Laundry

Removing Clay Stains after Making Ganesha Idols

It's easy to make Ganesh Chaturthi idols out of clay, but it sure is messy! Read our article for tips & advice on removing clay stains from clothes.

When Ganesh Chaturthi is approaching, many families with kids have lots of fun making their very own Ganesha idols. It is far more eco-friendly than buying an idol, and very simple: all you need to do is pick up some air-drying clay and start channelling your inner artist, and you’ll soon have a DIY Ganesha idol that’s better than anything you could buy in the stores.

There is one downside, however – the mess. After making clay Ganesha idols as a family, it’s not uncommon for you and your kids to end up with clay on your clothes (not to mention the carpets, the walls, and the ceiling). So here’s a handy guide looking at how to get clay out of clothes when you find yourself in a bit of a mess:

How to Remove Clay from Clothes

There’s no denying that a clay stain looks bad, but the good news is that it will often look much worse than it really is. The truth is that clay stain removal isn’t as difficult as you might think, especially if you’ve got the right tools, the right cleaning products, and you are using the right technique. The main reason clay stains have such a bad reputation is because many people tackle them the wrong way.

With most stains, it’s important to tackle them as soon as possible, as they will be much easier to remove before they have the chance to thoroughly soak and set into the fibres. Clay, however, behaves in a similar way to chewing gum – it doesn’t really soak in, but rather sticks to the surface. This means that the best approach when removing these stains is to leave the clay to dry before attempting to remove it.

Here’s how to remove clay stains:

  • Allow the clay to dry completely before tackling the stain. If you’re dealing with air-drying clay, which sets quickly and naturally, you shouldn’t have to wait too long before you can start.
  • Use a spoon to gently scrape off any large clumps of clay sitting on the surface of your clothes. Don’t dig, and always try to move the spoon with, rather than against, the fibres.
  • Grab a small, stiff bristled brush (an old toothbrush works well) and scrub the clothing. This is to get rid of any smaller pieces of clay that weren’t removed by the spoon.

Some types of clay can leave a stain – especially if they’re darker or richer in colour, or if your clothing is very light. If a stubborn stain does remain, apply the following steps:

  • Saturate the stain with white vinegar, which has some stain removal properties. Alternatively, you could apply a store-bought stain remover – a specially targeted commercial product will usually provide more reliable results. No matter which stain removal solution you use, always check the labels on your product and clothing first, and be sure to test on a small, inconspicuous area of your clothing.
  • Wash your clothes in the washing machine as you normally would, using a good quality laundry detergent. Something like Surf excel liquid detergent is ideal – you can actually use the neat detergent as a pre-treatment to help the stain removal process along. Dealing with delicate materials? Don’t worry – set the temperature to 30 degrees, or use the machine’s hand wash setting to protect the fabric.

Keeping Clean (and Avoiding Having to Remove Clay Stains)

Although removing clay from clothing is quite easy, it’s even easier if you don’t get clay on your clothes in the first place. Of course, if kids are involved, keeping clean is practically impossible, but there are ways to help protect your home, and your clothing, when you’re busy making Ganesha idols.

  • Keep a set of old, dark-coloured clothes especially for messy projects. If they do get stained, it’s much better than ruining your favourite clothes.
  • Wear plastic aprons. You can buy these from craft stores and they don’t cost too much. While they’re not very hardwearing, they are excellent at protecting your clothes from stains and splashes.

Making eco-friendly Ganesha idols is one of the most enjoyable and more responsible ways we can prepare for Ganesh Chaturthi, and it’s a great opportunity to teach any kids in the family more about their rich culture. Don’t be put off by the potential mess – just make sure you’re armed with some white vinegar, plenty of stain remover, and a good detergent, and you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Top Tip


Homemade stain removal products like white vinegar can be effective, but for the best results, Cleanipedia recommends opting for a commercial stain removal product. Not only are they designed to target stains safely, but the results will also be a little more fragrant! As always, read the label on your chosen product and test on a small area first.