A hike through the woods in the 1940s helped create one of today's most frequently used products. George de Mestral observed how well the hooks of the cocklebur stuck to his clothes and the idea VELCRO, a hook and loop system of fasteners, was born.
The idea took off and soon other manufacturers were making hook and loop fasteners that consist of two materials—one side with hooks or the rough, scratchy side, one side with loops or the soft fuzzy side—that when closed together create a strong bond but one that can be pulled apart later. While hook and loop fasteners are available with an adhesive backing for use on hard surfaces, most applications on clothing and accessories are sewn on.
Unfortunately, lint, debris, and dirt can get caught in the fasteners causing them to lose their grip and leaving them looking messy. Luckily, the fasteners can be cleaned and restored using just a few supplies.
How Often to Clean Hoop and Loop Fasteners
There is no rule about how often to clean the fasteners but regular cleaning will prevent issues. Because most hook and loop fasteners are made from nylon, they are magnets for lint, hair, and dust. It's time to pay them some attention when they become soiled or no longer hold together well.
Equipment / Tools
- Fine-toothed comb
- Tape dispenser
- Small bowl
- Microfiber cloths
- Packing tape
- Lint roller
- Enzyme-based stain remover
- Laundry detergent
- Oxygen-based bleach
How to Remove Lint From VELCRO Fasteners
Remove Lint With a Toothbrush
A stiff-bristled toothbrush or a small detail scrub brush like the one from Cloth+Bristle works well to remove lint that is trapped in the fibers. Working on a flat surface, use short, swift strokes with the toothbrush to lift out the lint and debris. Work from one end of the fastener to the other lifting away loose lint with your fingers. Be sure to clean both the hook and loop sides of the fastener.
Use a Lint Roller
A good sticky lint roller will often pull out the debris. Lay the hook and loop fastener on a flat surface and work from one end to the next. Be sure to roll over both sides several times changing the lint roller surface as needed.
Grab Some Sticky Tape
If you don't have a lint roller, a piece of sticky packing or duct tape wrapped around your hand will also remove debris from the fastener. Keep moving to a clean area of the tape as lint is transferred.
Use the Tape Dispenser Cutting Edge
While you have the tape out, the saw-tooth cutting edge also does a great job in scraping out lint. Turn the dispenser so that you can use the edge in short, swift strokes to lift out the debris. Grab the loosened lint with your fingers or a bit of sticky tape.
Tweeze Away Lint
It takes some patience, but you can remove lint with a pair of flat or angled-tipped tweezers. Work from one end to the other and tweeze both surfaces of the fastener.
Comb Out Lint
A fine-toothed comb can be used just like a toothbrush to remove the lint. Working on a flat surface makes the task easier.
Use Another Fastener to Clean the Hook Side
If the hook (scratchy side) side is filled with lint, rub it with another hooked piece to loosen the debris. This works well if you are in a hurry. Later, you can give each piece a more thorough cleaning.
How to Wash and Remove Stains From VELCRO on Washable Garments
Remove the Lint
Use one of the methods to remove lint and debris from the hook and loop fastener.
Pretreat the Stained Fastener
Pretreat heavily-stained fasteners on washable garments with a dab of an enzyme-based stain remover or a bit of laundry detergent before washing. Work in the stain remover with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush. Allow the stain remover to work for at least 10 minutes to break apart the stain before washing the garment.
Whiten Dingy Fasteners
If white fasteners are looking dingy, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach and warm water following the guidelines on the product package. Submerge the entire garment and allow it to soak for at least eight hours. The oxygen bleach will not harm the fabric or the nylon-fiber fasteners.
Wash as Usual
Close the fasteners and follow the care label instructions when washing the garment.
How to Clean and Remove Stains From VELCRO on Non-washable Items
Remove Debris From the Fastener
Use one of the recommended methods to remove lint from both sides of the fastener.
Mix a Cleaning Solution
In a small bowl, combine one cup of very warm water and a few drops of laundry detergent.
Scrub With Toothbrush
Dip a stiff-bristled toothbrush into the cleaning solution and carefully scrub both sides of the hook and loop fastener. Try not to over-saturate the area with water and keep a microfiber cloth handy to catch drips.
Rinse With a Damp Cloth
Dip a microfiber cloth (lint-free) in fresh water and wring until slightly damp. Rinse the fasteners by wiping them with the cloth.
Leaving the fastener open, allow the area to air-dry.
Tips to Keep VELCRO Clean
- Always close the fasteners completely when not in use to prevent them from collecting debris.
- Close the fasteners before tossing them into the laundry hamper or the washer to prevent unwanted snags and lint.
- Spray clean fasteners with a bit of anti-static spray to help repel lint.
- Clean unwanted lint and debris from the fastener at least monthly.