How to Remove Crayon Stains From Every Surface

a child coloring

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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 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.

Stain Type Oil-based
Detergent Type Heavy-duty laundry detergent
Wash Temperature Varies

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.

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 spots.

Project Metrics

  • Working Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes plus washing and drying time

What You'll Need

Supplies:

  • White paper towel
  • WD-40 spray
  • Liquid dishwashing detergent
  • Heavy-duty laundry detergent

Tools:

  • Dull knife
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Washing machine
  • Dryer or clothesline
  1. Pretreat With Oil

    Place a folded white paper towel under the stained area of 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.

  2. Scrape Away Any Solids

    Use a dull knife or the edge of a credit card to gently lift any crayon solids from the surface.

  3. Treat With Detergent

    Rub a bit of liquid dishwashing detergent into the oil-treated crayon mark. Work the soap into the stained area with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush. You can also use a good-quality detergent (Tide and Persil are two products that are heavy-duty and have enough enzymes to break apart the wax and oil molecules). Let the detergent work on the stain for 15 minutes.

  4. 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.

Still Seeing Color?

If any crayon color remains on clothing or other washable fabrics, 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 From Carpet and Upholstery

Crayon can work its way deep into the fibers of carpet and upholstery and may need repeated treatment.

Project Metrics

  • Working Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: Drying time varies

What You'll Need

Supplies:

  • Dry cleaning solvent
  • White cloths

Tools:

  • Dull knife
  • Vacuum
  1. Remove Any Solids

    Remove any crayon solids from the fibers with a dull knife or the edge of a spoon.

  2. Vacuum the Fibers

    Vacuum the carpet or fabric to remove any small crayon pieces. This works better than your fingers, which may smear the crayon if it gets too warm.

  3. 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. When the stain is gone, rinse off the residual solvent by blotting with a clean cloth dampened with water. Note: 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.

Freeze Melted Crayon

If the crayons have somehow melted into the carpet or upholstery fibers, place some ice in a plastic bag. Put the bag on the melted crayon wax and leave it for at least 30 minutes. This will harden the crayon wax so you can break it away from the fibers with your fingers and vacuum it away.

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.

Project Metrics

  • Working Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes

What You'll Need

Supplies:

  • WD-40 spray
  • White cloths

Tools:

  • Plastic scraper
  • Rags
  • Old towels
  1. Spray With Oil

    Spray each stain in the dryer drum with WD-40. Wipe up any drips that run beyond the stain. Let the oil work for a few minutes.

  2. Scrape the Smears

    Use a plastic scraper to remove the smears of crayon, then wipe each area with a rag. Repeat spraying, scraping, and wiping as needed until no more traces of crayon remain.

  3. Wipe Down the Drum

    Clean the entire drum with a rag dampened with warm water to remove all oily residue. Rinse the rag and repeat for a thorough cleaning.

  4. 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.

Project Metrics

  • Total Time: 2 minutes to 1 hour depending on how many marks

What You'll Need

Supplies:

  • Mayonnaise or vegetable oil

Tools:

  • White cloths
  1. Spread the Mayo

    Dab a bit of mayonnaise or oil onto a white cloth. Rub the crayon marks with the cloth. Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth as the crayon is transferred.

  2. Wipe and Dry

Rinse the wall 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.