Though the gel blasters provide hours of giggles and fun, I used to cringe thinking about the potential staining havoc those splattery gels could unleash on my kids’ clothing.
After a few gel blaster battles resulted in some noticeable blue and green splotches on t-shirts and pants, I decided it was time to dig into the staining question. Do gel blasters actually stain clothes or is it possible to fire away with these splashy toy guns without ruining every outfit?
Through some trial and error plus a bit of laundry science research, I discovered some helpful tips for avoiding and removing gel blaster stains. Here’s what I learned about the staining potential of gel blasters and how to keep your kid’s wardrobe looking like new after heavy gel warfare.
Do Gel Blasters Stain Clothing They Hit?
Now onto the key question at hand – if your clothes are hit with one of those high-velocity gel blobs, will it leave a lingering stain behind?
The quick answer is maybe, but not necessarily permanently. Since the gel is water-based, it can dissolve and wash out completely from clothing with proper laundering techniques. However, the high impact of the gels can drive color deep into fabric fibers which makes stains more stubborn to remove.
Certain fabrics are more prone to holding onto those gel blaster stains than others. Natural fibers like cotton and linen tend to absorb and retain the gels more than synthetic fibers such as polyester or nylon. The soft, permeable nature of natural fabrics allows the gels to seep in more easily.
I learned this the hard way after an afternoon of gel battles left my son’s white cotton t-shirt splattered with little blue and yellow splotches of color. The stains weren’t too noticeable right away. But after the shirt dried, those spots became crusty, stiff blotches of discoloration seemingly permanently melded with the fabric.
However, with a thorough pre-treatment and a long soak in the washing machine, I was able to fully remove the stains and restore my son’s favorite play shirt back to bright white. It took some work but getting out those persistent gel stains was possible.
Preventing and Removing Gel Blaster Stains
While gel blaster stains are removable with some strategic laundering, preventing the stains in the first place is ideal for keeping clothes looking fresh. Here are my top tips for avoiding stains during gel battles and removing any rogue stains that do occur.
Wear Stain-Resistant Fabrics
When my kids suit up for some gel blasting in the backyard, I have them wear older t-shirts and pants made from performance fabrics like polyester that have more stain resistance than natural fibers. Synthetics with slick surfaces help repel the gels rather than letting them soak in and stain.
Darker-colored clothing also does a better job of hiding any minor staining that may occur. With black, navy, or dark red shirts, any small specks of color from gel splatters blend in better and are less noticeable.
Apply a Stain Protectant Spray
As another layer of stain protection, I sometimes spritz my kids’ gel battle outfits with a pre-treat spray designed for resistance to oil-based stains. The polymers in the gel have an oil-like quality so these sprays help create a barrier preventing stains from setting into the fabric.
Check for Stains Right After Playing
Once gel blasting is done for the day, I thoroughly inspect my kids’ clothing for any obvious splatters. Catching the stains when they are still fresh increases the chances of removal.
I point out the stains to my kids and have them help spray stain remover directly on any wet splatter spots before tossing the clothes in the laundry. Acting quickly prevents the gels from drying and setting in the fabric.
Related Article: What Gel Gun Shoots The Hardest?
Pre-Treat All Clothing Before Washing
Even if I don’t notice any stains right away, I still pretreat all the clothing worn for gel battles by either spraying with a pre-wash stain remover or rubbing a gel stain removal stick on any potentially stained areas.
Letting the pretreatment sit for 5-10 minutes before washing gives it time to penetrate and break down any traces of staining gel.
Wash in Hot Water
I always wash my kid’s gel-splattered clothes separately in hot water. The extra heat helps dissolve and wash away the gel material more effectively than cold water. I also use an extra dose of laundry detergent for added stain-fighting action.
Avoid Machine Drying
Once clothes come out of the wash, it’s tempting to toss them right into the dryer. But heat drying can actually set and bond any leftover staining material into the fabric rather than removing it.
I make sure to air dry gel-blasted clothing to allow time for any hidden stains to continue rinsing away as the clothes dry naturally. Then I check again for stains once fully dry.
Repeat Stain Removal Steps as Needed
If I do notice any remaining discoloration after washing and drying, I simply repeat the staining process. I thoroughly soak and wash the stained garments again with hot water, detergent, and pretreatment focusing just on the stained areas.
For really stubborn stains, I may also try spot-treating with hydrogen peroxide or lemon juice before washing since both can help lift out dried or set-in stains.
With multiple rounds of thorough laundering and stain treatment, I’m usually able to completely remove any lingering signs of gel blaster stains. But for really challenging stains that resist all home treatment, I take the garment to a professional dry cleaner. They have commercial-grade cleansing agents capable of eradicating the most persistent stains.
While gel blaster stains require some extra laundry work, taking the right staining precautions and employing strategic cleaning methods can keep clothes looking vibrant and colorful even after the most epic gel battles. I no longer cringe when I see those colorful gel splotches all over my kids’ clothing after they’ve had their splattering fun. I know with a bit of diligent laundering those stains don’t stand a chance!
- Gel blasters use compressed air to shoot water-based polymer gel beads that can stain the clothing they hit.
- Natural fabrics like cotton are more prone to gel staining than synthetic fabrics.
- Stains can be avoided by wearing stain-resistant fabrics and applying a protectant spray.
- Catching and pretreating stains promptly helps avoid permanent settings.
- Hot water, stain pretreatment, and air drying help lift out stains during washing.
- Stubborn stains may require multiple treatments or professional dry cleaning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions about gel blaster stains and clothing:
What ingredients in gel cause it to stain?
The staining potential comes from the colorful dyes used in the polymer mix that creates the gel beads. Under force and impact, these dyes can transfer from the gel onto the fabric.
Do gel stains come out in the wash?
Yes, gel stains can fully wash out of fabrics as long as proper stain removal steps are taken such as pre-treatment, hot water, and air drying. Stains are only permanent if not washed out correctly.
Do you need to treat all clothing hit by gel blasters?
It’s a good idea to pretreat any clothing potentially stained by gel blasters before washing since stains may not be immediately visible. Better safe than sorry!
What temperature water should you wash gel-stained clothes in?
Hot water around 140 degrees Fahrenheit will be the most effective at dissolving and rinsing away the staining gel material during a wash cycle.
Can you put gel-stained clothes in the dryer?
It’s best to air dry gel-stained garments to allow time for stains to continue rinsing out as clothes dry. The heat of machine drying can set and bond stains into fabric.
How do you get dried gel stains out of clothes?
For dried or set-in stains, try spot treating with hydrogen peroxide or lemon juice before washing to help lift out discoloration. Repeated laundering may be needed.
When should you take gel-stained clothes to the dry cleaner?
If you’ve tried all home treatment methods and stains remain, the chemical solvents used at professional dry cleaners can eliminate the most stubborn lingering stains.
While cleaning up after a gel blaster battle may mean tending to some stained clothes, have no fear. With the right stain-fighting techniques, you can fire away at the gel fun without destroying your kid’s wardrobe in the process. Just be sure to wear the right protective fabrics, act quickly when stains occur and repeatedly wash with plenty of stain-removing potency.
As a seasoned parent of avid gel blaster fans, I’ve learned how to turn stained clothes back to pristine condition again so those grass and house-wall destroying gel weapons can provide hours of carefree fun and laughter despite the mess. Because what’s a little extra laundry when it brings that much joy to my kids? With my trusty stain-busting tricks, those splattery gels will never ruin our playtime fun!