Laundry Tips for Play-Doh

by Barbie Carpenter ; Updated September 28, 2017

Molding and shaping Play-Doh into imagination-inspired creations can get messy. If a Play-Doh session with kids left you with some product clinging to your clothes, fear not. A stain-removing solution can help you erase that Play-Doh, whether it's store bought or a homemade imitation of the popular brand, and extend the life of your clothes.

Let the Play-Doh Dry.

Allow the Play-Doh to harden on your clothes before removing it. Wiping away Play-Doh before it dries can result in residue and stains on the clothes. You can often remove a dried piece of dough in one piece.

Scrape Away the Play-Doh.

Carefully remove the Play-Doh from your clothing using a butter knife or stiff brush. Slide the butter knife underneath the dough to pry it off. Or, gently rub a stiff brush on top of the Play-Doh to eliminate it from your clothes.

Wipe Away Excess Play-Doh.

Use a clean, dry cloth to remove any excess Play-Doh before beginning the washing process. You don't want to toss tiny pieces of dough into your washing machine.

Pretreat the Stain.

Apply your favorite stain-removing solution to the Play-Doh stain according to manufacturer directions. Play-Doh is a simple combination of water, salt and flour, so its colored dye is the most likely offender when it comes to staining clothes. When targeting a homemade play dough stain, food coloring is the likely culprit, and this pretreating can target those stains as well. Let this solution sit on the stain for up to 30 minutes -- although it may only take a few minutes before you start seeing the stain lift from the fabric.


  • If you don't have a stain remover in the laundry room, create your own. Mix 1/4 tablespoon of bleach-free laundry detergent with a quart of water. Use some of this stain-fighting solution on your Play-Doh stains.

Soak the Fabric.

Dilute the Play-Doh stain by soaking the pre-treated clothing in a basin or bucket of cold water for 15 to 30 minutes.


  • Use your washing machine as your soaking basin -- simply fill up the machine with cold water, and stop it from running before the rinse cycle stops. You won't have a bucket or basin to clean using this method.

Toss It in the Wash.

Place your pretreated clothing in the washing machine, and run it on a full cold water cycle to remove any remaining Play-Doh residue.


  • Always check your garment's tag for washing instructions before placing it in the washing machine. Cotton and poly-cotton blends can tolerate the washing machine, but silk or wool should be hand washed instead. For these garments, apply the stain-fighting solution as directed, but then gently soak the clothes in a basin of cold water and laundry detergent to avoid the friction of the washing machine. Then, air dry your silk or wool garment.

Run a Second Cycle if Necessary.

Check the Play-Doh stain after the wash cycle to ensure it was fully removed. If the stain persists, run a second full cold water wash cycle to thoroughly eliminate the Play-Doh.

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About the Author

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.