Removing Glow Stick Stains from Clothes and Carpet

Glow sticks
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Glow sticks are fun for kids of all ages. But what happens if one happens to break and the liquid spills out onto clothes or linens? 

A basic glow stick or necklace is a transparent plastic tube containing isolated chemicals that when combined produce a chemical reaction that causes the chemicals to glow. The glow sticks are activated by bending the tube to break an inner thin glass capsule and then shaken to combine the chemicals. The glowing chemical reaction is called chemiluminescence.

Most glow sticks contain hydrogen peroxide, phenyl oxalate ester, and a fluorescent dye. The chemicals can cause problems if the outer plastic tube is punctured and the chemicals spill on fabrics. Hydrogen peroxide is a mild form of bleach that can remove the original color from the fabric and the fluorescent dyes (usually green, red or blue) will stain.

How to Remove Glow Stick Stains From Washable Clothes

When a glow stick breaks and a spill occurs, flush the stained fabric with cold water as soon as possible. Be careful to check for small shards of glass from the inner capsule. To flush the stain, hold the fabric under a cold water faucet running at full force. 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 a fake fur.

The stain should be allowed to soak overnight in a solution of cool water and oxygen-based bleach (brand names are: 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. Completely submerge the stained fabric 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 stain is gone after soaking, wash as recommended on the fabric care tag. If the stain remains, mix a new solution of oxygen bleach and water and repeat another overnight soak.

How to Remove Glow Stick Stains From Dry Clean Only Clothes

If the garment is labeled as dry clean only, immediately blot away any 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 any 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.

How to Remove Glow Stick Stains From Carpet

If a glow stick breaks into the carpet, be extremely careful because there will be tiny shards of glass in the fibers. 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. 

After blotting, mix a solution of one teaspoon liquid dishwashing detergent, 1/4 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. Blot away the cleaning solution with a dry white paper towel. Next, dip a clean white cloth into plain cool water and "rinse" the area. It is important to rinse because the soapy solution can actually attract soil.

Allow the area to air dry away from direct sunlight or heat. Block off the area to prevent accidental cuts from the glass. When the area is dry, vacuum well to remove the glass and lift the carpet fibers.

How to Remove Glow Stick Stains From Upholstery

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. 

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