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Whether you’re camping out in the wilderness and accidentally melt your sandwich bag onto your shirt or you’re working in an environment where you deal with plastic, sometimes you need to get it out of your clothes.
To get burnt plastic out, you’ll need an iron, a brown paper bag, and your clothes. From there you can get the melted plastic out of your fabric without too much trouble.
Step One: Gather Your Supplies
While you might be tempted to grab your favorite environmentally-friendly laundry detergent and attack the melted plastic by putting it through the washing machine, this is a BIG mistake. Instead, you’ll want to use a few common household supplies.
The supplies you’ll need to get the plastic out of your bag include:
- An iron
- A brown paper bag
- A flat surface
When grabbing your supplies, it’s good to know that you can substitute out another type of brown paper for your brown paper bag. However, if you choose to do this, just make sure that the paper is brown.
It’s also important to use plain paper. If you choose paper that has ink on it, you might end up transferring the ink to the fabric and creating a new kind of mess!
Step Two: Heat the Iron
With your supplies in hand, you’re ready to get to work. Start by finding a well-ventilated area and taking everything you need to this spot.
Then, plug your iron into the wall outlet and turn it onto the lowest heat setting. If your iron has a steam feature, make sure that this setting is turned off before you begin your work.
In the event that you don’t have an iron, you can also use a hairdryer. Once again, you’ll want your hair dryer to be at the lowest setting possible.
Step Three: Iron the Fabric
Start by laying the pieces of brown paper or the bag out on a flat surface. Place them over top of the fabric and make sure that the paper covers the melted plastic spot.
Now, you’re ready to get to work. Gently rub the warm iron over the paper. Make sure not to apply pressure to the iron as you do so, as this can cause the plastic to melt further into the fiber of the fabric.
Make sure that you don’t stray off the edges of the brown paper as that can damage the fabric below. You need to be extra careful about this if you’re working with nylon or polyester fabrics as these burn easily.
If you’re using a hairdryer, you’ll want to hold the device about six inches away from the fabric. Slowly move the hairdryer around so that it heats the entire area where the melted plastic stain is.
Step Four: Remove the Paper
As you move the iron or hairdryer over the plastic patch, you’ll notice that the paper absorbs the plastic. After the plastic fully melts, gently peel the paper off the fabric. The plastic should be attached to the paper.
If you notice any lingering plastic on the fabric, use a dull knife or a plastic scraper to get the rest of the plastic off while it’s still warm. Make sure you don’t touch the plastic with your hand as it can cause burns.
Finally, throw the garment into the laundry machine and wash it as normal. Once it comes out you’re ready to wear it again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have a couple more questions about burnt plastic? Check out some of our answers to a few common questions.
How can I get melted plastic out of carpet?
If you want to get melted plastic out of the carpet, you can follow the same method as you used for getting it out of fabric. After you finish lifting the melted plastic out of the carpet, use a carpet cleaner to finish off the job.
Can I get melted plastic out of clothes in the washing machine?
If you have melted plastic in your clothes you shouldn’t immediately throw it in the washing machine. Doing so can cause the plastic to melt into the fabric further, especially if your machine uses hot cycles.
What laundry detergent removes plastic?
There’s no specific laundry detergent for getting plastic out of clothes. Instead, it’s best to use the iron and paper bag method listed above to get the job done.