How perform you eliminate the gunk, Gak and also slime your belovedoffspring have unceremoniously ground into their jeans and slung againstthe wall? sometimes all that takes is a basic household item to cleanse awaythe sludge of childhood.

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When ns was old sufficient to voice my discontent end the dreaded pixie cut-- a hairstyle my mother thought to be cute yet I assumed made me watch likea young -- I flourished my hair long as an act of rebellion. The problem with longhair on a hyperactive 5-year-old, the course, is knots -- the sort thatno lot of gentle maternal comb-tugging can smooth away. Only a healthydose of Johnson & Johnson"s No much more Tangles and a an excellent yank coulddissolve mine rat"s nests. Yet even this remedy failed once I engaged in thecharming habit of chewing my hair and my gum in ~ the same time. Youcan imagine the outcome.

There"s no maintain course for parents on exactly how to dislodge a matted wadof gooey pink gum indigenous a child"s hair without utilizing torture or a pair ofscissors to reduced out the offending glop. After trying to pick my hair out ofthe gerean strand through strand, my mom lastly headed because that the refrigerator.First she do the efforts mayonnaise -- miscellaneous slick to counteract the stickiness.When that didn"t work, she went for the peanut butter. Miraculously, thatdid the trick.

These days, gum in hair appears quaint compared to all the highlyquestionable substances the can acquire stuck in and also on assorted body components andhousehold items. Take Silly Putty. All ns remember around that pliable goo isthat it came in an egg-shaped container and was the color of a dull pinkeraser. You might press it onto newspaper comics and also the cartoon wouldimprint top top the putty"s surface, and when you gained bored with that trick, youcould role it right into a ball and also drive your mommy crazy by bouncing the offthe walls. Quickly after that, it to be confiscated and also locked away.

The great news about Silly Putty is the it"s nontoxic. The bad news isthat silly Putty -- now in Original, Glow-in-the-Dark, Glitter, Changeable andBright color -- has the potential to stain clothing and other fabrics,like the priceless neck velvet gracing your new sofa. Luckily, printedon the silly Putty package is a toll-free number to speak to with questionssuch as, "Can you eliminate Silly Putty from dog fur?" or "My daughter justshoved silly Putty up her nose. Have to I it is in concerned?" (The parcel warnsnot to use the tacky substance as ear plugs, however it doesn"t say anythingabout sleep plugs.) but be forewarned: The silly Putty 800 number, run byits corporate parent, Binney & smith of Eaton, Pa., is just staffed from9 a.m. To 4 p.m. East Time. For this reason if you"re sitting down to dinnerin Idaho and also your fanny lands on the gob of stunner Putty your boy left ~ above yourchair, you"re out of luck. If the putty wake up to chemically bond through theseat of her pants during office hours, however, the cheerfulrepresentative will certainly recommend you spray WD-40 on your butt, let it sitthere because that a while and also then scrape it off. The result stain need to betreated with rubbing alcohol and any various other residue can be apprehended witha wet sponge and also dish-washing liquid. Binney & Smith, the clever businesspeople that they are, do not guarantee perfect results.

A modern, gooier take on stunner Putty is Mattel"s Gak, which has theconsistency of dry rubber cement and also has no redeeming purpose other than tomake fart-like noises when you squish it. Arisen in conjunction with thechildren"s cable tv network Nickelodeon, this delightful substancecomes in a range of colors and odors. Beach Gak, for instance, stinks ofsalt water and also dead fish. Precautions have to be taken before engaging Gak.It"s nontoxic, as children"s toys need to be to satisfy safetystandards, but, as the wrapper warns, GAK IS not A FOOD PRODUCT. Tellthat to her older-than-3-but-younger-than-rational child. Thepackage go on to caution (also in bold) versus playing with Gak oncarpeting and warns that it may stick come or stain fabrics, varnished andunvarnished surfaces. Take my advice: shot to relegate Gak handling to thegreat outdoors, where your child can discover the relative uselessness ofthis toy top top the grass quite than top top your brand-new all-wool carpet.

But let"s simply say it"s raining outside, and in a weak minute you permit thebuggers sculpt your Gak indoors. And let"s say the the angels --inadvertently of course -- grind a dollop that Gak into the aforementionedwool carpet. What carry out you do, besides cry? The package recommends removingexcess Gak by applying carpet spot-remover and also then washing the area withdetergent and hot water. What if it it s okay on clothing? Don"t bee-lineit come the dry cleaners, because even a great dry cleaning will not removeGak. When I referred to as the Mattel customer Affairs warm line to uncover out exactly how thehell you have the right to remove the stuff, a representative called me her ownpersonal remedy for removing Gak from clothes was cold water and also stainremover. Genius. When I asked she for a reference for a great "stainremover," she rifled through what sounded like the Handbook of GakRemoval till she uncovered an old e-mail from a consumer like me. Making use of asolution of half vinegar and fifty percent water, the enterprising woman found shecould obtain the Gak the end of most any article the clothing. Of course, thisnifty liquid potion can fade your clothes, yet hey, at the very least your blazerwill be Gak-free.

While I never ever thought I"d be to sing the praises of the evil birthdayparty clip Silly String, mine research reflects that it is the leastruinous of the gunk. Made by Wham-o -- fixed producer that the Hula Hoop --Silly String comes in several colors, including my an individual favorite,cotton-candy pink. When you shower the can and also spray, a thin string that foamy stuff and a thick noise of chemicals shoot out. If you touch the string prior to it dries, that feels wet and also cool and also it pipeline a slimy trail as soon as you pick it up. The only material Silly Stringclaims come stain is vinyl, for this reason make sure your prized white go-go boots aresafely the end of the way when your tiny one takes aim. Wet or dry, SillyString lifted turn off of several surfaces ns tested -- marble, tile, carpeting,varnished hardwood -- without leaving a mark. Although it"s not an alleged to beflammable, Wham-o recommends that you don"t spray silly String near an openflame or also a heat light bulb. Inhaling the vapors (if you favor rubbercement, you"ll love silly String!) deserve to be fatal, therefore encourage your youngsters toabstain from spraying that in every other"s faces.

And if that does gain in someone"s hair, I"d try washing the out v peanutbutter. If the doesn"t work, perhaps a little WD-40 will do the trick.

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Lisa Moskowitz

Lisa Moskowitz writes and also lives in mountain Francisco. Her job-related has showed up in Adweek, PC people Online, MyLifePath.com and also American dragon magazine.