Does Oobleck Stain?

When your little ones play with Oobleck, you can be sure that things will get a little messy. After all, it is a sensory experience, so the more they play with it, the more they learn. And let’s face it, half the fun of playing with Oobleck is to go crazy with it! Plain Oobleck can be messy enough, but what if your toddler wants to add some food coloring to the stuff? What if they get the colored Oobleck all over the place? Will the Oobleck stain your house and, even worse, your child’s skin and clothes?

Plain Oobleck can be cleaned with warm water without leaving stains. On the other hand, Oobleck that has been colored can stain your skin, clothes, carpets, and even your walls. It all depends on what type of food coloring you used and how much was mixed into the Oobleck.

While your kids are having the time of their lives, without a care in the world, you are watching in horror as the fun gets spread over everything. It’s everywhere! Well, good news, you don’t need to stress anymore because you have come to the right place. This article will discuss how and why Oobleck stains and what you can do to repair the damage.

Why Does Oobleck Stain?

Children love adding colors to their Oobleck. It makes beautiful patterns as they blend the colors, and it makes the whole experience for them even more enjoyable.

When colored Oobleck comes into contact with carpets or clothing, the colors seep into the fibers, making them difficult to remove. Especially if your carpet or clothing is a light color, it acts almost like a dye when it gets onto your skin, and it does not seem to come off when you try to wash it with soap and water.

The severity of the stain depends on;

  • What type of food coloring did you use to color the Oobleck?
  • How wet was the Oobleck?
  • How much color was added?

How Do You Remove The Stains?

There are two methods you can try to get rid of the Oobleck stain;

  1. The Dry Method
  2. The Wet Method

The Dry Method

This method is used when the Oobleck has no color added to it. If it falls onto the floor or gets into your carpet, all you need to do is remove as much of the wet Oobleck as you can and leave the rest to dry out completely.

Once it has dried, it will return to a fine powdery state (cornstarch), and all you need to do is vacuum it up.

The Wet Method

This method is used when Oobleck contains food coloring. Firstly, do not use a wet vacuum cleaner. Oobleck can clog up a wet vacuum cleaner, so instead of causing more damage, I recommend that you use vinegar and warm water to clean up the stain.

You will need;

  • ½ Cup white vinegar
  • ½ Cup warm water
  • A spray bottle
  • A soft-bristle brush
  • Towel (preferably an old one you don’t use anymore)
  • Vacuum cleaner

Method

  1. Pour the vinegar and water into the spray bottle and shake it gently until mixed.
  2. Spray the solution directly onto the stain and massage it in using a soft-bristle brush (the brush loosens up the fibers without damaging the carpet or other stained area.)
  3. Spray a sufficient amount of the solution onto the towel and use it to blot away the Oobleck stain.
  4. Continue blotting until the stain has transferred to the towel.
  5. Leave the area to air-dry.
  6. While it dries, clean the brush and place it in the sun to dry (you will need to use it again).
  7. Once the area is completely dry, use your brush once again to loosen any remaining fibers.
  8. Finally, use your vacuum cleaner to remove the dry Oobleck.

*If the stain is not 100% clean, use a dry-cleaning solvent on the stain.

If the stain was too severe and you have tried both dry and wet methods, it might be time to surrender and call a professional carpet cleaner.

How To Remove Oobleck Stains From Your Skin And Clothing

If your kids are playing with colored Oobleck, the chances are good that it could stain their hands and their clothes. But no need to worry because there are ways to make the stains disappear.

Removing Oobleck Stains From Skin

You will need;

  • Paper towels, baby wipes, or an old cloth
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • A bucket

Method

  1. Remove as much of the Oobleck as possible before you start.
  2. Pour the vinegar into the bowl and immerse the towel in the vinegar.
  3. Rub the cloth over the stained skin.
  4. Rinse the cloth and repeat.
  5. If some of the stains remain, rinse the vinegar off, mix the baking soda and water into a paste, and dab and rub it gently on the skin.
  6. Rinse off the baking soda paste and dab the stain with the vinegar again.

Now the stain should be gone.

Other options to try include;

  • White toothpaste
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Hydrogen peroxide

Removing Oobleck Stains From Clothing

You will need;

  • Lukewarm water
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Ammonia (Handy Andy)
  • 2 x 5Lt Buckets
  • White vinegar

Method

  1. Remove as much of the Oobleck as possible before you start.
  2. Fill the bucket with lukewarm water.
  3. Add three teaspoons of dishwashing liquid and two tablespoons of ammonia to the water.
  4. Soak the stained clothing in the water for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Loosen the stain by gently rubbing the stain from the back.
  6. Soak the clothing for a further 15 minutes.
  7. Fill the second bucket with lukewarm water and add five tablespoons of vinegar.
  8. Transfer the clothing from the first bucket to the second bucket and let it soak for +/- 30 minutes.

*If the stain is very tough to remove, place the clothing in a washing machine and add some oxygen bleach to it. The stain should be gone after the cycle has ended.

How To Prevent Stains

  • The best solution is to leave out the color altogether and add some sensory items to the Oobleck instead. Place toys and any small objects in the Oobleck for them to find and to guess what they are.
  • Have utensils ready for the children to use such as, spoons, blunt knives, cups, and even forks (nothing that can cut or hurt them)
  • Place various colors of glitter on the table to add to their Oobleck; it is just as much fun for them, and it won’t stain anything.
  • Have a large bowl of water handy for the kids to rinse their hands now and again. This will help to control the mess.
  • Instead of using food coloring that can leave stains, use washable liquid watercolors to add to your Oobleck instead. This type of coloring won’t stain their hands or their clothes.
  • Cover the entire working surface with newspapers.

Conclusion

We can’t stop kids from having fun, and nobody can stand in the way of a child and his Oobleck! So instead of worrying whether or not it will stain everything (including your child), use these genius tips to put your mind at ease.

As we all know, prevention is better than cure, so try ways that are still fun, but a little less on the messy side.

References

(5) How do you clean up oobleck? – Quora

How To Get Oobleck Out Of Carpet (Step-by-Step Guide)

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