All parents have been there—or will be one day soon. It’s that dreaded day when your kids have just a little too much fun with playdough and the stuff ends up embedded in your carpeting or rugs. Fear not, because we’re here with a super-easy guide to getting playdough out of carpet. There are a few tried-and-true ways to tackle this mess…making playdough vanish without a trace.

Check out our favorite playdough removal techniques and use the one that works best for your space, timing, and materials you have on hand. And most importantly, just keep reminding yourself of this one sacred truth: At least it wasn’t slime!

How to Get Playdough Out of Carpet Method #1: Do It Dry

Unlike most stains and spills that require immediate attention, playdough is one oopsie you might want to let mellow for a while. Once dried, the stuff is much easier to work with and will not continue to seep further into the carpet. If you attempt the following method with playdough that is not fully dried out, you risk making the stains worse—and the removal process much harder.

  1. Allow playdough to dry completely. (If this makes you cringe, you might want to scroll to Method #2 or #3…)
  2. Use a stiff brush or plastic knife (or both, depending how deeply it’s embedded in the fibers!), to remove the playdough from the carpet.
  3. If this doesn’t remove all of the playdough, use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner to target and suck up the rest of the crumbs.
  4. Soak a cotton cloth or paper towel in rubbing alcohol and wring it almost all the way out.
  5. Use the alcohol to blot any stains that remain on the carpet.
  6. Leave the mark to dry or speed up the process with a hair dryer if company is coming over and you need the marks out now

How to Get Playdough Out of Carpet Method #2: Moisten & Remove

On the flip side, scraping up fully dried playdough isn’t the only solution. Hot water can benefit your endeavor to clean up the dough and remove the remaining stains. Here’s how:

  1. Thoroughly dampen a washcloth or hand towel with piping-hot water. You do not want to use a paper towel for this method—it will fall apart.
  2. Lay the wet cloth over the playdough spill and allow it to soak into the mess for 30 to 60 minutes. The heat of the water will start to break up the playdough particles, and the water itself will thin out the playdough a bit, making it easier to remove.
  3. Follow steps 2-5 from Method #1 to complete the job. 

How to Get Playdough Out of Carpet Method #3: Freeze & Scrape

Short on time but aiming for a take on Method #1 with fully dried playdough? We’ve got a plan that will speed up that dry time and get your playdough problem solved quickly.

  1. Use a can of cold air spray to freeze the playdough, essentially hardening it to emulate the “dry” playdough texture. You’ll know it’s ready when the playdough looks frosty.
  2. Chip off as much of the playdough as you can with a butter knife or screwdriver, being careful not to touch it with your fingers as the cold will cause freezer burn.
  3. Follow up with a vacuum for any pesky small particles, rubbing clean with alcohol and vacuuming once more for the perfect, finished clean.

Final Thoughts on How to Get Playdough Out of Carpet

No matter which method you use to get pesky playdough out of your carpets, rest assured that this is one childhood mess that happily does have a solution. For next time though, save yourself work and stress by setting up a playdough station in the kitchen or on a tiled floor so that when playtime is over, the remnants can be quickly wiped away. 

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About Jenny Studenroth Gerson

Jenny Studenroth Gerson is an Atlanta-based lifestyle journalist and novelist (Let Me Let You Go, 2020). Her work can be seen in publications including HuffPost, Cosmo, and WSJ, among many others. Jenny has researched thousands of baby names, combed through hundreds of nursery designs, and curated dozens of baby shower guides, making her absolutely the mom—and writer—you want to talk to when planning for Baby. When not meeting deadlines, she is chasing toddlers or chugging coffee—or both! Find her on Instagram @ourlifeinrosegold for mom hacks and more.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.