How to Remove Chalk Stains From Clothing

How to Remove Chalk Stains From Clothes

The Spruce / Michela Buttignol

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins - 12 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10

Drawing on the sidewalk with chalk is a great way to spend a summer day. But, you may leave your activity with a few stains on your clothing and some chalk dust that has transferred to your carpet or upholstery. Fortunately, some at-home methods help rid chalk stains from your belongings.

Note that you should never place a chalk-stained item into the dryer while the mark remains. Dryer heat can set in chalk stains, making them much more difficult to remove. Also, resist the temptation to blot a fresh chalk stain with water, as this could cause the stain to smear.


Click Play to Learn How to Remove Chalk Stains From Clothing

Stain type Mineral-based
Detergent type Regular
Water temperature Hot
Cycle type Normal

Before You Begin

Before starting the stain-removal process, shake the affected item lightly to eliminate loose chalk dust. It's best to do this outdoors because shaking the fabric inside could spread the dust to other surfaces. Shaking out the loose dust minimizes the chance of creating secondary stains during stain removal.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools


  • Clean white towels
  • Drying rack



  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Stain remover (gel or spray) or dishwashing liquid
  • Laundry detergent


materials for chalk stain removal
The Spruce / Michele Lee

How to Remove Chalk Stains From Clothing

Chalk stains on clothing can be expected after a day spent drawing on the sidewalk. But with some rubbing alcohol and a cycle through the wash, you may be able to resolve your stain quickly.

  1. Blot With Rubbing Alcohol

    Take out two clean white towels. Lay one beneath the stained garment, and dip the other in rubbing alcohol to dab the stain. Keep blotting until the chalk residue is lifted. Proceed to rinse the garment thoroughly.

    pretreating a chalk stain
    The Spruce / Michele Lee
  2. Pretreat

    Apply a touch of liquid laundry detergent, dishwashing soap, or stain remover to the affected area if the stain persists. Let sit for 15 minutes before washing.

    pretreating a chalk stain
    The Spruce / Michele Lee
  3. Wash in Hot Water

    Wash your item in the hottest temperature advised by its care label instructions.

    care label on a garment
    ​The Spruce / Michele Lee
  4. Air-Dry

    Air-dry the garment until you're sure the stain is gone. Once you're certain the item is clean, it's safe to place it in the dryer. Remember, putting your stained garment in a machine dryer may permanently set the stain, making it extremely difficult to remove.

    garment air drying on a rack
    ​The Spruce / Michele Lee 


Using rubbing alcohol on a chalk stain may be effective, but it can strip color from the garment on the wrong fabric. Always test a small spot of rubbing alcohol on an inconspicuous area of the material to ensure the item is colorfast.

When to Call a Professional

If a chalk stain remains after several removal attempts, a visit to a professional cleaner may be necessary. Performing incorrect stain removal at home can permanently damage delicate fabrics.

If the garment is labeled dry clean only, take it to your dry cleaner as soon as possible. Point out and identify the stain to help your professional cleaner choose the proper treatment. The same applies to a stain that damages silk or vintage clothing; you need to contact a professional cleaner, or else you are likely to do more damage if you try to remove the stain yourself.

Additional Tips for Handling Chalk Stains

If conventional methods fail, you can try dabbing a bit of vodka onto the chalk stain and washing as you usually would. Repeat any of these processes as many times as you think necessary. The best way to keep chalk stains off of your valued clothes is to cover up before using the chalk. Wear something over your garments that won't mind becoming stained, like a smock or old t-shirt.

  • Will chalk wash off clothes?

    It's inevitable that whether you're playing with kids or snapping a chalk line, your clothes can become dusted with chalk. Chalk, even colored chalk, will usually wash off clothes, but you should always pretreat the garment first before laundering it.

  • How do you remove chalk from fabric?

    Carefully. You will need to shake loose chalk from the fabric, blot the remaining chalk with rubbing alcohol, then pretreat the garment with a stain remover or detergent before washing it in the machine with hot water.

  • Does sidewalk chalk stain clothing?

    It may appear as though colored sidewalk chalk has stained your clothing (and carpet or upholstery), but fortunately, it does not stain fabric. However, if you put your item in a dryer before treating the stain, a chalk mark may set in and be much harder, or impossible, to remove.