Graphic showing a green slime stain on carpet in the process of getting cleaned up next to a lineup of five different cleaning methods
Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

We Tested 5 Ways to Get Slime Out of a Carpet and the Winner Left No Trace

published Apr 3, 2023
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Parents of young kids know what’s what with slime — the bright, sticky goo that’s so much fun to play with, until it gets all over everything you love. Slime happens — sometimes to the carpet — and removing it can feel like an impossible task. To help you find the best way to remove slime from your carpet, we tested five popular solutions, and found a clear winner in the end.

How I Tested Methods for Cleaning Slime Out of Carpet

For the super-scientific testing, we started with a three-pound bucket of Nickelodeon slime in green, blue, and purple, all of which blended together a little bit in transit. I applied the mostly green-blue slime generously in about four-inch circles in a set of five on a beige, medium-pile carpet with white spots. I tried to get slime on both the beige and the white for each method, and then let them sit for 24 hours to dry before testing.

In most cases, it’s ideal to treat the spill immediately — and some methods, like the ice method, are actually suggested for wet slime vs. dry — but I wanted to test how successful these methods would be to really pick up that deep-set, dried-on slime. I wasn’t able to pick up any of the slime before starting my testing because it was dried, but if given the opportunity, always try to pick up as much of the slime as possible before you start to remove the stain. Additionally, it’s important to note that these methods may work differently on wet slime vs. dry slime.

According to the package, the Nickelodeon slime is non-toxic, recommended for ages 6 and up, and easily washes out of clothing and off of skin with soap and water. It’s recommended that the slime is kept away from wallpaper, painted walls, furniture, carpeting, and other materials that can’t be laundered — but accidents do happen, so here we are! As for ingredients, I actually couldn’t find that information anywhere on the brand’s website or packaging, but it’s generally a mixture of borax, white glue, and water, plus coloring. (Learn more about DIY slime kits here.)

Additionally, I used a small nylon brush to loosen the slime stains, and washed it between each method. I ended up scrubbing pretty hard into the carpet, which may end up damaging your carpet if it’s more delicate, so beware.

Credit: Quinn Fish

The Ratings

To compare methods, I rated each based on how easy they were, how well they worked for picking up slime, how long they took relative to the other methods (a high score means less time), plus an overall score. Each component is rated on a 1 to 5 scale, with 1 being the worst. 

Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

Slime Removal Method: Carpet Cleaner

  • Ease of use: 5/5
  • Performance: 1/5
  • Total time: 3/5
  • Overall: 2/5

The method: I followed the instructions on the back of the can (I used Resolve High Traffic Carpet Foam), and coated the stain with the foaming cleaner. I let it sit for 15 minutes, then scrubbed with a nylon brush, and vacuumed up what was left.

How it went: I loved watching (and hearing) the carpet cleaner fizzle, and this was the easiest method by far. I followed the instructions on the back of the can, coating the stain thoroughly with the foaming cleaner, then letting it sit for 15 minutes, as directed — which was definitely longer than the other methods took during step one — then went to work with the nylon brush. The longer I scrubbed and vacuumed, the more came up, but I was really unimpressed with this method, as most of the color and the slime itself was left behind. Looking at what was left of the stain, you might not even know I used any product on the spot at all. Another carpet cleaner might work better, or it may work better on a fresher or smaller slime stain.

Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

Slime Removal Method: Baking Soda + Vinegar

  • Ease of use: 3/5
  • Performance: 2.5/5
  • Total time: 3/5
  • Overall: 2.5/5

The method: I sprinkled baking soda on the stain, then mixed one part warm water with two parts distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle, sprayed it on the stain, scrubbed with a soft scrub brush, then vacuumed.

How it went: I sprinkled a bit of the baking soda on the slime, let it sit for a second, then sprayed the vinegar solution on top. I went through the brushing, drying, vacuuming process twice to attempt to remove more slime. As much as I loved the fizzing — and it did help create more of a sudsy lather than any other method — it really didn’t add much to the picking up of the slime. I thought this one would work better than it did, but unfortunately it fell short. It involved a bit of scrubbing, like most of the other methods, but I was surprised that it didn’t come close to what other methods were able to achieve. 

Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

Slime Removal Method: Ice Cubes

  • Ease of use: 3.5/5
  • Performance: 3.5/5
  • Total time: 3.5/5
  • Overall: 3.5/5

The method: I applied several ice cubes to the stain and waited 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cubes and scraping up the rest of the slime with a butter knife.

How it went: I coated the stain with 10 to 15 ice cubes to make sure we had the entire surface area covered, and they didn’t all quite melt in the time I let them sit for, which ended up being OK. I rubbed the ice cubes around on the stain and it actually began to foam a little bit (scientifically, no idea how or why), and I was shocked by how much of the slime actually came up with just a butter knife. I rubbed the ice cubes around and scraped up the slime four to five times, which didn’t take too long, and it actually did a surprisingly good job.

What’s nice about this method is that it only takes ice cubes and a butter knife, both of which you more than likely already have. I could’ve hit the stain with one of our better-performing solutions, and I think it would’ve been almost totally gone.

Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

Slime Removal Method: Water + Dish Soap

  • Ease of use: 3/5
  • Performance: 3/5
  • Total time: 2.5/5
  • Overall: 4/5

The method: I mixed two teaspoons of liquid dish soap with two cups of warm water in a spray bottle, then sprayed the solution onto the stain and waited about three minutes. I sprayed the stain again and dabbed up the slime particles with a rag (then a nylon brush, but more on that below). Once the stain and slime were mostly cleaned up, I dabbed one last time with warm water and allowed it to air dry.

How it went: While at first it looked promising as I saw some of the slime lift, after spraying and scrubbing again two to three times, very little of the slime was actually picked up by the rag. Although it got lighter after every treatment, it just wasn’t doing the trick. I decided to turn to my trusty soft nylon brush, and that’s when the method really started working. It might have been the rag I was using, so maybe a sponge would’ve worked better. I found that the solution and the scrubbing actually lightened the beige carpet itself (it was probably pretty dirty, in hindsight), but it didn’t get 100 percent of the green and blue tint out of it. I could’ve kept scrubbing, but I felt after 10 to 15 minutes of scrubbing was long enough. After I got up as much as I could, I dabbed the spot with a damp towel, which I think left a little too much of the dish soap behind. 

The original method (with a rag or sponge) might work better on lighter/smaller slime messes, but overall, with a nylon brush, it picked up most of the mess.

Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

Slime Removal Method: Water + Vinegar

  • Ease of use: 3/5
  • Performance: 4/5
  • Total time: 3.5/5
  • Overall: 5/5

The method: I mixed one part warm water with two parts distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle (the same as method 2), sprayed it onto the stain, used a soft nylon brush to work the slime loose from the carpet, then dried the stain with a paper towel. After it was dry, I vacuumed the spot.

How it went: For a decently sized circle of about four inches in diameter (hopefully bigger than any spill you face in your own slime adventures), it took quite a bit of solution to saturate the stain. I ended up going through the spray-scrub-dry process twice from start to finish, but I was surprised how well it worked. I felt like I got a good arm workout from scrubbing, but that’s to be expected. After vacuuming, you couldn’t even tell there was slime there in the first place. This method was definitely our winner!

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