How to Remove Pencil Stains From Clothes

How to Remove Pencil Stains From Clothing

The Spruce / Michela Buttignol

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 5 - 10 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins - 1 hr
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0-$10

If you use wooden or mechanical pencils regularly, then you have probably gotten graphite stains on your clothes. Whether you accidentally drop a pencil on your shirt sleeve or stash one in your pants pocket, you're bound to end up with those gray marks marring an outfit or two. No worries, though—pencil stains are easy to remove.

Erasing pencil marks from washable fabrics such as cotton, linen, or polyester begins with one obvious tool: an eraser. Just make sure you use the right kind of eraser so that you don't damage your clothing.

Here are steps to remove pencil stains from clothes with the right tools and techniques.


Click Play to Learn How to Remove Pencil Stains in a Few Simple Steps

 Stain Type  Pencil
 Detergent type  Stain removal stick, laundry detergent
 Water Temperature Cool
Cycle Type Normal

Before You Begin

Before you reach for a stain stick, gel, or spray, please note that some pencil stains can be removed by simply employing a pencil's greatest foe: the rubber eraser.

Gently rubbing a solid block eraser brick (the softer the better) will work better than the common pink eraser you find on the end of a pencil. The smaller erasers on pencils often smear graphite and other materials like dirt or food. A large, soft, high-quality eraser works much better at removing pencil stains from your clothing.

Make sure the eraser is clean and free of previously erased graphite or pen because these substances can transfer onto your fabric.


If you can't find an eraser, you can also try using a folded or balled-up rubber band to gently rub and lift the pencil park.

materials for removing pencil eraser stains
The Spruce / Taylor Nebrija 

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Soft pencil eraser
  • Washing machine and dryer


  • Stain remover stick, gel, or spray
  • Dry spotter (optional)
  • Absorbent pad (optional)
  • Laundry detergent


Steps to Remove Pencil Stains

Although there are slightly varied ways to remove pencil marks and stains, it is possible to find a solution best for you based on the cleaning materials you already have in your home.

  1. Erase the Pencil Stain

    Rub a pencil eraser gently on the stained area of your laundry. Often a few passes with an eraser are enough to remove the marks from clothing.

    Be mindful of the fabric when erasing pencil stains so that you do not ruin the material in the process!

    person erasing pencil stains from a garment
    The Spruce / Taylor Nebrija 
  2. Apply a Stain Stick, Gel, or Remover to the Pencil Stain

    Apply your preferred stain remover to the stained area. Be sure to follow the instructions for the stain remover. 

    • For example, spray on a dry-cleaning solvent, apply a dry spotter to rub into the fabric, and cover the stain with a pad before the material stands for about thirty minutes.
    • Alternatively, mix a tablespoon of dishwashing detergent (liquid preferred) with two cups of cool water on the sponge and blot the stain until the liquid is absorbed.
    person applying stain remover to a garment
    The Spruce / Taylor Nebrija  
  3. Wash the Garment Normally

    Wash the clothing normally using the correct temperature setting for your fabric.

    If the stain remains after washing, be sure to repeat the above steps before finally drying the garment because a dryer's heat may set the stain.

    person holding a laundry basket
    The Spruce / Taylor Nebrija 

When to Call a Professional

Some fabrics require extra care. With silk and vintage clothing, it is better to be safe than sorry—just take these items to a professional dry cleaner as soon as possible. Point out and identify the stain to help your professional cleaner choose the proper treatment. 

Additional Tips for Handling Pencil Stains

For wool, acetate, rayon, and other fabrics labeled dry clean only, pencil marks can usually be tackled at home with a few tweaks to the above techniques.

  • First, rub a soft eraser gently over the stain with care not to rip, pull, or abrade the fabric.
  • Apply a dry-cleaning solvent and dry spotter from a home dry cleaning kit.
  • Cover the stained area with a pad and allow it to sit for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover and spray with solvent again. Allow it to air dry.
  • If the stain remains, dab the stain with water and apply a wet spotter from your kit, and again allow it to air dry.


Resist the urge to try a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on any pencil-stained article of clothing. While, in theory, it could work, it could also damage the fabric in the process. Magic Erasers are slightly abrasive, so even gentle rubbing might create micro-tears in fabrics. Save these erasers for stains on hard surfaces.