How to Remove Glow Stick Stains From Clothes and Carpet

How to Remove Glow Stick Stains

The Spruce / Hilary Allison

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 9 hrs, 15 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10 to 20

Glow sticks are fun for kids of all ages. But if one happens to break and the liquid spills out onto clothes or carpets, the stain can be difficult to wash out if you do not get to it right away due to the components in the liquid. Most glow sticks contain hydrogen peroxide, phenyl oxalate ester, and a fluorescent dye. The damage begins with the hydrogen peroxide, which is a mild form of bleach that can remove the original color from fabrics, and the fluorescent dyes (usually green, red, or blue) will stain.

The glow sticks are activated by bending the tube to break an inner thin glass capsule and then shaken to combine the chemicals. This is important to note since a glow stick breakage means that the spilled contents may contain shards of glass.

Fortunately, it is possible to remove glow stick stains from clothing, carpet, and upholstery. Make sure you know what type of fabric you're dealing with so you know the steps needed to effectively remove the stain.

Stain Type Dye-based 
Detergent Type Oxygen-based bleach and heavy-duty detergent
Water Temperature  Cold 
Cycle type Varies depending on the type of fabric

Before You Begin

If the garment's care label says dry clean only, immediately blot away the stain with a dry white paper towel. Then blot the stain with a white cloth dipped in plain cool water. Work from the outside edges of the stain toward the center to keep the stain from getting larger. Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth as the dye is transferred. As soon as possible, head to the dry cleaner and point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner.

If the stain is small and you decide to use a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

Remove Glow Stick Stains From Clothes

  • Deep sink, plastic tub or soaking basin
  • Water faucet

Remove Glow Stick Stains From Carpet and Upholstery

  • Paper towels
  • White cloth
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Vacuum

Materials

Remove Glow Stick Stains From Clothes

  • Cold water
  • Oxygen-based bleach
  • Heavy-duty detergent

Remove Glow Stick Stains From Carpet and Upholstery

  • Cold water
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Distilled white vinegar

Instructions

items to remove glow stick stains

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

How to Remove Glow Stick Stains From Clothes

  1. Flush the Stain With Water

    Flush the stain by holding the fabric under a cold water faucet running at full force. Always flush from the wrong side of the fabric to force the glow stick stain out the face of the fibers, especially if the fabric is plush like fake fur.

    Warning

    Be aware that the inner capsule of the glow stick may leave small glass shards in the fabric, so be careful when handling the piece of clothing.

    flushing the glow stick stain

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  2. Soak the Stain in Oxygen-Based Bleach

    Let the stain soak overnight in a solution of cool water and oxygen-based bleach (like OxiClean, Nellie's All-Natural Oxygen Brightener or OXO Brite).

    • Fill a deep sink or plastic tub with cool water and add the amount of oxygen bleach suggested on the package.
    • Submerge the stained fabric completely in the solution. This cleaning solution is safe to use on all washable fabrics, white and colored except for silk, wool, and anything trimmed with leather.

    If the dye is still visible, mix a fresh solution and repeat the soaking process.

    Warning

    Do not use this cleaning solution of oxygen-based bleach and water on silk, wool, and anything trimmed with leather.

    soaking the stained garment in oxygen bleach

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  3. Wash as Usual

    Wash the fabric as recommended on the care label using a heavy-duty laundry detergent.

    laundering the garment as usual

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

How to Remove Glow Stick Stains on Carpet or Upholstery

If a glow stick breaks above a carpet, be careful of the tiny shards of glass that might have been caught up in the fibers.  

The same cleaning solutions and steps recommended for carpet should be used to clean glow stick stains from upholstery. Take care not to over-wet the fabric with the cleaning solutions because that can cause moisture problems in the cushion filling.

Before cleaning any furniture, always follow the manufacturer's care label on cleaning upholstery. This tag can be found under the sofa cushions or fabric skirt with letter codes that indicate how to clean the furniture.

Tip

If the upholstery is vintage or silk, blot away the initial moisture and then contact an upholstery cleaning specialist.

materials to remove glow stick stains from carpet

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  1. Blot Away the Glow Stick Liquid

    Immediately blot up as much of the moisture as possible with a paper towel. Work from the outside of the stain toward the center to keep it from spreading and getting larger.

    blotting away glow stick stain

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  2. Vacuum Away Glass Shards

    Vacuum the stained area to remove any glass shards before treating the stain.

    vacuuming away any shards

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  3. Mix Cleaning Solution

    • Mix a solution of one teaspoon liquid hand dishwashing detergent, one-fourth cup distilled white vinegar, and one cup of cool water.
    • Dip a soft-bristled brush into the solution and work it into the stained area.
    using a cleaning solution to get the stain out

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  4. Blot the Area

    • Blot away the cleaning solution with a dry white paper towel.
    • Dip a clean white cloth into plain cool water and wipe, rinse, and blot the area.

    Warning

    Rinse the cloth well as you go, as leaving any residue of the soapy solution in the carpet will attract soil.

    blotting the stain with a white cloth

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  5. Air-Dry and Vacuum

    • Allow the area to air-dry away from direct sunlight or heat.
    • Vacuum well to lift the carpet fibers.
    letting the area air dry

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Additional Tips for Handling Glow Stick Stains

The biggest trick to getting rid of stains from glow sticks on clothing, carpet, and upholstery is to tackle the spot as soon as possible, or it can become a permanent fixture. If you try the at-home processes above and still see a stain, then check with a professional cleaner to have them try to remove it.