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How to Remove Glow Stick Stains

Lisa Wampler

Glow sticks are transparent plastic tubes filed with chemicals that are separated by glass tubes. When the stick is bent, the internal glass tubes break, allowing the chemical to combine and produce a reaction that makes the materials glow.

Glow sticks provide hours of entertainment for kids, but if broken open can cause stains on fabrics and other surfaces. Nearly all glow sticks contain hydrogen peroxide, phenyl oxalate ester and fluorescent dyes that produce the stains. Even though these chemicals are considered non-toxic, the liquids should not be ingested or allowed to contact the eyes.

Tip

If the stained fabric is dry-clean only, be sure to point out the glow stick stain to a professional dry cleaner. Before you attempt to treat the fabric at home with a home dry-cleaning kit, read the home kit instructions thoroughly prior to use. Heat helps stains to set. Examine the fabric carefully to ensure the stain is completely gone before drying. Air drying is best if you can.

Warning

When a glow stick breaks, be sure to check for any shards of glass or hard plastic from the inside capsule.

Glow sticks are only considered safe when the outer covering is intact. Supervise children under 5 years old when playing with glow sticks, and keep glow sticks away from pets. Do not encourage activities that call for breaking the sticks and adding the chemicals to other liquids.

  1. Rinse the glow stick stain in cold water as soon as the stain happens, if possible. Cold water will help lift the stain before it sets in the fabric.

  2. Create a solution of equal parts color-safe bleach and cold water. Soak the fabric overnight in the solution.

  3. Pre-treat the stained area with a stain stick or spray and wash normally. If you still notice the stain, repeat steps 1 and 2 before drying.

The Drip Cap

  • Glow sticks are transparent plastic tubes filed with chemicals that are separated by glass tubes.
  • Cold water will help lift the stain before it sets in the fabric.