How to Get Crayon Out of Clothes—Even After the Dryer

If crayons have stained your laundry, these 5 methods can make it look new again

How to Remove Crayon Stains

The Spruce / Joules Garcia

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins - 1 hr
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5 to $10

If you just realized that an entire load of laundry has been ruined by a lone crayon left in the washing machine, you might be feeling a little hopeless. Crayon stains, which combine dye with a waxy oil stain, are notoriously difficult to remove. But it is possible to get crayons out of clothes, and you can use some common household items to do it.

Start by pulling out the clothes that most need to be treated and identifying where the crayon left its mark. Don't put crayon-stained clothes in the dryer. You can get crayon out of clothes that went through the dryer, but it's even more difficult. Not only will the dryer's drum get marks of crayon on it, but the stains on the clothing will "set" from the heat of the dryer.

Here's what you need to know about how to get crayons out of clothes, including how to get wax out of clothes that have been washed and dried.

Stain type Oil-based
Detergent type Heavy-duty
Water temperature Varies by type of fabric
Cycle type Varies by type of fabric

Before You Begin

Aim to remove a crayon stain from clothes as soon as possible. This will prevent it from setting and becoming more stubborn to get rid of. In addition, just as you should avoid putting crayon-stained laundry in the dryer, you should also keep it out of direct sun and hot temperatures.

When to Call a Professional 

If you're dealing with delicate, vintage, or dry clean-only fabric that has a crayon stain, it's often best to bring it to professional cleaners rather than attempting to remove the stain at home. Be sure to point out all stained spots to the cleaners.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

Melted Crayon

  • Ice pack
  • Dull knife
  • Washing machine

WD-40

  • Dull knife
  • Washing machine

Dish Soap

  • Dull knife
  • Soft cleaning cloths
  • Washing machine

Stain Remover

  • Dull knife
  • Washing machine

Hot Water

  • Dull knife
  • Washing machine

Materials

Melted Crayon

  • Oxygen-based bleach, such as OxiClean
  • Warm water
  • Laundry detergent

WD-40

  • WD-40
  • Paper towels
  • Cool water
  • Laundry detergent
  • Oxygen-based bleach, such as OxiClean (optional)

Dish Soap

  • Dish soap
  • Laundry detergent
  • Oxygen-based bleach, such as OxiClean (optional)

Stain Remover

  • Stain remover
  • Laundry detergent
  • Oxygen-based bleach, such as OxiClean (optional)

Hot Water

  • Laundry detergent
  • 1 cup Baking soda
  • Oxygen-based bleach, such as OxiClean (optional)

Instructions

How to Get Melted Crayon Out of Clothes

  1. Harden the Wax

    To get crayon off clothes that went through the dryer—or to remove melted crayon in general—first you'll have to harden the wax again. Put an ice pack on the crayon wax for about 30 minutes, so it solidifies.


  2. Remove Solid Crayon

    Scrape off as much solid crayon wax from the fabric as you can with a dull knife. (You also can use an edge of a credit card or something similar.) Be careful not to push the crayon deeper into the fabric fibers.

  3. Soak the Fabric

    Soak the fabric in warm water and oxygen-based bleach, following label dilution instructions, for at least 30 minutes.

  4. Launder the Fabric

    Wash the fabric in the hottest water it will allow. Let it air-dry, and check for staining. If it remains, repeat the process; do not put the fabric in the dryer until no crayon stain remains.

How to Get Out Crayon Stains With WD-40

There are a few things to note about using WD-40 before you begin:

  • WD-40 is filled with mineral oil, so it may cause oil stains in polyester clothes, as polyester is oleophilic (bonds to oils). It has a much better chance of helping natural fabrics, as plastic fabrics like nylon and polyester all bond to oil.
  • WD-40 also does not smell pleasant, so you likely will need to wash the fabric in laundry detergent after treating it with WD-40 to get the smell out.
  1. Remove Solid Crayon

    Use your dull knife to scrape off as much solid crayon as possible. WD-40 gets crayon out of clothes by making the wax more slick and loosening it from the fabric fibers. But you can help the process and minimize the amount of WD-40 you need by getting rid of as much crayon as you can first.

  2. Spray the Crayon Stain With WD-40

    First, test the WD-40 on a hidden area of the fabric to make sure it won't damage the material. If it doesn't, spray WD-40 on both sides of the crayon stain. It can be helpful to put paper towels between the stained area and the rest of the fabric. Let the WD-40 sit for five minutes.

  3. Thoroughly Rinse the Fabric

    Use your dull knife to lift any more crayon solids that the oil loosened. Then, thoroughly rinse the fabric in cool water. If the stain is gone, launder as normal. If staining remains, try repeating the steps or using a different method.

    Tip

    Oxygen-based bleach, such as OxiClean, can get remaining crayon out of clothes after you treat them with WD-40. WD-40 is effective at removing the waxy parts, and the oxygen-based bleach can take care of any staining. Follow the instructions on your bleach for washing, and make sure it's appropriate for your fabric type.

How to Remove Crayon Stains With Dish Soap

  1. Remove Solid Crayon

    Use a dull knife to remove as much solid crayon as you can, but avoid embedding it deeper into the fabric.

  2. Rub the Stain With Dish Soap

    Gently rub dish soap into the stained area with a soft cloth, changing sections of the cloth as the crayon stain begins to bleed away. Work from the outside of the stain toward the center, aiming to avoid spreading the stain even more. Use a gentle dabbing motion, rather than harsh scrubbing.

  3. Repeat as Needed

    Repeat until no more crayon comes up onto your cloth. Then, launder your fabric with your normal detergent. Use an oxygen-based bleach, such as OxiClean, if your fabric allows. Air-dry to ensure that the stain has disappeared before putting the fabric in the dryer.

How to Remove Crayon Stains With Stain Remover

  1. Select a Stain Remover

    Look for a stain remover stick, gel, or spray that's appropriate for your fabric type. A liquid spray often can be most effective to soak into the crayon stain. Spot-test the stain remover to make sure it won't harm your fabric.

  2. Remove Solid Crayon

    Scrape off as much solid crayon as possible from the fabric with a dull knife, making sure not to rub it into the fabric.

  3. Apply the Stain Remover

    Follow label instructions to apply the stain remover to the crayon stain. It's ideal to let it sit on the fabric for at least five minutes (but consult the label for recommended timing).

  4. Repeat as Needed

    Apply the stain remover as many times as needed until you no longer see any improvement. Then, wash the fabric, and let it air-dry. (Use an oxygen-based bleach if it's suitable for your fabric.) If you still see staining, repeat the whole process or try a different method. If not, you can wash and dry your fabric as usual.

How to Remove Crayon Stains With Hot Water

  1. Remove Solid Crayon

    Scrape off as much solid crayon as you can with your dull knife.

  2. Wash the Fabric

    Wash in the hottest water that the fabric can safely tolerate using your normal laundry detergent. The hot water will help to dissolve crayon wax. Add 1 cup of baking soda to the wash. Because it is mildly abrasive, baking soda can get crayon out of cloths by breaking up the wax and dyes. Adding oxygen-based bleach, fabric-permitting, also will help to wash out the crayon.

  3. Air-Dry the Fabric

    Allow the fabric to air-dry, and then check for any remaining stain. Repeat the process or try a different method if you still see staining. Otherwise, you can wash and dry the fabric as normal.

Additional Tips for Handling Crayon Stains

It's not uncommon when removing crayon stains for the fabric to need multiple treatments before the stain fully lifts. Stick with it until you no longer see any improvement.

Also, always check the interiors of your washer and dryer, as well as clothing pockets, for crayons. If that is the way the crayon stain got on your clothes, odds are a crayon might show up again in your wash unless you're on the lookout. Moreover, be sure to clean the insides of the washer and dryer if there are crayon marks in them prior to doing another load of laundry.

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