How to Remove Glow Stick Stains From Clothes, Carpet, and Upholstery

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

Stain Type Dye-based 
Detergent Type Oxygen-based bleach
Water Temperature  Cold 

Project Metrics

  • Working Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 9 hours

Before You Begin

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.

What You'll Need

Supplies

Tools

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

How to Remove Glow Stick Stains From Clothes

  1. Flush the Stain With Water

    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. Be aware that the inner capsule of the glow stick may leave small glass shards in the fabric.

  2. Soak the Stain in Oxygen-Based Bleach

The stain should be allowed to 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. Completely submerge the stained fabric in the solution. Repeat as necessary. This cleaning solution is safe to use on all washable fabrics, white and colored except for silk, wool, and anything trimmed with leather.

How to Remove Glow Stick Stains From 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.

Cleaning Silk or Vintage Fabric

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

What You'll Need

Supplies

Tools

  • Paper towels
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Vacuum
  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.

  2. Apply Liquid Detergent, White Vinegar, and Water Solution

    Mix a solution of one teaspoon liquid 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.

  3. Blot the Area

    Blot away the cleaning solution with a dry white paper towel. Next, dip a clean white cloth into plain cool water and wipe, rinse, and blot the area. It is important to rinse the cloth as you go, the soapy solution can actually attract soil.

  4. Air Dry

Allow the area to air dry away from direct sunlight or heat.

If the dye stain is gone from the garment 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. Once the stain is removed from the carpet, and the area is air drying, block off the area to prevent accidental cuts from the glass. Once completely dry, vacuum well to remove the glass and lift the carpet fibers.