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Q: How To Remove Silly Putty From Fabric? ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: How To Remove Silly Putty From Fabric?
Category: Family and Home > Home
Asked by: k_blank2004-ga
List Price: $8.00
Posted: 18 Apr 2004 08:53 PDT
Expires: 18 May 2004 08:53 PDT
Question ID: 332127
My little ones managed to get ahold of some "Silly Putty" and smear it
into an upholstered chair.  I had a professional cleaner try to remove
it.  He was able to remove the main body of the putty, but the putty
material that was embedded into the fabric of the chair remains. 
Anyone have a technique for removing this without destroying the
fabric?  Unfortunately, I can not identity the exact type of the
fabric material.  It's not channel or some other fussy, fancy fabric. 
It's pretty rugged, durable stuff --- dark purple color.  Problem, as
it relates to the silly putty, is that it is very textured, with some
deep grooves and pattern that can catch solid material like this.
Subject: Re: How To Remove Silly Putty From Fabric?
Answered By: sublime1-ga on 18 Apr 2004 11:35 PDT

Here is the procedure published on the Crayola Crayon site
(which is referenced on the Silly Putty site), for removing
Silly Putty from fabrics. This same procedure is also used
for removing it from carpeting, which would apply to your
deeply-textured fabric:


How to remove Silly Putty® & Clay from fabric:

- Dull knife or metal spoon
- WD-40® (car part lubricant)
- Liquid dishwashing detergent
- Cotton balls
- Rubbing alcohol
- Soft cloth or sponge

"Scrape off excess Silly Putty or clay with a dull-edge
 knife or metal spoon. Spray with WD-40 and let stand a
 few minutes. Scrape excess Silly Putty or clay with
 dull-edge knife or metal spoon. Respray with WD-40 and
 wipe off stain with cotton balls. If any stain remains,
 saturate a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol, blot the
 stain and rinse. Wipe any remaining residue or remaining
 stain with a damp sponge or cloth moistened with liquid
 dishwashing detergent."


You can obtain the procedures for removing any number of 
substances from any number of surfaces from this starting

Crayola acquired the rights to Silly Putty in 1977.
The Silly Putty site is an enjoyable place for kids
and adults alike:

I was aware of the answer to this question, since I recently
obtained my degree from Silly Putty University, on this page:

Please do not rate this answer until you are satisfied that  
the answer cannot be improved upon by way of a dialog  
established through the "Request for Clarification" process. 
A user's guide on this topic is on skermit-ga's site, here: 

Request for Answer Clarification by k_blank2004-ga on 04 May 2004 16:49 PDT
I asked an upholstry cleaner about your proposed answer, and he was
horrified by the idea of using WD-40 on a chair cushion fabric.  Isn't
WD-40 very oily/greasy --- I would think it would do more damage
staining the fabric then help?

Clarification of Answer by sublime1-ga on 04 May 2004 18:32 PDT
Hi k_blank...

Your Request for Clarification has me wondering if the 
Silly Putty is still embedded in your chair! Time is
not on your side in this matter. Silly Putty just sinks
deeper into a fabric over time.

As noted in the comment by joshinfo-ga, the key here is
that you need a solvent to dissolve the chemical makeup
of the Silly Putty. WD-40® does the trick here, and the
rubbing alcohol thins out the WD-40® for easier removal.
The dishwashing liquid emulsifies the remaining oily
residue from the WD-40®, and water will remove the
remains of the dishwashing liquid.

WD-40® is not oily or greasy in the sense of being thick
and viscuous. In fact, its crowning glory is its use as
a penetrating oil, used to find its way deep into the
surface of nuts and bolts that are rusted together.
This ability to permeate the smallest surfaces arises
from the fact that it is the thinnest possible kind of
oil that can be made. So, unlike heavier oils, it is 
not suitable for long-term heavy-duty lubrication of
things like a bicycle chain. It's simply to thin to last.

WD-40® is a clear liquid, so in and of itself, it won't
add color to the fabric. The biggest concern would be
that the dye in the fabric might be susceptible to
thinning by the WD-40®, the alcohol, or even the 
dishwashing liquid and water. For this reason, 
joshinfo-ga's suggestion of trying it on a hidden
portion of the chair is wise. However, if it comes to
a choice between a lightened section of fabric or a
glob of Silly Putty, I would go for the former. If
the fabric does become lightened with the cleaning,
you can very likely darken it without too much
difficulty, using any number of coloring options.

If called upon to clean your chair, trust me, the 
upholstery cleaner would be forced to use a similar
solvent to dissolve the Silly Putty. It would
probably be more expensive, more toxic, and require
'professional' application. Something like 
trichlorofluoroethane, perhaps, which is used in
dry cleaning.

I suspect that your upholstery cleaner is shocked,
moreso, at the fact that a non-professional remedy
is available that precludes the need for his own
expensive services.

I would also find it hard to believe that Crayola,
who now manufactures the product, would recommend
a remedy which has not proven successful time and
again for a vast majority of users, as a readily
available and *timely* option to the services of 
a professional upholstery cleaner.

Best regards...

Subject: Re: How To Remove Silly Putty From Fabric?
From: pinkfreud-ga on 18 Apr 2004 09:28 PDT
Have you tried using WD-40, and blotting with a paper towel? This
worked for me when I acquired a blob of Silly Putty on a corduroy
Subject: Re: How To Remove Silly Putty From Fabric?
From: joshinfo-ga on 04 May 2004 16:59 PDT
Here are some details for removing gum from fabric, which seems like
it might have the same issues as silly putty:

I think the user tips for this topic might be even more useful:

It seems the constant in the suggestions is dabbing on some sort of
solvent. You might try it on a non-obvious section of the chair first.
 good luck!

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