Cleaning Up Slime and Other Tricky Kids' Messes | The Maids (2023)

Cleaning isn’t exactly rocket science. Sure, it takes some know-how, attention to detail and the right supplies. Keeping your house clean isn’t so tough as long as you stay on top of things. Until you have kids. Cleaning house should really fall into two categories: before kids and after kids. Until you experience the inexhaustible number of ways a kid can make a mess, you just can’t know how challenging cleaning can be.

Spilled milk or a dropped taco is one thing, but there are some notoriously messy toys, foods and other kid-related materials that call for a unique plan of attack. These are the messes we’re talking about here. From cleaning up gooey slime to getting rid of crayon marks, we’ve got the goods on how to clean up those extra-special, hard-to-clean kids’ messes.


Lowly slime may be your child’s favorite thing to play with because it’s so sticky and gooey. It’s a simple product, and you can make it at home out of borax, school glue and water. But for something that contains only borax, school glue and water, cleaning up slime can be tricky. This makes sense when you understand that slime is what’s called a non-Newtonian fluid. That means it can sometimes act like a liquid and sometimes like a solid. It’s no wonder it’s so hard to clean! Hard, but not impossible. Here’s how you do it:

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How to get Slime out of Clothing

Remove any excess slime from the clothing. If it’s still damp, use a paper towel or pick it up with your hands. If it’s dried, gently scrape off using a butter knife. It should come off easily but take your time, so you don’t damage the fabric. Soak the stained area in white vinegar for five minutes, but don’t let the vinegar dry all the way. Then run warm water over the stain to rinse off slime particles that came loose with the vinegar and wash the clothing as you normally would.

How to get Slime out of Upholstery and Carpet

The directions for getting slime out of carpet and upholstery are pretty much the same as with clothing. Follow the plan above for clothing until you get to the part about the washing machine. This is where you will pat and blot with a paper towel instead of washing the item. Do not rub. Once the carpet or upholstery is dry, vacuum to remove the leftover particles. You can also use club soda, and it doesn’t have to be rinsed. Just pour it on, let it dry and vacuum.

How to get Slime off Walls

First, remove any excess slime. Gently scrape the surface but be careful not to damage the wallpaper, paint or other finish. Mix a paste of baking soda and water with a small amount of vinegar and stir it into a thick paste. Put on some rubber gloves and lay something protective on the floor beneath. Apply the past to the stain liberally. After about two hours, everything should be dry. Just brush the paste off with a paper towel, and you’re slime-free.

Silly String

Its unique properties make Silly String one of the more challenging kids’ messes to clean. Cleaning up Silly String can be as tough as cleaning up slime. That’s not surprising when you consider Silly String is a solvent that transforms from a liquid to a solid in mid-air. That sounds like a tough stain waiting to happen, doesn’t it? Unless your kids like cleaning as much as they like making a mess, here’s what you need to know.

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How to get Silly String out of Clothing

Let the Silly String dry, and brush it off. Sponge the stain with cold water and some dish soap. Gently scrub to pretreat the stain. Wash and dry the clothing as usual. You can use your laundry stain remover as long as it’s safe for the fabric at hand. Vinegar works great as a pre-soak for Silly String that has been caked on and has set in.

How to get Silly String out of Upholstery and carpet

Brush off the Silly String once it dries. Blot the stain with a dry cloth before you start cleaning. Don’t rub. Check your upholstery’s cleaning label before you use any stain remover or another cleaner. Getting Silly String out of carpet or upholstery can be difficult once it has dried thoroughly. If you find yourself in this situation, you may need professional cleaning help.

How to get Silly String off Walls

You better catch this mess early. Wipe up the Silly String with a damp cloth as soon as possible before it dries completely. Once this stuff dries on certain surfaces, it may be permanent. If you are faced with a lingering stain, dish soap and water should wear it down after a few cleanings.

Peanut butter

Peanut butter may not be as much fun, but depending on how quickly you act, it can be as tough as cleaning up slime. The biggest problem with peanut butter isn’t that gooey, sticky consistency — it’s the fat in there that makes for a cumbersome cleanup. Just like shortening or butter, peanut butter leaves a greasy film that won’t clean up with water. Here’s what you need to know to clean up this oily mess.

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How to get Peanut Butter out of Clothing

Once peanut butter dries, it will often leave an oily stain on clothing that can be hard to get out. If caught in time, these stains can be pre-treated with laundry stain remover and washed as usual. Remove excess peanut butter and blot as much of the oily residue as possible and then apply the pre-treat. If the stain is still there after washing, you’ll need something stronger like acetone. Apply just enough to cover the stain and blot carefully. Be aware that acetone and similar products can discolor or even melt certain fibers.

How to get Peanut Butter out of Upholstery and carpet

Remove any excess peanut butter but don’t rub it in further. Sprinkle baking soda, cornstarch or another absorbent material on the stain. Let it sit for 15 minutes and vacuum. Using a clean, white cloth, dab the stain with dry cleaning solvent and blot carefully until the solvent is absorbed. Repeat until the stain is gone.

How to get Peanut Butter off Walls

After removing as much peanut butter as possible, mix up two cups water, one tablespoon dish soap and two tablespoons white vinegar. Dip a clean white cloth in the solution and wring out excess moisture. Carefully dab the stain and repeat the process until the stain is gone. Be careful not to rub the stain because you’ll just spread any remaining residue for an even bigger stain.

Honorable Mentions


If you’ve got girls, you’ve got glitter. For something that doesn’t leave stains or a sticky mess, glitter makes for a difficult cleanup because each piece is so small and there’s so much! If it’s on the floor, simply vacuum. But you know it’s not going to be that easy. For an easy way to get up glitter that’s not on the floor, roll a lint roller across the surface, and all that glitter will stick.

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Playdough ground into the carpet may be one of the most common kid’s messes ever. Luckily, it’s not too hard to clean up. It just takes patience. Let the playdough dry for a couple of days first (trust us). Vacuum using your brush tool and carefully break-up the dried dough. Any remaining pieces that have become attached to carpet fibers can be gently loosened up and removed with a clean towel, dish soap and water.


There’s no shortage of advice for cleaning up crayon marks on walls, from pencil erasers to mayonnaise. But the best way to get rid of those crayon marks is with a damp white cloth and good old baking soda. Rub the baking soda gently over the crayon and repeat until it’s all gone.

Cleaning Up Slime and Other Tricky Kids’ Messes7 min read was last modified: April 4th, 2019 by The Maids Team


What will dissolve slime? ›

Baking Soda and Vinegar: Mix a 2:1 vinegar and water solution. Sprinkle baking soda over the slime spot and then spray it with the vinegar and water. After 10 minutes, clean the stain with a scrub brush and wipe up the extra baking soda and slime particles with a paper towel.

How do you get dried slime off hard surfaces? ›

Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a tablespoon of water to form a paste, adding water as needed. When you reach the consistency of a paste, add a splash of vinegar to the mixture. Dab the paste onto the wall, and allow it to dry. Once the paste is dry, you can brush the dried paste off with a paper towel.

Does alcohol remove slime? ›

Another effective way to clean slime is by mixing rubbing alcohol and club soda with water. Rubbing alcohol can dissolve the tough bonds of slime and the club soda serves as a mild cleaning agent to dissolve and float slime particles out of the fibers so they can be removed.

Does Dawn remove slime? ›

Another method for removing slime from clothes is to grab the Dawn and white vinegar or rubbing alcohol. Scrape off the slime.

Does vinegar dissolve kids slime? ›

One of our best ways to remove slime from clothes is with plain old white vinegar. You can use vinegar to dissolve slime, and it's been proven effective in both clothing and hair as well!

Is slime toxic for kids? ›

“Most slime recipes out there call for Borax, a strong alkaline substance like lye,” said Mark Johnston, program coordinator of the Regions Hospital Burn Center. “If used improperly or carelessly, it can cause chemical burns.” According to Johnston, close parent supervision is key to making sure your child stays safe.

Is slime OK for 12 year olds? ›

In a nutshell, yes, slime is perfectly safe for most kids.

Borax is actually used as a soap and a disinfectant in many products. Besides Borax, the two most common activators used in slime making are liquid starch (Sta-Flo) which contains sodium tetraborate and saline solution which contains boric acid.

Is kids slime bad for the environment? ›

The bottom line

Standard slime – whether shop-bought or DIY – is a big environmental no-no. The ingredients used can take hundreds of years to biodegrade – if ever. Eco-friendly homemade slime, although not the exact same consistency as the standard variety, is just as much fun!

Does hydrogen peroxide dissolve slime? ›

Hydrogen peroxide is used in so many products, from toothpaste to hair dye, and it's in many cleaning products as it cleans at a molecular level. This, combined with its effervescence makes it highly effective when tackling things such as slime spillages.

Does hydrogen peroxide remove slime? ›

Steps to clean:

Blot up as much of the excess slime as possible using a clean cloth. Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and dish soap in a bowl. Dip a clean cloth into the solution and blot the affected area. Repeat as needed until all the slime has been removed.

Why does vinegar melt slime? ›

In that case, the acetic acid in vinegar reacted with the calcium carbonate in the egg shell, producing carbon dioxide gas and turning the shell rubbery. With slime, vinegar breaks up those cross-linking bonds… and frees whatever the slime was stuck on.

Does vinegar dissolve slime? ›

"Vinegar contains acetic acid, which dissolves the slime, and your clothing should be good as new in no time," she adds. "You can also use rubbing alcohol in this way. Rubbing the area with laundry detergent and rinsing under warm water will also do the trick."

Does vinegar clean slime? ›

Mix 2/3 cup white vinegar with 1/3 water in a spray bottle. Spray the cleaner on the slime and let it soak in. Use a scrub brush to work the cleaner in to soften and break down the slime. Blot with a white cloth to remove excess liquid and repeat as needed.

Does hand sanitizer remove slime? ›

For slime in the hair, try using a gel based hand sanitizer or dish soap. The gel can easily be applied to the affected hair, rubbed gently, and then rinsed out. Repeat as needed to remove all slime.

Does OxiClean remove slime? ›

If after using the white vinegar mixture your carpet is stained from the slime coloring, you can use OxiClean to remove the color stain from the carpet.

How do you get rid of slime fast? ›

Getting rid of phlegm and mucus at home
  1. Keep the air moist. ...
  2. Drink plenty of fluids. ...
  3. Apply a warm, wet washcloth to the face. ...
  4. Keep the head elevated. ...
  5. Do not suppress a cough. ...
  6. Discreetly get rid of phlegm. ...
  7. Use a saline nasal spray or rinse. ...
  8. Gargle with salt water.

What does shampoo do to slime? ›

The thicker your shampoo, the thicker your slime.

What does baking soda do with slime? ›

Adding baking soda to your slime recipe helps it have more form and firmness. If your slime is too oozy-gooey, add another pinch of baking soda to help it firm up. Continue adding baking soda a pinch at a time until the slime is your preferred consistency. If it's too firm, add warm water, a teaspoon at a time.

Can kids slime clog a sink? ›

Slime is non-toxic, but it goes mouldy, it gets dirty especially when handled and it blocks the drain! Trust me it really does block the drain!

Is slime full of germs? ›

Slime: 30 million CFUs – 3 times the amount of bacteria in a kitchen sink. Doll: 13 million CFUs – 9 times more bacteria than a pet's food bowl. Small toy car: 40,000 CFUs – about 2 times the bacteria of a bathroom faucet handle.

How long does it take for slime to decompose? ›

Now, when you leave slime in the environment, it won't break down immediately. Typically, it may take about a decade before decomposition even occurs; and this is because of the Borax content. Its chemical composition is dangerous for the ecosystem, starting with the soil.

Why is my kid obsessed with slime? ›

Slime provides a kind of 'sensory play', which helps to engage a kid's senses, stimulate creativity, and can have a calming, in-the-moment effect. It also triggers their curiosity – the gooey texture of slime occupies a weird middle ground between solid and liquid.

Why is slime banned? ›

Each week, they share the latest news whether it's something happening within the group or a topic that's gone viral since the last episode. On January 19, Slime revealed that he was permanently banned from Twitter after making a joke about Pointcrow on the platform.

Is borax toxic for kids? ›

Borax can be lethal if ingested — less than 5 grams for a child and between 15-20 grams for an adult. Signs of exposure include red and peeling skin, seizures and kidney failure. Borax can also cause skin, eye or respiratory irritation.

Why is slime rated R? ›

Fantasy violence, including blood and gore, use of weapons, dead bodies, and dismemberment. Some battle sequences where characters fight to the death.

Is slime safe to touch? ›

While generally considered non-toxic in the form of borax (not to be confused with boric acid), it is recommended you avoid eye contact, ingestion or prolonged skin contact.

Does slime cause pollution? ›

Over time, slime can accumulate and cause harm to the environment such as pollution of water sources because of the components that it contains. Some research explains that sodium tetraborate has been confirmed that may affect the growth of plants and algae in lakes and streams.

What does toothpaste do to slime? ›

The slime will thicken and become dough-like as you stir. If your slime isn't the right consistency, add more ingredients as you stir. More shampoo will make it slimier, and more toothpaste will make it doughier.

What does dish soap do to your slime? ›

Make sure when you mix the glue dish soap that it creates a foamy, airy texture. This is what will make the slime work. Some brands of soap work better than others. We used Gain dish soap and it worked great.

Does baking soda fix slime? ›

You can also add the slime back into the baking soda water if it loosens up too much. When your slime starts to get runny again, add more of the baking soda water to turn it back into slime.

What is the best slime remover? ›

Remove excess slime. Pour white vinegar onto the slime. Allow the vinegar to soak into the fabric for five minutes. Using circular motions, gently scrub the area with a soft toothbrush.

Why does sugar melt slime? ›

I had to wing it and explained that the sugar interfered with the bonds allowing them to break, turning the slime back to liquid.

Does salt activate slime? ›

Other slime activators that can be used with varying effectiveness in slime recipes are: Dish soap. Salt.

What is the black slime in vinegar? ›

Have you ever reached for your favorite bottle of vinegar from the pantry to find a weird amorphous blob floating near the bottom? You're not alone! This slime-like protein can look unsightly, but rest assured that its a natural by-product of the fermentation that makes vinegar from wine.

Does lemon juice deactivate slime? ›

Cooking the pods as little as possible will minimize the sliminess. Flash frying, steaming, and blanching are suggested. Cook them thoroughly will dry out or cook off the sliminess, leaving you with a crispy, slime free result. Adding vinegar, lemon juice, or other acid will counteract the sliminess.

Can you use apple cider vinegar to remove slime? ›

Rub the ice over the area before using vinegar. It will freeze and harden the slime, making it easier to take off. Scrub the vinegar into the slime with a scrub brush. Apply firm pressure while scrubbing so the bristles can penetrate the slime and break it up.

Does soap make slime sticky? ›

The addition of dish soap to a borax slime recipe makes it much less sticky and, therefore, easier to clean up! That's why we love teaching other people how to make slime with glue and soap so they can enjoy the fun of slime recipes without the stress or mess!

Do you have to wash your hands after touching slime? ›

A good rule of thumb is to wash hands thoroughly after making and playing with slime. Shaving cream – makes the slime fluffy. Can cause irritation if it comes into contact with open wounds; also may cause an upset stomach if it's ingested.

How do you dissolve slime in a drain? ›

The combination of baking soda and vinegar proves effective on just about any slime. The chemical reaction of the baking soda and vinegar, which has antibacterial properties, can break up the slime. If you pour in boiling water after you dump in the vinegar and baking soda combo, it will wash away any leftover slime.

Does white vinegar dissolve glue? ›

Vinegar can also remove unwanted hardened glue from plastic. Soak the area using only white vinegar, then work the glue away with a credit card, spatula, or similar edge.

Does white vinegar dissolve slime? ›

"Vinegar contains acetic acid, which dissolves the slime, and your clothing should be good as new in no time," she adds. "You can also use rubbing alcohol in this way. Rubbing the area with laundry detergent and rinsing under warm water will also do the trick."

Does peanut butter remove slime? ›

While it may seem contradicting to add more stickiness to an already very gooey head, peanut butter has oil, and oil defeats slime. Work a teaspoon or two of peanut butter into the slime-affected hair. Use a comb to work the peanut butter through the hair.


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