Flarp… kids love it, grown-ups hate it. This slimy, sticky dough might be all kinds of fun to play with, but the laughter will soon turn to tears if it gets stuck to your carpet. Made from a silicone polymer, flarp sticks aggressively to carpet fibers, making removal a major upheaval. But does it need to be as difficult as it seems? In a word, no. With the right techniques, the right products, and just the slightest amount of elbow grease, flarp can be removed easily, swiftly, and a lot less painfully than you think. Here’s exactly what you need to know about how to get flarp out of your carpet.
What is Flarp?
Before we get into the do’s and dont’s of removing flarp from your carpet, a quick heads up about what flarp actually is. In its commercial form, flarp (or silly putty, as it’s more commonly known) is a product created by Crayola aimed at children (although there’s nothing in the instruction manual to say adults can’t have some fun with it too). Designed to inspire creativity by getting kids to model and create different shapes and forms from the malleable putty, it’s long been a favorite with the pre-teen brigade.
Unlike other putties that can easily break apart, the high-quality silicone polymer that goes into flarp makes it remarkably hard-wearing. Unfortunately, its ingredients do more than just make it durable. They make it stubborn. Its adhesive qualities make it stick hard and fast to anything it comes into contact with. Clothing, furniture, and, of course, carpets, hate and despite flarp with a passion. And rightly so. Not only does it stick to them, but it also leaves a nasty stain when it finally gets torn away.
Fortunately, and as we’ll now see, there are several methods you can use to ensure your kid’s fun doesn’t end up bringing you to tears.
Step 1: Freeze the Flarp
The first step in your flarp attack involves an ice cube. Take a cube and rub it against the flarp until the flarp turns hard. Once it does, take the advice of Hunker (www.hunker.com/12001495/how-to-clean-flarp-out-of-carpet) and use a butter knife and your fingers to gentle pick the hardened flarp away from the carpet fibers. If it’s being particularly stubborn, or if your carpet has a particularly deep pile, use a pair of tweezers to pluck it away. If the flarp begins to soften as you’re working, grab a fresh ice cube and give it another rub. Once you’ve removed as much of the flarp as you can, rinse the residue away with a cloth and some cool water. Blot up the excess water with a rag then survey. If it was a particularly gentle kind of flarp, your work might be done. If it wasn’t, move onto the next step.
Step 2: Bring on the Alcohol
The next stage in the process involves alcohol. Before you get too excited, it’s rubbing alcohol and it’s intended for your carpet, not you. Take a cotton ball and saturate it with the alcohol (if you’re all out of rubbing alcohol, white distilled vinegar or even vodka will do the job just as well. Suggesthow.com also makes the valid suggestion of using an adhesive remover spray). Gently blot the cotton ball against the stain, refreshing the ball each time it becomes soiled. Keep going until the cotton ball comes away clean. If your carpet is made from a delicate fiber or is particularly precious, you might want to do as showhomestyle.com suggests and test out the method on a small spot before moving on to the wider stain. If the test spot ends up looking worse when you finish than it did when you started, you might want to consider calling in professional cleaners rather than continuing with the DIY approach.
Step 3: Flush Away
Once you’ve finished removing as much of the stain as possible with alcohol, soak a rag with cool water before using it to gently rub at any lingering hint of flarp. Use a white cloth to prevent any of its dye from leaking into the carpet. As you rub, be gentle: rubbing too vigorously might make matters worse by pushing the flarp residue deeper into the pile. Once you’ve flushed away the last remnants of putty, take a dry rag and use it to soak up any excess water. Now, it’s a waiting game. Leave the carpet to air dry. Once it’s completely dry, assess how it looks. If there’s no stain or trace of flarp remaining, give yourself a high five and take a well-deserved break. If there’s still a trace of a stain, brace yourself for one last push before moving onto the fourth and final step.
Step 4: The Solvent Solution
If no amount of rubbing alcohol, water, cotton balls, and sweat has managed to get rid of the flarp completely, then it’s time to bring out the big guns. For this next step, you’re going to need an oil-based solvent. If you haven’t got one hanging around the house, you’ll need to go out and buy one: usually, you can switch one cleaning product easily enough for another, but this time, it’s an oil-based solvent or nothing. Once you’ve found/ bought/ borrowed the solvent, spray it directly onto the carpet. As per the previous advice, be sure to test it on a small spot first to see if there’s any adverse reaction. If there is, put the spray down and call in a professional. It may cost you more in the short term, but it’ll be a lot cheaper than replacing the entire carpet in the long run. If nothing untoward happens to the test spot, douse the entire stain liberally with the solution. Wait 5 minutes. This may be a good time to say a little prayer. Once the 5 minutes have passed, take a wet rag and rub the areas gently, being careful not to apply so much pressure that you push the remnants further into the carpet fibers. Repeat the process until the stain has been completely removed. Blot any excess liquid with a clean cloth to finish. And that, in a nutshell, is how to get flarp out of your carpet.