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How to Remove Crayon Stains from Clothes

You’re doing laundry, and suddenly, you spot it – a stubborn crayon stain marring your child’s favorite shirt. It’s a common problem that can cause a lot of frustration, especially if you need help tackling it. But don’t worry, it’s more manageable than it seems.

Crayon Stains 101

Comprehending the nature of crayon stains forms the basis of effective treatment strategies. With this knowledge, taking care of your clothes becomes more manageable.

Types of Fabrics Affected

Any fabric, from lightest silk to rugged denim, is vulnerable to crayon stains. However, the severity of these stains can differ. Porous materials like cotton or linen absorb more wax, making the stains appear more prominent. On the other hand, smoother fabrics, such as silk and nylon, allow for easier crayon stain removal due to their less porous nature.

The Composition of Crayons

The makeup of crayons explains their persistence on fabric. At their core, crayons are a blend of two primary components: wax and pigment. Wax, characterized by its water-repelling properties, binds the pigment to the fabric. The pigment, responsible for the color, adheres to the fabric’s fibers. Recognizing this fusion provides a clearer picture of the task when confronted with a crayon stain. However, with the proper techniques, detaching this challenging collaboration is within your grasp.

Pre-treatment Tips for Crayon Stains

After comprehending how crayon stains behave on different fabrics, you can remove them better. Tailoring your approach increases the chances of successful stain removal without damaging the clothing. Let’s dive into the necessary pre-treatment steps specific to these stubborn stains.

Removing Excess Crayon

Shedding the surplus crayon from the clothes before any wet treatment is crucial. When moistened, extra crayons can spread to other areas, compounding your problem. Scrape gently and carefully using a butter knife or a spoon’s edge. You don’t want to push the crayon deeper into the fabric. For tiny, stubborn pieces, try covering them with a thin plastic bag and running an iron over them on a low setting. The heat melts the crayon, which the bag catches, making cleaning easier.

Choosing the Right Solvent

Select the correct solvent for your stain. The wax and colored pigments of a crayon don’t dissolve in water. You’d require something more substantial but safe for your clothing. In this context, WD-40 often works wonders. It’s an exceptional crayon stain remover. Yet, always test a small, hidden part of the garment first. If WD-40 is unsuitable or unavailable, rubbing alcohol or dish soap mixed with warm water can also break down the wax and lift off the pigment. Choose a solvent that’s gentle on your clothing but tough on crayon stains.

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Crayon

Embarking on crayon stain removal requires patience and a systematic approach. Let’s delve into the detailed cleanup process.

Preparing the Stained Clothing

First, preparation of your stained garment is crucial for effective stain removal. This involves isolating the stained clothing from other clothes to prevent potential color transfer during treatment. Utilize a blunt object like a butter knife to scrape off as much excess crayon as possible without damaging the material. For embedded crayons, lay a clean white paper towel over the affected area and run a warm iron over it to soften and lift the crayon. Ensure you change the paper towel regularly until no more crayons transfer onto it. Avoid using colored or printed towels to prevent unwanted dye transfer onto your garment.

Applying Stain Removal Techniques

Next, apply the stain pre-treatment. If you’ve selected WD-40, rub a modest amount onto the stained area and let it sit for minutes. For dish soap mixed with warm water or rubbing alcohol, saturate the stained area with your chosen solution, gently rub it in, and let it sit for about 10 to 15 minutes unless it’s required to be soaked longer per manufacturer’s guidelines. If the stain persists, consider repeating this step. However, be cautious to avoid weakening your fabric, mainly when using solid solvents.

Washing and Rinsing the Fabric

Finally, it’s time to wash and rinse your garment. This involves cleaning the treated garment in insulation, using the hottest water acceptable for the fabric type according to care labels, and preferably, a high-quality laundry detergent. Rinse thoroughly, eliminating all solvents and loosened pigments. Check if the stain is gone after rinsing; avoid drying the garment immediately if it’s still visible. Instead, repeat the cleaning process until you achieve a no-stain finish. Remember, drying can set the crayon stain, making removing it challenging.

Other Effective Crayon Removal Methods

This article explores additional crayon removal techniques, including heat-based and alternative household products.

Using Heat-based Techniques

One impactful approach involves thermal methods. First, place a clean, absorbent rag under the affected fabric. Holding a hair dryer at an optimal distance, apply gentle heat to coax the crayon’s wax out of the clothes. This convection ensures the wax softens and gets absorbed by the rag, not melting directly onto the fabric.

Next, apply a laundry stain remover and wash the article of clothing separately, not exceeding its maximum advised temperature. Lastly, refrain from transferring the garment to the dryer until no stain remnants persist.

Another heat-based technique involves ironing. Sandwich the stained fabric between a paper towel and an iron-friendly cloth; the iron’s heat absorbs the crayon residue into the paper towel. To avoid further embedding the stain, it’s crucial to change the paper towel frequently during this process.

The heat-based process can be repeated if necessary, bearing in mind the tolerable heat levels of the fabric in question.

Alternative Household Products

It can be surprising and valuable to discover that everyday household products can act as effective stain-removal agents. Baking soda, for instance, is an abrasive cleaner. Make a paste using three parts baking soda and one part water. Rub this paste gently into the stain, then wash as typically directed.

Another proven effective substance is vinegar. When diluted with water and combined with scrubbing, white vinegar can help eliminate crayon stains.

Also, shaving cream can work miracles on crayon stains. Directly applying it onto the stain, allowing it to sit for a few minutes, and then washing the garment can yield beneficial results.

Again, ensure the stain has been removed before drying the garment, as heat can permanently set crayon stains. Based on the nature and size of the crayon stain, employ these methods as alternatives or complements.


So, you’ve got the knowledge and the tools to conquer any stubborn crayon stain. Remember, the key is to act quickly and only take time to dry the garment once you’re sure the stain’s gone. Whether it’s WD-40, dish soap, rubbing alcohol, or heat-based methods, you’ve got various options. Feel free to experiment with alternative household products like baking soda, vinegar, and shaving cream. No matter the fabric or the size of the stain, you’re now equipped to handle it. Say goodbye to the frustration of crayon-stained clothes and hello to pristine, clean fabrics. You’ve got this!

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