Velcro, known generically as hook and loop fasteners, is an easy solution to all your fastening problems. This two-part set has two sides that—when pressed together—function as a seal: one side contains tiny hooks and the other is made up of matching tiny loops. When the two sides meet, the hooks grab onto the loops, bonding into a tight seal.
Since life is often messy, Velcro hooks can become clogged with lint, stray hairs and other everyday debris which obstruct the hooks from latching onto the loops. But there's a quick-fix: by cleaning the hook side of this debris, you can restore your Velcro to its original condition.
File Card Method
A file card is a small, flat wooden paddle, not much larger than a hairbrush that has hundreds of fine, strong metal bristles. It is used to clean the grooves of metal files when they become clogged with filing debris. File cards are inexpensive and can be found at most hardware and home improvement stores.
To clean your Velcro with a file card, simply hold one end of the hook portion flat against a table or counter top. Hold the file card in your dominant hand. Beginning with the hand holding the Velcro, scrape away from it using long, even strokes. Take care to work only in one direction, or you'll just embed the debris back in the hooks. If you don't have a file card or don't have time to purchase one, there are several other methods that will work.
Pet Brush Method
A pet brush is basically a smaller, softer version of a file card. It might take a little more time and a bit more effort to clean your Velcro this way (because the bristles are smaller, finer and less stiff than those on a file card), but the technique is the same.
Secure one end of the Velcro's hook side and brush away from your hand using the pet brush. You may have to clean out the pet brush as you go to ensure that the bristles are free of pet hair and able to capture the debris clogging your Velcro. A toothbrush will also work in a pinch, but its bristles are even finer and softer than a pet brush, so they will likely not be as effective.
Needle Nose Pliers Method
Pick all visible lint, hairs and debris out of the hook side of your Velcro with needle nose pliers. Pointy tweezers are another option. Fingernails may also work, if yours are strong and you have the manual dexterity to grip tiny threads. This can be a problem for people with arthritis or other health issues that affect the hands and fine motor skills. In that case, a file card or pet brush is probably your best bet.
Duct Tape Method
Duct tape is far stickier than other types of tape and can be used to pull clogs free of your Velcro. Roll a piece of duct tape loosely around the index and middle fingers of your dominant hand with the sticky side out. Brace the Velcro with your other hand and roll the duct tape in long, even strokes away from your hand. This will take some time and require a firm touch. Change out the duct tape as soon as it becomes covered in debris.
The manufacturer suggests using another piece of the loop side to clean out your Velcro. Brace one end of the clogged loop tape and use a clean piece to comb out the debris. This method will take the longest and require the most effort.
Brynne Chandler built her first bookcase at eight years old, which is also right around the time she started writing. An avid crafter, decorator and do-it-yourselfer, Brynne has remodeled several homes including one cantilevered on a cliff and one that belonged to Olympic swimmer and actor Buster Crabbe. Best known for her EMMY-nominated TV animation writing, she has been writing non-fiction content for almost a decade and has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle online, among other places.