle to remove the mud from the clothes. When I saw her scrubbing vehemently with a dry washcloth at what she called “putty” (yeah, that’s right, slime vendors, you can call it putty, but it’s still colorful glue), I contacted Google for instructions.
How to remove wet mud
Wet slime is apparently easier to remove than dry slime (I couldn’t tell you this firsthand because I haven’t had the pleasure of being good with wet slime.) First, remove as much as you can before it dries. Then, soak it in white vinegar for ten minutes before using an old toothbrush to scrub the area in a circular motion. Rinse with warm water and wash as usual. (If sticky dye remains, generously apply stain remover — or bleach diluted with water if it’s a white garment — and let sit for 15 minutes before washing.)
How rto take off dry mud
Once the mush has had a chance to dry out, it’s a whole different ball game. The generally recommended first step is to scrape as much as possible with a butter knife. (It won’t be much.) Various tracking techniques are recommended, most of which I’ve tried. See the results below.
Apply ice (or use the freezer)
There are those who say that applying ice to the affected area can harden the slime for easier removal; others say leaving the affected garment in the freezer for 3-4 hours will achieve the same goal. I’m not sure about the direct ice application, but as far as the freezer trick goes, they’re wrong. After four hours, things have barely moved. (I checked the freezer temperature and it was 5 degrees Fahrenheit, not the recommended 0 degrees. Maybe those extra five degrees made it too tropical?)
Soak in vinegar
When the freezing bath didn’t do anything, I soaked the leggings in vinegar for 10 minutes, then tried brushing the mud off with a toothbrush as per the instructions above. While this technique could be effective on wet slime, on freeze-dried slime, all it did was cleverly smash the slime further down the pants, to Van Gogh‘s Starry Night.
Use dish soap (or laundry detergent)
Enter the liquid dish soap, a miracle whose praises we have already sung. Now we can add slime disposal to its list of cleaning glories. A few targeted drops followed by a vigorous scrubbing like the good old days and wouldn’t you know, with a little scraping of your old fingernails, that this stuff came off right away? I can’t say if the dish soap would be as effective immediately, rather than as a follow-up to the vinegar and hot water. But I can recommend starting here first.
Rubbing alcohol, acetone, nail polish remover
If all else fails, try dabbing a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, or pure acetone to lift the slime little by little – it should stick to the cotton ball. Keep in mind that these are much stronger and more astringent substances and should be tested on a small piece of cloth first.
Removing mud from upholstery
The same substances can be used to remove mud from your family couch. Maids.com recommends removing as much mud as possible by working it up and away from the fabric, without rubbing. (A spoon can be effective.) Next, mix 2/3 cup of white vinegar with 1/3 cup of water in a spray bottle. Spray the surface, let it penetrate for 10-15 minutes before using a soft brush to work the solution into the fabric. Rinse with water, pat dry and banish mud from your home forever.