Silly Putty can seem impenetrable once it's found its way into the tiny fibers of your best blankets, upholstered furniture, clothing or hair. However, even once it has made its home in a comfy throw or other soft material, you can remove it without causing damage to the area if you use the right tools and proper techniques. Don't fret. Get to work and that slick of Silly Putty will quickly be gone.
What Is Silly Putty?
Originally created to assist troops as a potential rubber substitute in the 1940s, the pliable toy is more than a distraction for children. The bouncy silicone polymers can flow like a liquid or break when pushed or pulled to the limit. There is a viscoelastic liquid within the formula. This allows it to be malleable, but this is also what makes it difficult to remove from thick fibers on upholstered furniture, bedding and car seats, among other fabric surfaces. In fact, Silly Putty will puddle on any surface it happens to be left on. The longer the viscoelastic liquid is manipulated, pulled and otherwise played with, the more elastic it becomes. This is the point at which it tends to lose its sturdy shape and become long and loose. This can also be the point when the player has become bored with the silly substance and leaves it forgotten somewhere. If the "somewhere" is a bed, Silly Putty can get tied up in layers of bedding or clump into hair and be a difficult problem to face when the sun rises.
How to Remove Silly Putty
Removing Silly Putty from a blanket or bedding starts with a sharp object and ends with a soft touch.
If the putty has puddled into a fully intact form, it can be gently removed with the edge of a knife. Start on the narrowest area to gently lift the disc of Silly Putty from the fiber. You can ice the area before starting to make the Silly Putty hard and therefore easier to remove in one piece. Once you begin to separate the Silly Putty from the blanket or other item, it will get easier to lift and remove the substance from the fibers.
Be gentle as you move along in order to keep from tearing the fabric. Once removed, gently wash the area with a solution of warm water and a drop of dishwashing liquid. If the Silly Putty has left a stain behind, dab at the area with rubbing alcohol. Always test the fabric before using any cleaner so that you don't make the stain worse. Move from the outside perimeter of the stain toward the center to fully lift it from the fibers.
Silly Putty Stains That Are Persistent
If the Silly Putty has found a solid purchase in many areas of a blanket or clumps of hair, it will take a bit more time and effort. It will also probably take a few tries with different methods to fully remove it. Spray the areas with WD-40. The oil in the automotive spray will release the Silly Putty's chemical hold on the fibers of the blanket or other fabric piece. Dousing the affected area in hot water will make it melt from the fibers, although this can also make it spread.