Let’s cut right to the chase, because you’re probably in the middle of a minor crisis. To remove slime from carpet, pull up as much as you can using the slime itself, use an ice cube to solidify what’s left, scrape it up, and then scrub the area with a vinegar solution.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s take a deeper look at slime and how to keep it from destroying your carpet.
Table of Contents:
I. All About Slime
What is slime, exactly? It’s a non-Newtonian polymer substance. In other words, It’s a gooey mixture that sometimes acts like a liquid (you can pour it out of a container) and sometimes like a solid (try tapping it firmly).
Slime comes in many forms. It can be clear and jelly-like or fluffy and foamy. It can be any color you can imagine, and may contain mix-ins like Styrofoam pellets, sparkles, scents, or glow-in-the-dark chemicals.
You can buy slime in stores, but part of the fun is making it yourself. If you don’t know how, your kids can direct you to a million YouTube tutorials.
Recipes vary, but usually incorporate some of the following: borax, white glue, corn starch, laundry detergent, contact solution, shaving cream, and shampoo, plus add-ins like food coloring and glitter.
Who wouldn’t love a gooey, shapable substance that flows and stretches, but (usually) doesn’t stick to hands?
Anyone who’s left cleaning slime from the carpet; that’s who.
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II. Cleaning Up Slime
Despite the best of intentions (“I won’t drop it! I’m being careful!”), slime is bound to fall on the floor at some point—and worse, get stepped on. But it doesn’t have to be a disaster when it does.
In general, you’ll want to remove as much as possible in one piece, loosen the rest, scrape or scrub it, and treat any remaining residue or color.
- a) Glob it up. First, take advantage of the fact that slime likes to stick to itself. Use a larger blob of slime to pick up as much as you can by patting the mess gently.
- b) Ice it.Ice cubes can cause the slime to harden, making it easier to remove. Once it’s nice and cold, you may even be able to pick up more of it with the slime ball.
- c) Scrape up the excess.You can use a butter knife or other dull tool to remove as much of the remaining slime as you can.
- d) Spray it.If there’s still slime attached to the carpet fibers, it’s time to loosen it with a cleaning substance. Our favorite is a simple solution of vinegar and water, but we’ll explore several later.
- e) Brush it.Get remaining slime particles out with a cleaning brush or toothbrush. A scrubbing sponge can work, too.
- f) Treat any stains.Use carpet cleaner or an alternative to handle remaining color.
This basic process can work with other sticky substances, too, such as gum.
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III. Selecting Substances
In an article for HGTV, writer Beth Braden evaluated several methods for removing slime from carpet. Here’s what we can learn from her experience:
- a. Ice cubes. Freezing the slime—especially when it’s a fresh spill—worked well, making it easy to scrape up the slime and vacuum it clean. That’s why it’s one of the first steps in our recommended process.
- b. Carpet cleaner. Using the cleaner according to package directions, along with a scouring sponge, left some color residue but prepared the rest of the slime to be lifted by the vacuum.
- c. Club soda. Spraying the spill with club soda and blotting with a cloth didn’t completely remove the slime, but using the scouring sponge did.
- d. WD-40. While this popular product helped to remove the slime, it also left a smell and oily residue.<
- e. Goo Gone. Despite the name, Goo Gone underperformed in tests, failing to remove all of the slime and leaving an oily spot.
- f. Baking soda and vinegar. Sprinkling baking soda then spraying with vinegar seemed to slightly discolor the carpet, leaving it lighter.
- g. Vinegar and water. Spraying one part warm water and two parts vinegar, then using a soft brush, worked quickly. The remaining tint disappeared after the spot dried and was vacuumed.
- h. Dish soap. A solution of dish soap in water, sprayed on the spot, worked as well as vinegar or ice, but it created suds that had to be cleaned up.
Count yourself lucky that you don’t have to test all these substances yourself. If you want to give it a try, though—or have your kids use it as a science experiment—use carpet scraps or samples from a flooring store.
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IV. Avoid the Mess
Now that you know how to clean up after a mishap, let’s talk about how to prevent those mishaps in the first place.
First, designate a place for playing with slime. This might be the kitchen table or a spot on the floor of an uncarpeted room. Or try the bathtub!
Next, prepare the area. Use a play mat, a garbage bag, a baking mat, or any other non-stick covering. You can also use newspaper or paper towels in a pinch, but they may absorb some of the liquid from the slime, potentially changing the texture or making it harder to scoop up.
Make sure that slime is stored properly when not in use. Ziplock bags or Tupperware containers will keep the slime under control, and the tight seal will keep the substance from drying out.
While colorful slime is fun for kids, that color can also be the biggest challenge in getting spills out of your carpet. When making slime at home, consider skipping the food dye and embracing the light color. You can call it snow slime (perhaps adding glitter, if you want to tempt fate with a different mess-prone product), or pick a fluffy recipe and call it marshmallow slime.
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V. Don’t Give Up
Cleaning any substance out of the carpet is a headache, but now you know that slime is a very manageable spill. You could always ban it in your home, but consider letting your children participate in this fun trend.
It offers a variety of sensory experiences and a chance to learn some science. Discuss the differences between liquids and solids, or experiment by varying the ratios in your recipe to see how the final product changes.
With a game plan for spills, playing with slime can be a great family activity.