CB21-037 - how to remove glitter from fabric or skin

How to Remove Glitter from Fabric or Skin

How do you remove glitter from fabric or skin?

Remove glitter from fabric or skin with natural oil, alcohol, or tape. While some methods work best on skin or fabric, tape works best for both. 

From school projects to special holidays glitter is a big part of crafting. No matter the reason the tiny confetti made it into your home, using glitter means it’s gotten stuck on your skin.

If you’ve had glitter stuck everywhere, knowing more than one way to clean it is helpful. Different options mean you’ll always know how to remove glitter no matter where it gets stuck. 

Keep reading for more ways to remove glitter from more places than you could imagine. 

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Why is glitter so hard to remove?

Glitter is so hard to remove because it attracts positively charged objects. It especially loves the moisture on your skin. The tiny pieces love flat surfaces and the air around it works to flatten it even more.  

A little science will give you theories on why glitter is so hard to remove. Between electricity, air viscosity, and surface tension your skin and clothes don’t stand a chance.

To start, glitter is negatively charged so when it comes into contact with your positively charged stuff it attracts like a magnet. On top of that, your skin is the ultimate magnet for glitter. The moisture on your skin is positively and negatively charged making glitter very attracted to you. 

To make the situation even stickier if glitter lands on a flat surface it pushes the air from underneath and the air around it pushes down. Air viscosity makes it hard to pick up once it does land somewhere. 

No matter where glitter lands theoretically you don’t stand a chance.

So the next time someone says you’re obsessed with glitter, tell them the relationship is mutual. Glitter is just as attracted to you as you are to it.

How do you remove glitter from fabric?

To remove glitter from washable fabrics you can use hairspray. After spraying your clothes, wash them to remove the glitter.

Washing fabrics with glitter may cause the glitter to stick to other clothes. Spraying your clothes with hairspray ensures the glitter won’t stick to other fabrics. When you wash your clothes after using hairspray the glitter will wash away. 

After washing clothes covered in glitter you may need to wipe down your washer to get the glitter out. Use a disposable paper towel, so you can toss the glitter out. Otherwise, you’ll start the process of removing glitter all over again.

If you have fabrics that aren’t washable you may have to try other methods. Here are some ways to remove glitter from fabric.

1. Tape

Tape clings to glitter and allows you to toss it into the trash. To remove glitter using tape:

  1. Lay clothes or fabric on a flat surface
  2. Place the tape sticky side down over the glitter
  3. Press down on the tape (the glitter will stick as you do this)
  4. Peel the tape away gently and repeat with new tape

This method works best when you have a small area of glitter that needs to be removed. Masking tape works better as more sticky tapes like duct tape can damage certain fabrics if it clings on too tight. 

2. Lint Roller

A lint roller works similarly to tape. In fact, most lint rollers are big round pieces of tape you peel away after each use. A lint roller is easier to use than tape if you have glitter over an entire shirt.

  1. Peel back the lint roller
  2. Move the lint roller up and down your fabric
  3. For stubborn pieces move the roller left and right as you go up and down the fabric
  4. Repeat with a clean sheet until all glitter is gone

Lint rollers are simple to use, however they don’t work on all fabrics. Glitter may get caught deeper in fluffy fleece making the hairspray and wash method more effective. 

3. Wet paper towel

While some of these methods work for small areas, furniture and carpet is a different story. You may find yourself wondering how to get glitter off your couch? 

To get glitter off your couch use a wet paper towel to wipe down the glitter into a pile and then vacuum it away. 

  1. Wet a paper towel
  2. Use the paper towel to sweep the glitter into one place
  3. Use a vacuum with a hose to suck up the pile

The pros of this method are it’s simple and doesn’t use any chemicals. It won’t harm the fabric on your couch or upholstery. However, using a paper towel may leave a few pieces left behind. You’ll really need to put in some elbow grease if the glitter has been stuck on for a while. 

4. A Balloon

Remember how glitter is negatively charged? Well, you can use that to your advantage and use a balloon’s electricity to pick up the pieces. 

  1. Blow up a balloon
  2. Rub it on carpet or hair to make some electricity
  3. Roll the balloon over the glitter

This method picks up glitter fast but can become messy again quickly if you have children. Beware that once you blow up one balloon kids will request you blow up several more. 

5. Hair Spray

Hair spray is one of the most effective ways to get glitter off of fabrics if they are washable. 

  1. Spray your clothing with an aerosol hairspray
  2. Wash your clothes
  3. Remove any excess glitter in the wash

This method doesn’t work on clothes you can’t put in the washer. You also have to be very careful not to ruin delicate clothing with the chemicals in hairspray. 

How do you remove glitter from skin?

The easiest way to remove glitter from the skin is to rub it off using natural oil and makeup or nail polish remover. However, if you don’t have any oil or remover you can get more creative with playdough or tape. 

Here are some ways to remove glitter from the skin.

1. Natural Oil

Olive oil or coconut oil works best to remove glitter. But you can use any oil you already have that you like to use on your hair or skin. 

  1. Place the oil on a cotton ball or pad
  2. Rub the remover into the affected area in a circular motion
  3. Rub the oil into the skin to moisturize
  4. Wash away any excess oil 

Natural oil is the best option because it moisturizes your skin as well. Oil also works to get the glitter out of your hair. Simply give yourself a hot oil treatment and wash your hair like normal. The only downside to oil is if you have an allergy.

2. Makeup Remover

Makeup remover was made for removing glitter as some cosmetics have glitter in it. Simply follow the instructions on your remover. 

Here’s the most common way to use makeup remover to remove glitter.

  1. Place the makeup remover on a cotton ball or pad
  2. Rub the remover into the affected area in a circular motion
  3. Be sure to wipe down the entire area of skin before you toss the cotton ball
  4. Wash the area with soap and water

Makeup remover is easy to use and you can find sensitive options. However, if you are using it on children you may want to choose a more natural option. 

3. Rubbing Alcohol/ Nail Polish Remover

Rubbing alcohol and nail polish remover works similarly to makeup remover. You may choose this method if it’s all you have on hand. 

  1. Soak a cotton pad or ball
  2. On stuck on areas hold the cotton ball in place for 30 seconds 
  3. Gently rub your skin and wipe the glitter away
  4. Wash with soap and water

This option is quick and you probably have alcohol in your cabinet right now. Removing glitter this way may irritate sensitive skin. Be sure not to use this on open or broken skin because it will burn.

4. Playdough or Clay

Using playdough to remove glitter from your skin is by far the funnest way to get the job done. 

  1. Roll clay into a ball 
  2. Roll the ball over the glitter on your skin
  3. Flatten the clay over nails or stuck on areas to cling to the glitter
  4. Toss the clay when you are done
  5. Wash with soap and water

Using clay to get rid of glitter is fun. Make this a game with your kids to help clean any glitter that’s made it onto them as well. The downside is you’ll now be reading my next article on how to clean clay from your clothes and skin.

5. Masking Tape

If you used tape to remove glitter on fabrics you can use it on your skin as well. Use masking tape on your skin because it is the most gentle. Other tapes will be too harsh on your skin. 

  1. Place the masking tape over the area affected with glitter
  2. Gently rub the tape over the glitter
  3. Gently peel the tape away removing the glitter
  4. Repeat until all the glitter is gone
  5. Toss the tape and wash the area with soap and water

Using tape can be harsh on your skin. The tape can also get attracted to the oils on your skin making it lose its stick fast. This option works best on your hands when you can get the glitter off any other way. Always remember to wash your hands after.

Summary: How to remove glitter from fabric or skin

If you’ve been finding glitter around the house for weeks you’ll be happy to know how to finally remove it. All it takes is a few natural products and supplies you probably already have around the house. 

Since glitter gets stuck everywhere it’s best to have a different method for every place. The easiest way to get glitter off of fabric is to use hair spray and wash. But a lint roller will work on all your “dry clean only” clothes. Use a wet paper towel for fabrics and upholstery that you can’t throw in the washer. 

Removing glitter from your hair and skin is the most difficult. Glitter is so hard to remove because it’s attracted to moisture. But you can use tape, natural oils, and makeup remover to get the job done. 

Be sure to always wash with soap and water after using anything that may be harsh on your fabrics or skin.

You can always choose to have more fun and create an endless cycle of cleaning glitter, balloons, and playdough out of all the fabric in your happy crafting home.