A box of sharpened, brightly colored crayons is usually the first art supply of our childhood. It is magical to a child to see the colors appear on paper as they create a masterpiece. But when those same bright colors are melted into pockets, ground into the carpet, used to decorate a wall, or smeared inside the dryer, they're suddenly a lot less magical.
Most of the time, crayons don't leave significant stains or marks on fabrics unless the crayon wax melts. And anyone with kids knows how crayons seem to find their way into little pockets, where they wreak havoc when the heat of the dryer causes them to melt. While it may seem counterintuitive, usually the best way to remove crayon stains is to apply some oil. (Don't worry, you can easily remove the oil stain along with the crayon).
The one thing you don't want to do is put any clothes with crayon marks on them into the dryer. As soon as the fabric heats up and the crayon melts, the dryer drum gets streaked with color that can transfer to every garment in the load.
The good news is that it's possible to remove crayon marks and stains from most every surface, including clothing, carpets, walls, and the dryer, with simple household products and patience.
|Wash Temperature||Varies depending on the type of fabric|
|Cycle type||Varies depending on the type of fabric|
Before You Begin
Check the garment label before making a plan of attack. If the label says "dry clean only," head to an expert and point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner. Alternatively, you may decide to clean the fabric at home by blotting the stain with a commercial dry cleaning solvent. Or, if you have a home dry cleaning kit, treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.
If the crayon has stained upholstery fabric that is vintage or silk, contact a professional upholstery cleaner for recommendations.
Equipment / Tools
- Dull knife
- Soft-bristled brush
- Washing machine
- Dryer or clothesline
Carpet and Upholstery
- Dull knife
- Plastic scraper
- Old towels
- White cloths
- White paper towel
- Liquid dishwashing detergent
- Heavy-duty laundry detergent
Carpet and Upholstery
- Dry cleaning solvent
- White cloths
- WD-40 spray
- White cloths
How to Remove Crayon Stains From Clothes
While any oil (cooking oil, butter, mayonnaise) can be used as a pretreatment for crayon stains, you can also use WD-40 spray, which is particularly handy because it is easy to spray on just the crayon-stained marks.
Pretreat With Oil
- Place a folded white paper towel under the stained area of the fabric, then spray directly onto the stain with WD-40.
- Turn the fabric over and spray the stain on the wrong side of the fabric. If you decide to use another type of oil, put the oil on a clean white cloth and dab it on both sides of the stain.
- Let the oil work for at least 15 minutes to loosen the crayon wax.
Scrape Away Any Solids
Lift any crayon solids gently from the surface using a dull knife or the edge of a credit card.
Treat With Detergent
- Rub a bit of liquid dishwashing detergent into the oil-treated crayon mark. (You can also use a good-quality laundry detergent.)
- Work the soap into the stained area with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush.
- Let the detergent work on the stain for 15 minutes.
Wash and Dry
Wash the garment as usual, following the fabric care label instructions. Inspect the clothing carefully to make sure all traces of the stain are gone before drying the item. If the stain remains, do not dry the clothing and move to the next step.
Mix a Soaking Solution
- Mix a solution of warm water and oxygen-based bleach (OxiClean, Clorox 2, Country Save Bleach, or Purex 2 Color Safe Bleach) following the product directions.
- Completely submerge the stained items and allow them to soak at least four hours or overnight. Then rewash as usual.
How to Remove Crayon on Carpets and Upholstery
Crayon can work its way deep into the fibers of carpet and upholstery and the treatment may need to be repeated to fully remove the stain.
Remove Any Solids
Remove any crayon solids from the fibers with a dull knife or the edge of a spoon.
Vacuum the Fibers
Vacuum the carpet or fabric to remove any small crayon pieces.
Treat With Solvent
- Blot the stain with a clean white cloth dampened with dry cleaning solvent. Change the cloth as it becomes colored with the crayon.
- Rinse off the residual solvent, when the stain is gone, by blotting with a clean cloth dampened with water.
If you haven't used the same solvent on the fabric or carpet before, test the cleaner in an inconspicuous area to make sure there's no discoloration before applying it to the stain.
How to Remove Melted Crayon From a Clothes Dryer
When a crayon melts and leaves residue in the dryer, it is important to clean it off the dryer drum. If you don't, any traces of crayon wax will continue to transfer to other fabrics when the dryer heats up again.
Spray With Oil
- Spray each stain in the dryer drum with WD-40.
- Wipe up any drips that run beyond the stain with a rag.
- Let the oil work for a few minutes.
Scrape the Smears
Remove the smears of crayon with a plastic scraper, then wipe each area with a clean rag. Repeat spraying, scraping, and wiping as needed until no more traces of crayon remain.
Wipe Down the Drum
Clean the entire drum with a clean rag dampened with warm water to remove all oily residue. Rinse the rag and repeat for a thorough cleaning.
Dry Some Old Towels
Toss in a couple of old towels and dry them on high heat for at least five minutes so the towels can absorb any traces of oil that remain.
How to Remove Crayon Marks From Painted Walls
An oily substance works to remove crayon from walls, too. In this case, mayonnaise is the best cleaner because it wipes off easily and won't damage or dull the paint.
Spread the Mayo
- Dab a bit of mayonnaise or oil onto a clean white cloth.
- Rub the crayon marks with the cloth.
- Move to a clean area of the cloth as the crayon is transferred.
Wipe and Dry
Rinse the wall with a clean white cloth dipped in plain water. If necessary, repeat the mayo application until the stain is gone. Dry with a clean white cloth.
Additional Tips for Handling Crayon Marks and Stains
- Check your kid's pockets before throwing clothes in the washer to avoid any mishaps.
- After washing, double-check the clothing to make sure the stain is completely gone before putting it in the dryer.
- Choose an inconspicuous area to test the product you're going to use, whether it be for a piece of clothing, carpet, or the wall, to ensure it doesn't discolor it before proceeding with the stain removal.