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.
|Detergent Type||Oxygen-based bleach and heavy-duty detergent|
Equipment / Tools
- Deep sink, plastic tub or soaking basin
- Water faucet
Carpet and Upholstery
- Paper towels
- Soft-bristled brush
- Cold water
- Oxygen-based bleach
- Heavy-duty detergent
Carpet and Upholstery
- Cold water
- Dishwashing liquid
- Distilled white vinegar
Before You Begin
If the garment is labeled as 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.
How to Remove Glow Stick Stains From Clothes
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.
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. 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.
Wash as Usual
Wash the fabric as recommended on the care label using a heavy-duty laundry detergent.
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.
If the upholstery is vintage or silk, blot away the initial moisture and then contact an upholstery cleaning specialist.
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.
Vacuum Away Glass Shards
After carefully blotting away the liquid dye, vacuum the stained area to remove any glass shards before treating the stain.
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.
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, leaving the soapy solution in the carpet will attract soil.
Allow the area to air-dry away from direct sunlight or heat. Vacuum well to lift the carpet fibers.