How to Clean Up Glitter: Quick Tips for a Sparkly Mess

Don't let glitter overstay its welcome - discover easy ways to remove glitter from clothes, hard surfaces, brushes, and your body.

Updated November 22, 2022
Child's hands with purple color glitter

Glitzy glitter is festive and fun, but man does it have some serious staying power; cleaning up glitter is the bane of every parent. It rubs off wrapping paper and onto your skin, falls from lovingly-made craft projects and clings to your carpets, and makes itself at home wherever it lands. So, you have two choices: lean into the glitter and celebrate that everything in your life from here on out is going to be sparkly, or discover easy ways to remove it from any surface.

The choice is entirely yours, and if you're in the all glitter all the time group, then congrats on your sparkling future! If, however, you're feeling a bit more judicious about glitter and only want it where it rightfully belongs, you'll need some tips. Use the quick tricks professionals do to clean up glitter in a flash.

How to Clean Up Glitter on Skin

Did you try a new glitter trend from TikTok? It looked fabulous for the video, but you've got glitter in places it doesn't belong. If you are having a hard time removing glitter from your face and hands, a few simple household items will help.

  • Lotion
  • Conditioner
  • Washcloth
how to clean glitter from skin

You've washed and scrubbed, but somehow the glitter is still there. Don't worry - this won't be your forever look.

  1. Rub lotion or conditioner over the glitter.
  2. Use a washcloth or disposable cotton pads to wipe it away.
  3. Repeat until you're glitter free.

Easy Way to Remove Glitter From Hair

Glitter can get everywhere - it's the magic of glitter. And, while you might enjoy rocking that glittery hair look, after a few days it can get real old. Fortunately, all you'll need is some food-grade oil such as coconut or olive oil. Not only will this make your glitter go away, but it'll leave your hair super soft.

how to remove glitter from hair infographic
  1. Use a dab of warm oil and work it into your scalp.
  2. Give your scalp a nice massage.
  3. Leave it on for 10 minutes, maybe chill out with a face mask while you wait.
  4. Rinse well.
  5. Shampoo as normal.

You can also try this using conditioner in place of oil, but you might still have a few sparkles remaining.

How to Remove Glitter From Makeup Brushes

Great news! You got the glitter out of your hair and skin, but since it also got on your makeup brushes (oops), using them as is will put you right back in the same sparkly boat again. So, before your face becomes a glimmering beacon, clean the glitter out of your makeup brushes. You'll need some rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball.

how to remove glitter from makeup brushes
  1. Wet a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol.
  2. Rub your brush over it until all the glitter is gone. This may take a while, and you may need to go through a few cotton balls depending on how much glitter is on your brushes.
  3. Dry completely and enjoy your "sparkling" clean brushes.

How to Get Glitter Out of Clothes and Fabric

Did your princess get glitter all over her new shirt? Of course she did. Rather than just throwing it in the washer and making your machine a mess, pre-treat it first. To get the glitter out of washable fabrics like pillows, clothes, coats, etc., all you need is a little hairspray.

how to remove glitter from clothes infographic
  1. Lay the washable fabric on a towel. (You can shake it out outside, but don't do it in or near the house. Go far away. Far, far away.)
  2. Spray the hairspray all over the glitter. (Make sure to cover every single flake.)
  3. Allow it to dry.
  4. Wash the garment by itself in the machine.
  5. Repeat the wash as necessary.

How to Remove Glitter From Washer & Dryer

Well, you washed the glitter in the kiddo's clothes, but now your washer looks like a disco ball. That is not optimal, but there are a few glitter removing techniques you can try to clean the washer or dryer. First, grab what you need.

  • Paper towel
  • Play-Doh
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Vacuum with attachment
how to remove glitter from washer & dryer infographic

If you don't want to deal with glitter in your microfiber cloth, you can just use a paper towel, but the microfiber cloth gives it a good first clean.

  1. Wet down a microfiber cloth and wipe out the whole drum and seal.
  2. Wet a paper towel and try to collect any remaining glitter.
  3. Use Play-Doh around the seal to pull out any stubborn bits.
  4. For the washer, run an empty cycle or two to rinse away any glitter that remains.

If this method fails, use the vacuum with attachment to try to suck up any remaining sparkles. You'll need to let the washer dry out for a few days before trying this method.

How to Clean Up Glitter From Counters, Tables, & Floors

Glitter crafts are fun; clean up not so much. That cute, shimmery sign your little glitter bug just created can quickly turn into an explosion of glitter that goes everywhere your kiddo travels in your home. Now you have glitter covering not only your child, but also your floors, counters, sinks, and even the tub. It's time to take action before the glitter has spread so far and wide that you might as well just repaint everything. But, before you get started, grab your supplies.

  • Dusting cloth
  • Broom or dustmop
  • Vacuum with attachment
  • Paper towel
  • Balloon
  • Play-Doh
  • Masking tape
how to remove glitter from hard surfaces infographic

With supplies in hand, it's time for a glitter smackdown. Art projects done on a table, countertop, or over a hard floor make it simple to clean up. Start with the highest surface and work your way down. That way, anything that gets brushed onto lower levels, like chairs and floors, is picked up as you clean your way down to the floor. Crisis averted.

First, Wipe With Dusting Cloths

Start your glitter clean-up by wiping the table or counter with a dusting cloth. These pre-treated cloths have some moisture that easily picks up glitter. Or, use a dry microfiber dusting cloth or wet paper towel, which can also pick up quite a bit of glitter. Hold up a small garbage bag at the edge of the surface using one hand and push glitter into the bag with the other hand once the whole surface has been wiped.

Use a Dust Broom or Mop

Once you've gotten the main surface cleaned, you'll want to move to the floor. Use a dust broom or mop to grab glitter on your hard floors followed by a wipe down with a wet paper towel. Once you have a pile, then switch to your hand-held broom to get it into the dustpan. Wipe the dustpan with a wet paper towel and vacuum the broom bristles to remove any glitter that clings to them so you don't reintroduce it into your home.

Break Out the Hand-Held Vacuum

Hand-held vacuums and attachment tools for regular vacuums allow you to easily zap up glitter you missed in small crevices on your counter and on the floor. Use the crevice attachment - not the brush attachment. Otherwise, you're likely to have a new glitter problem in your vacuum that needs cleaning up. Be careful when you empty the canister so glitter doesn't fly everywhere! Going outside is best.

Use Silly Putty, Play-Doh, or a Balloon

Cleaning glitter isn't child's play, but you can use some children's playthings to clean up any bits of remaining glitter that stubbornly cling to hard surfaces.

  • Silly Putty is a sticky dough-like substance that picks up everything from dust to newsprint. If you still see glitter once you've gone over the counter and floor with your regular cleaning tools, give Silly Putty a try. Flatten it into a thick circle and press or roll over any remaining glitter. Most should get picked up. Just make sure you dispose of the putty once you're done - or keep it in your cleaning supply cabinet for the next glitter mess!
  • Play-Doh is another great glitter picker upper. Break it into balls and press it into crevices and cracks or any place where the glitter is hanging on for dear life. With each patch of glitter, use a new ball or a part of the ball you haven't already used so it doesn't re-deposit the glitter on your counter or floor. You can put it back in the canister and let the kiddos play with their new glitter Play-Doh, but be warned. You may wind up with glitter to clean off of little hands or faces when they do.
  • Balloons allow you to turn your glitter clean up into a science lesson. Harness the power of static electricity as you clean. Rub the inflated balloon on your head, your kid's head, or even your dog's head to create a little static. Roll it over the glitter, and it will pick it right up. Dispose of the balloon in a way that it won't continue to spread glitter around your house (wrap it in something, deflate it, and throw it away).
  • Masking tape isn't necessarily a toy - although kids sometimes treat it like it is. Roll masking tape around your hand with the sticky side out and pat at the glitter to pick it up. You may need to replace the tape as it gets saturated with glitter. Dispose of it right away.

How to Clean Glitter From Carpets and Rugs

Getting glitter out of fibers is a more difficult task than removing it from hard surfaces. However, that doesn't mean you to need to settle for a sparkly new flooring look; you can still remove it. You'll need a vacuum and masking tape or a lint roller.

How to remove glitter from carpets & rugs infographic

Start by Vacuuming

Run your vacuum over the carpet or floor. Vacuum up as much glitter as you can. (Use the hose extension to avoid getting glitter all up in your rollers and undercarriage.)

Try a Carpet Pile Broom

Sometimes running a vacuum over the carpet and walking behind it will push the glitter down into the fibers. Try using a carpet pile broom to fluff up the carpet to make it easier to vacuum.

Run a Lint Roller Over the Area

If there's just a little glitter left or it's concentrated in a small area, run a lint roller over that spot. It will pick up dust, lint, sparkles, and glitter as you go over the rug or carpet without damaging it. Dispose of the roller sheet right away. Depending on how much glitter there is, you might need a few sheets.

Use Masking Tape or Duct Tape

Heavy-duty fibers can withstand a bit more abrasive option. Wrap masking tape or duct tape around the palm of your hand and four fingers so that the sticky side of the tape is on the outside and the smooth on the inside. Then, run your fingers and hand over the area where the glitter was spilled. Try to use your fingers to work a little further into the carpet pile to catch any trapped glitter.

Try the Balloon Trick

Still some glitter remaining? Static electricity to the rescue! Rub a balloon on carpeting and fibers to attract glitter pieces and lift them up and off the fibers. Immediately dispose of the balloon so it doesn't become a glitter super spreader.

Remove Glitter From Vacuum and Attachments

Whew! No more glitter on your counters, furniture, or floors. You're almost there, but your vacuum can become the next glitter spreading agent if you don't clean it out. So, now it's time to clean the vacuum. You'll need masking tape and a microfiber cloth or wet paper towel.

how to remove glitter from vacuum infographic
  1. Pull off the hose attachment and wipe it out with a wet paper towel or microfiber cloth.
  2. Set it aside to dry.
  3. For a bagless vacuum, pull off the canister.
  4. Wipe the entire thing out with a wet paper towel.
  5. Dry it out with a clean microfiber cloth.
  6. Use masking tape around your fingers to get rid of any remaining particles on your canister or attachment.

Ways to Stop Glitter From Getting Everywhere

When confronted with the sheer amount of glitter that can spread throughout your home from a teeny, tiny glittery object, art project, or glitter-covered child, it may seem like cleaning it all up is more of a journey than a destination. But it doesn't have to be. In the case of glitter, it's definitely worth the effort to try to prevent it from spreading instead of attempting to clean it all up afterward. This has been a public service announcement.

  • Cover your surface with a large piece of newspaper, cardboard, or disposable plastic tablecloth. When craft time is over, fold and roll inward to keep glitter contained and throw it away.
  • If you're doing a lot of crafting or have delicate flooring materials, consider laying a paint drop cloth below the table before getting started.
  • Wear craft aprons that can be taken off, rolled up, shaken outside, and washed.
  • Before anybody touches anything, clean glitter off hands by first rubbing them together over your protected surface and gently shaking them. Next, apply a little lotion or conditioner and then wash hands in a sink with some table salt. The salt will serve as an abrasive to help pick off any remaining glitter bits.

Get Rid of Glitter Quickly and Easily

Despite your best efforts, there are usually a few stray pieces of glitter found for days or even weeks after the craft project is complete. When you find them, take action lest tiny hands or feet accidentally pick up the strays and transport them around your house. Fortunately, although it may not seem like it, glitter doesn't reproduce. So once you get all the tiny, blingy pieces, you're good to go until the next shimmery craft project.

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How to Clean Up Glitter: Quick Tips for a Sparkly Mess