How to Erase Crayon from Paper

Crayon is a wonderful medium for children’s art, allowing them to express their creativity with bold, vibrant colours. But those same bright hues can become a real headache when little hands use crayons where they shouldn’t – on walls, furniture, books, and other surfaces that were not meant to be a canvas. Crayon marks on paper can be particularly stubborn, seeming to defy all attempts to remove them.

However, with the right approach, it is possible to safely and effectively erase crayons from paper surfaces. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the best methods for removing crayons from paper, offering step-by-step instructions and tips to help you restore your paper goods to pristine condition. Whether you’re dealing with a stray mark on an important document or cleaning up after a colouring session has gone awry, this article will provide you with the knowledge and tools needed to tackle that waxy, colourful mess.

Erase Crayon from Paper

Crayon on Paper

Crayon is a wax-based drawing implement made from a mixture of wax, pigment, and other binding agents. When applied to paper, the wax in the crayon melts and binds to the paper fibres, making the marks difficult to remove. This is part of what gives crayon its signature bold, vibrant look, but it also means that getting rid of those marks can be quite challenging.

The type of paper you’re working with can also impact the difficulty of crayon removal. Thinner, more absorbent papers like newsprint or copy paper will tend to hold onto crayons more stubbornly than thicker, coated papers like cardstock or photo paper. The texture of the paper can also play a role, with smooth, glossy surfaces sometimes proving easier to clean than rough, fibrous ones.

Regardless of the paper type, attempting to erase crayons the wrong way can lead to further damage, smearing the wax and pigment deeper into the paper fibres. That’s why it’s important to use the right techniques and materials to safely and effectively remove crayons from paper surfaces.

Paper Types and Crayon Removal Difficulty

Paper TypeCrayon Removal Difficulty
Newsprint, Copy PaperMore Difficult
Cardstock, Photo PaperEasier
Smooth, Glossy PaperEasier
Rough, Fibrous PaperMore Difficult

Prepare the Area

Before you begin the crayon removal process, it’s important to properly prepare the work area. This will help ensure the best possible results and prevent any unintended damage.

Start by ensuring the paper surface is clean and free of any debris or dust. Use a soft, dry cloth to gently wipe away any loose particles that could interfere with the cleaning process.

Next, protect the surrounding area. Place the paper on a flat, clean surface, such as a table or countertop, and cover it with a clean, absorbent towel or blotting paper. This will help catch any excess moisture or residue that may come up during the cleaning.

If you’re working on a delicate or valuable document, consider placing a piece of clean, white-blotting paper or tissue directly on top of the affected area. This will help absorb any solvents or moisture without transferring any colour or texture to the paper itself.

Finally, ensure you have all the necessary cleaning materials on hand and ready to use. This will allow you to work quickly and efficiently, minimizing the time the paper is exposed to any potentially damaging agents.

Mechanical Crayon Removal Methods

The first line of defence against stubborn crayon marks on paper is typically mechanical removal methods. These techniques rely on physical action to lift the wax and pigment off the paper surface without the use of solvents or chemicals.


One of the most straightforward ways to remove crayons from paper is by using a clean, high-quality eraser. Look for an art or drafting eraser that is soft and pliable, as these types of erasers are designed to lift away waxy media without damaging the paper surface.

To use an eraser, gently rub it over the crayon mark in small, circular motions. Apply light to moderate pressure, being careful not to grind the eraser into the paper, which could create unwanted texture or damage the fibres.

If the eraser begins to leave behind residue or smear the crayon, stop and switch to a clean section of the eraser. You may need to use multiple clean sections to effectively lift the crayon without further embedding it into the paper.


Another effective mechanical method is blotting. This technique involves using an absorbent material to lift the wax and pigment directly off the paper.

Start by placing a clean, soft cloth or blotting paper over the crayon mark. Gently press down on the cloth, applying moderate pressure to transfer the wax and colour onto the absorbent material. Lift the cloth and inspect the results, repeating the blotting process with fresh sections of the cloth until no more crayon transfers.

Be careful not to rub or scrub the cloth, as this can grind the crayon further into the paper fibres. The key is to use a gentle, dabbing motion to lift the wax without disturbing the paper surface.


For stubborn crayon marks, you may need to resort to a more aggressive mechanical approach – scraping. This method involves using a dull, flat tool to carefully lift the waxy crayon from the paper.

Begin by placing a clean, soft cloth or paper towel beneath the affected area to catch any debris. Then, using a clean, plastic putty knife or the dull edge of a butter knife, gently scrape the surface of the paper in the direction of the paper grain. Apply light to moderate pressure, being careful not to tear or damage the paper.

If the scraping tool starts to catch on the paper or the crayon mark, stop and switch to a fresh, clean edge. You may need to repeatedly replace the scraping tool to avoid grinding the wax deeper into the paper.

Chemical Crayon Removal Methods

If the mechanical methods don’t fully remove the crayon mark, you may need to turn to chemical solvents to help lift the waxy residue. However, it’s important to exercise caution when using chemicals on paper, as they can potentially damage the material if not used properly.

Always perform a spot test on a small, inconspicuous area of the paper to ensure the solvent won’t discolour or degrade the surface. Start with the mildest options and work your way up to stronger solvents only if necessary.

Isopropyl Alcohol

One of the gentler chemical options for removing crayons from paper is isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol. This solvent can help break down the waxy binders in crayons without being overly harsh on the paper.

To use isopropyl alcohol, dampen a clean, soft cloth or cotton ball with the solvent. Gently dab the affected area, being careful not to saturate the paper. Allow the alcohol to sit for a moment, then blot the area with a clean, dry cloth to lift the dissolved crayon.

Repeat this process, using fresh sections of the cloth, until the crayon mark is fully removed. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing, as this can spread the crayon further into the paper.

Once the area is clean, be sure to blot it dry with a clean cloth and allow the paper to fully air dry before handling or storing it.

Lighter Fluid

For more stubborn crayon marks, you may need to turn to a stronger solvent like lighter fluid (naphtha). This petroleum-based solvent can be effective at dissolving and lifting waxy crayon residue.

As with isopropyl alcohol, start by doing a spot test on a small, inconspicuous area of the paper. Dampen a clean cloth or cotton ball with the lighter fluid and gently dab the affected crayon mark. Allow it to sit for a moment, then blot the area with a clean, dry cloth to lift the dissolved crayon.

Take care not to oversaturate the paper, as lighter fluid can be quite harsh and potentially damage the paper fibres if left in contact for too long. Work in small sections, blotting frequently to avoid over-wetting the paper.

Once the crayon mark is removed, be sure to thoroughly blot the area dry and allow the paper to air dry completely before handling. The strong solvent odour will also need to dissipate before the paper is safe to use.

Enzymatic Cleaners

For particularly stubborn crayon marks or delicate paper surfaces, you may want to consider using an enzymatic cleaner specifically formulated for art and paper restoration.

These specialized cleaners contain enzymes that help break down the waxy components of crayon without harming the paper. They are gentler than harsh solvents and can be an effective option for removing crayons from fragile or valuable documents.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when using an enzymatic cleaner. Typically, you’ll want to lightly mist or dab the affected area, then allow the cleaner to work for the recommended time before blotting the area dry with a clean cloth.

Be sure to thoroughly test the enzymatic cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area of the paper before applying it to the full crayon mark. This will help ensure it doesn’t cause any unintended discolouration or damage.

Additional Tips for Removing Crayon from Paper

In addition to the specific removal methods outlined above, here are some additional tips to help you effectively erase crayons from paper:

  1. Start with the Mildest Approach: Always begin with the gentlest cleaning method and work your way up to stronger solvents or techniques only if necessary. This will help minimize the risk of damaging the paper surface.
  2. Work Gently and Slowly: When applying any cleaning method, whether mechanical or chemical, be sure to work slowly and gently. Avoid scrubbing or rubbing vigorously, as this can grind the crayon further into the paper fibres.
  3. Blot, Don’t Rub: When using solvents or blotting techniques, always dab or blot the affected area rather than rubbing. Rubbing can spread the crayon and potentially damage the paper.
  4. Test in an Inconspicuous Area: Before treating the full crayon mark, always perform a spot test on a small, hidden area of the paper to ensure the cleaning method won’t cause discolouration, texturing, or other unintended damage.
  5. Work in Sections: When dealing with large crayon marks, work in small, manageable sections rather than trying to tackle the entire area at once. This will help you maintain control and avoid over-wetting the paper.
  6. Allow Proper Drying Time: After using any solvent-based cleaning methods, be sure to allow the paper to fully air dry before handling or storing it. Trapped moisture can lead to warping, staining, or other issues.
  7. Avoid Heat: Never attempt to remove crayons from paper by applying heat, such as with an iron or hair dryer. The heat can further set the waxy crayon into the paper fibres, making the stain even more difficult to remove.
  8. Seek Professional Help for Delicate Items: If you’re dealing with a valuable, fragile, or irreplaceable document or artwork, it’s best to consult a professional paper conservator or art restorer. They have the specialized training and equipment to safely and effectively remove crayons without damaging the item.

Recommended Crayon Removal Products

To help make the crayon removal process easier, here are some recommended products that can be effective for removing crayons from paper:

  1. Kneaded Eraser: Prismacolor Kneaded Eraser – A soft, pliable eraser that’s gentle on paper surfaces.
  2. Art Gum Eraser: Prismacolor Art Gum Eraser – A crumbly, absorbent eraser that can lift crayons without damaging paper.
  3. Lighter Fluid: Zippo Lighter Fluid – A petroleum-based solvent that can effectively dissolve stubborn crayon marks.
  4. Enzymatic Cleaner: Guardsman Paper & Textile Cleaner – An enzyme-based cleaner formulated for art and paper restoration.
  5. Blotting Paper: Canson Blotting Paper – High-quality blotting paper to help lift wax and pigment from the paper surface.


Removing crayons from paper can be a challenging task, but with the right techniques and a bit of patience, it is possible to restore your paper goods to their former glory. By starting with gentle mechanical methods and selectively employing chemical solvents, you can carefully lift those waxy crayon marks without causing further damage to the paper surface.

Remember to always test any cleaning approach on a small, inconspicuous area first, work slowly and gently, and allow for proper drying time. With these guidelines in mind, you’ll be well on your way to erasing those crayon marks and preserving your important papers, artwork, and documents.

Sharing Is Caring:

As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.

Leave a Comment