How to remove stuck-on dough from a tea towel or other fabric

Dough stuck on fabric is a nightmare situation. This is especially true if the sticky doughy surfaces were not dusted with flour. I found myself in this sticky situation when I went against my own better judgement and followed some instructions on a recipe to make your own buns. Typically I would have covered rising dough with a lightly oiled sheet of cling film. However this particular recipe, called for covering the dough in a damp tea towel, and so I did.

Much to my own horror and detriment, while the buns proofed wonderfully and rose well, the tops of the buns adhere sternly to the tea towel. I did manage to just about save the buns, but the tea towels appeared to be totally ruined. Multiple stuck-on patches of dough. Oh no, what to do?

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1. Leave out to dry out

The first thing you need to do is to go against your every innate tendency and attempt to wash it out. Leave the towel out to dry completely, ideally somewhere warm or hot. I left mine over a wall radiator for a few days. This will make the dough crust up and dry out completely.

2. Scrape it off

Once the dough has thoroughly dried up, stretch the towel diagonally edge to edge and try to remove the bits. Some might fall off, the more stubborn bits may need to be scraped off with a blunt knife. When you have removed as much of the dried up dough as you can, it’s inevitable that there will be some remnants left on the tea towel.

At this point it’s time to…

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3. Soak in cold water

Dump the towel in to a bucket of cold water and leave it for a bit before trying to scrub it. When you have removed as much of the dough remnants as possible, it’s now time to wash it properly.

4. Wash/Scrub in soapy cold water

When you’re happy that most, if not all the dough bits have been removed, wash the tea towel as you would normally.

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Hurray! Fingers crossed by this stage, you’ll have a recovered, normal tea towel ready for use again.