Things You'll Need
Cotton swab/dry rag
Damp, clean cloth
Silly Putty is a silicone-based polymer toy that has remarkable adhesive properties. It is, therefore, a rather tricky job to remove it from materials that it gets stuck to. If you are looking to remove Silly Putty from silicone, it is probably stuck to a cooking pan, a toy or an electrical appliance. Most of the items required to remove the polymer can be found in any household.
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Apply WD-40 on the affected area, spraying a generous amount and covering all of the Silly Putty that is stuck to the silicone. Let the WD-40 sit for 10 to 15 minutes. If WD-40 is unavailable, use Goof Off in a similar fashion. Wear gloves to avoid skin contact.
Scrape the putty lightly using a dull knife to see if the putty comes off. If none of the Silly Putty seems loosened, let the WD-40 remain for a few more minutes.
Remove the residual Silly Putty by dabbing the cotton swab with alcohol and rubbing it over the silicone (by now, there should be only a fine layer of hardened Silly Putty on the silicone surface). Repeat this process a few times to remove all of the putty and obtain a fairly clean surface.
Replace the cotton swab with a dry rag if the silicone surface is too hard (the cotton might be torn apart). Apply alcohol to the dry rag, and rub it over the silicone. Work your hand in a circular motion, and apply the needed force while scrubbing.
Check whether the Silly Putty has left any colored stain over the silicone. If it has, wet a different cotton swab with hot water and soap. Slowly rub the area with the cotton in a circular motion. If you are working with an electrical appliance, be sure to not let the water-soap mixture seep in. Skip this step if there is no visible staining.
Clean the affected area with a damp, clean cloth. WD-40 is a toxic liquid and should not be allowed to remain on items such as cooking pans or toys. Because WD-40 is oily, you might need to use a little soap again to completely remove it.
If the silicone item is battery-operated (e.g., remote control/toy car), remove the batteries first, and then proceed.
Be sure not to use the knife too harshly, as it may damage the silicone base and could result in permanent scratches.
Nail polish removers and hand sanitizers are popular substitutes for WD-40; however, the results are not as promising. The former two will work better with fabrics but not so much with silicone.
Sheharyar Khan has been writing professionally since 2004 with articles appearing in various print and online sources, including Empowered Doctor and Disney's "Family Fun." Khan holds a Bachelor of Science in engineering with a major in textiles from Philadelphia University.