Cleaning Dirty Polymer Clay That’s Not Baked Yet

Cleaning Unbaked Polymer ClayVideo #511: By far, my absolute favorite method for cleaning unbaked polymer clay is 99% Isopropyl Alcohol.

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • Try your best to keep your work area as clean as possible to help prevent you polymer clay from getting dirty in the first place.
  • But there are ways to clean raw unbaked polymer clay if it does get dirty with lint, dust, sweater fuzz, pet hair from dogs and cats, etc.
  • Be sure to clean your polymer clay before baking.
  • First try to carefully remove large bits of clay/dirt/lint with a clay blade.
  • Using a kitchen cleansing cloth (or baby wipe) to wipe dirt off the surfaces of the clay.
  • I prefer Kitchen wipes over baby wipes because they have a stronger cleaners in them, so they work better.
  • Baby oil or clay softener on a paper towel can work to remove dirt from clay, but not as well as other options.
  • 99% Isopropyl Alcohol (Rubbing alcohol) on a paper towel or Q-Tip works the best for removing dirt and lint from polymer clay.
  • Fingernail or needle tool will help with removing hairs and lint from surface.
  • In a future video I will show you how to remove dirt and lint from Baked Polymer Clay pieces.

Do you have any suggestions for videos on tips, techniques or products you would like to learn more about? Let me know in the comments section below!

My goal is to help you to learn quicker and easier ways to bring up the professionalism in your polymer clay art.

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Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
  1. Susan Baich, 29 April, 2014

    Cindy ;
    Your utube tutorials for polymer are so helpful!!!
    Thank you!

  2. Cindy Lietz, 03 May, 2014

    You are very welcome Susan! And thank YOU for the kind words.

  3. Fran V, 03 May, 2014


    I started my journey with you – and this great community – with your Beginners Course. My finger hesitated for a second over the “buy” button, because money is a very limited commodity around here. But I haven’t regretted it for a single moment.

    As everyone knows, on the web there are hundreds (thousands?) of videos and tutorials about claying, many of them free. I have watched lots of them, and still do: seeing lots of different ways of doing things is a great way to learn. And while I have occasionally seen a great tutorial on other sites, no one has ever come close to what you provide. Your videos are consistently good, and in a depth of detail rarely seen elsewhere.

    Your manner is a large part of what made me choose to buy the video in the first place. You know what you are talking about, and you make it interesting and easy to watch and learn from you. You are relaxed and open, there is always a sense of ease about you. Your voice is easy to listen to. (That may seem trivial, but there are some videos I have seen where I cannot stand to watch because the voice is harsh, or the person chatters on interminably. I even listened to one where the dog was snoring in the background.) You seem like someone I would like to know personally. And that is important, because by now I have so many of your videos it seems I invite you into my home every day! I almost want to make you tea while you’re here ;)

    I think you are a natural teacher. You know what people need to learn to do the thing you are teaching about, and you get it across clearly and simply. You motivate and encourage, you make me curious.

    You keep great track of where you are in your discussions. Whenever you say “I’ll get to that in a minute” you DO.

    You keep a good balance between telling us exactly how to do something and encouraging our own creativity.

    You have such a good sense of what to teach. There is SO much information about claying that I would imagine that one of hardest things to do when creating the beginner’s video was to decide what not to include. But you kept it all to a manageable level so that, as someone starting out, it didn’t feel like I was getting overwhelmed by the information or that you were pushing me to buy too many tools and pieces of equipment. You always seem to keep a good balance between providing information and options on the one hand, and not being overwhelming and confusing on the other.

    Like a great book, this video is a resource I keep returning to, over and over.

    So, how could you improve the course? That’s a hard one… The only thing I can come up with is having a way to provide updates, without re-doing the video. There aren’t very many that I can think of; most of the areas where you have devised a new technique could really be called a more advanced method, or a spendier one that a newbie might not best be advised to pursue (e.g. Ren Wax vs Future).

    In fact, there is only 1 example I can think of: the switch in name & packaging for Future/Pledge. On the page where the video player is, you could write a paragraph or two about the new information. Yes, that information is available via the search box, but newbies would not know that they needed to look it up until after they had struggled to find the product.

    So, thank you for providing the great gift of this video, and I hope my comments have helped.


  4. Cindy Lietz, 03 May, 2014

    WOW!!!! You absolutely made my day Fran. Thank you so much for taking the time to write those very kind words. You are WONDERFUL!!!

    By the way, your suggestions about being able to keep the course updated, are already in the planning stages. Doug is working on an app for that :-)

  5. Ginny M, 12 May, 2014

    Hi Cindy,
    I hope you had a lovely Mothers day, I’m not sure if that is only a U.S. holiday. Today when my daughter in law was over she asked me if I thought I could make a cell phone cover with Polymer clay? Do you think that would be possible? It sure would fun , I just can’t imagine how it could be done:)

  6. Cindy Lietz, 12 May, 2014

    Hi Ginny, Hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day as well! Yes you can make cell phone covers from polymer clay, but I haven’t figured out how to myself yet. From what I have heard, there are some people who have made them, but I am not sure if they are just making sheets of polymer that they bake first and then glue to a manufacturers cell case or if they are making a mold of some sort.

    I have thought a little about making them, but worry about the constant changing sizes and shapes of all the different phones out there making it tricky to have a tutorial that will be ‘evergreen’ and won’t go out of date too soon so I haven’t put the effort in to figure out something yet.

    You may want to do a Google search on polymer clay cell phone covers and see if something turns up. If I do figure out a good way of doing it that can be adapted to whatever cell you have, then I most certainly will do a tutorial on it. I am sure everyone would love to personalize their phones!

  7. Lily R, 14 May, 2014


    I downloaded the Photon App as you suggested (it cost just a few dollars), and it was so worth it! Now I can conveniently watch your older videos on my iPhone while my husband watches hockey!

    Since you are in Canada you might appreciate this: Stanley Cup playoffs are going on right now and I pretty much lose my husband to hockey for a few weeks. Luckily, I have your wonderful tutorials to keep me busy!

    I had dabbled in poly clay before, but was turned off from it all when I burned a piece and my house was overcome by fumes. You are a wonderful instructor and after watching your Beginners Course videos, I’ve mustered up the courage to try again.

    After the Beginner course, I’m purchasing your Faux Abalone Technique video. I loved your Abalone samples and hope I can achieve similar results.

    I also recently purchased Suze Weinberg’s Melting Pot. Although it’s mainly for melting UTEE, it says on the packaging that you can bake polyclay in it. Have you baked polyclay in one of these before? It would be great if you could put it to the test in your “Testing Lab” videos which are magnificent!


  8. Cindy Lietz, 14 May, 2014

    Hi Lily,

    Glad to hear that the Photon App worked out so well for you (and your husband too, LOL).

    By the way, the Faux Abalone Videos will play on your iPhone without having to use the Photon App. All of the videos from Vol-035 to present, use a format that works directly on most every mobile device out there.

    Now in regards to the Melting Pot… although technically it can be used to bake small pieces of polymer clay, there is no easy way to control/monitor the temperature. And as you now know from the Beginners Course, this is such an important consideration to ensure proper curing of your polymer clay beads. The melting pot could work for getting a partial cure when you are doing techniques like I demonstrate in my Deep Crackle Faux Raku Tutorial (Vol-014), but other than that I would not use it for normal baking. Instead, use a good toaster oven and thermometer.

    Thank you for your compliments! I am happy that you are enjoying and learning from the tutorials!

  9. Julia G, 16 May, 2014

    A quick question that I can’t remember seeing answered in your tutorials…. once you have made some beads how long can you wait before cooking them? Days? Weeks? Forever? I’d be really grateful for an answer whenever you can give it. No rush! LOVED seeing Fisher on your video last night. Boy does he look like you! THANKS.

  10. Cindy Lietz, 18 May, 2014

    Thank you Julia for the sweet question. As long as your raw clay is not in too warm a place or sitting on something absorb ant, you can wait a long time before baking it. I don’t know if I would wait years though… seems like it would get covered in dust by then! ;)

  11. Mara J, 01 August, 2015

    Is spray painting over your polymer clay project after it’s been baked a good idea?

    Thank You

  12. Cindy Lietz, 04 August, 2015

    Not usually… most spray paints have chemicals in them that are not compatible with polymer clay. You would have to do some extensive testing to be sure the brand and type of spray paint was compatible and didn’t cause your clay to get sticky over time. I do not know of any brand that is compatible though it is possible. Test first.

  13. Ari F, 15 November, 2015

    will the rubbing alcohol make fluorescent/ glow in the dark polymer clay lose its luminescent qualities?

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