A box of sharpened, brightly colored crayons are usually the first art supply of our childhood. It is magical to a child to see the colors appear as they create a masterpiece. But what about those rainbow colored stains on clothes, carpet, upholstery, and when they melt in the dryer? Not so magical.
How to Remove Melted Crayon Stains from Washable Clothes
Most of the time, crayons don't leave significant stains or marks on fabrics unless the crayon wax melts. For some reason, crayons seem to find their way into little pockets and wreck havoc when the heat of the dryer causes them to melt.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but to remove crayon stains the best mode of attack is to apply some oil to the fabric. (Don't worry, we'll tell you how to remove the oil stains too).
While any type of oil-cooking oil, butter, even mayonnaise-can be used, WD-40 lubricant is a light oil that can be easily sprayed on just the crayon stained spots.
Begin by placing a folded white paper towel under the stained area of fabric and then spray the WD-40 lubricant directly onto the crayon stain. Turn the fabric over and spray the stain on the wrong side of the fabric as well. 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 fifteen minutes to loosen the waxy part of the stain. Then use a dull knife or the edge of a credit card to gently lift any crayon solids from the surface.
Next, rub a bit of hand dish washing liquid into the crayon mark. Work it into the stained area with your fingers or with a soft brush. You can also use a good quality detergent (Tide and Persil are considered heavy-duty with enough enzymes to break apart the wax and oil molecules). Let the detergent work on the stain for fifteen minutes and then launder following the fabric's care label instructions.
Always check the crayon stained area before tossing the item in a hot clothes dryer. If any color remains, mix a solution warm water and oxygen-based bleach (OxiClean, Clorox 2, Country Save Bleach, or Purex 2 Color Safe Bleach are brand names) following package 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 Stains from Dry Clean Only Clothes
If the garment is labeled as dry clean only and a young artist has chosen it as a canvas, head to an expert and point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner.
If you decide to clean the fabric at home, blot the stain with a commercial dry cleaning solvent. If you are using a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.
How to Remove Crayon Stains from Carpet and Upholstery
To remove stains from carpet and upholstery, remove any crayon solids using a dull knife or edge of a spoon. Vacuum the carpet or fabric to remove any small pieces. Use the dry cleaning solvent to tackle the waxy stain and dyes following the product's instructions. If the upholstery fabric is vintage or silk, contact a professional upholstery cleaner.
How to Remove Melted Crayon Stains from a Clothes Dryer
When a crayon melts and leaves residue in the dryer, it is important to clean the dryer drum. If you don't, any traces will continue to transfer to other fabrics when the dryer heats up again.
Grab that WD-40 and spray each and every stain. Let it work for a few minutes and then use a rubber scraper to remove the solids. Wipe down with an old cloth. Repeat until no more traces remain.
Before you use the dryer again for freshly washed clothes, toss in a couple of old towels and run on high heat for at least five minutes so the towels can absorb any traces of oil that remain.
EXTRA TIP: How to Remove Crayon Marks from Painted Walls
To remove crayon marks from painted walls and surfaces, dab a bit of mayonnaise on to a white cloth. Rub the crayon marks with the mayo and then immediately wipe down with a clean white cloth dipped in plain water. Finally, dry with a soft white cloth.