How to remove crayon stains from clothes

As any parent knows, crayons and children’s clothing often go hand-in-hand. Whether it’s a toddler gleefully scribbling on their favorite shirt or an older child accidentally leaving a crayon in their pocket before a wash, crayon stains on clothes can be a frustrating and common occurrence. However, with the right techniques and products, it is possible to effectively remove these stubborn stains and get your clothing looking fresh and clean again.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the various methods for removing crayon stains, from pre-treating the stain to using specialized cleaning products. We’ll also provide valuable tips and tricks to help prevent crayon stains in the first place, ensuring your clothes stay looking their best. By the end of this article, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to tackle even the toughest crayon stains with confidence.

remove crayon stains from clothes

Crayon stains can be particularly challenging to remove due to the unique composition of crayons. Crayons are made up of a combination of wax, pigments, and other binding agents, which can create a stubborn, waxy residue when they come into contact with fabric. This waxy nature means that simply throwing the stained item in the washing machine may not be enough to effectively remove the stain.

Another factor that can complicate the removal of crayon stains is the type of fabric the stain is on. Delicate fabrics, such as silk or satin, may be more prone to damage from the aggressive cleaning methods required to tackle crayon stains. Additionally, the color of the crayon can also play a role, with brighter, more vibrant colors often proving more difficult to remove than their lighter counterparts.

Preparing the Stain for Cleaning

The first step in removing a crayon stain is to act quickly. The sooner you can address the stain, the better your chances of success. As soon as you notice the stain, try to gently scrape off any excess crayon with a dull knife, the edge of a credit card, or even a spoon. This can help prevent the stain from setting and make it easier to treat.

Next, it’s important to identify the type of fabric the stain is on. This will help you choose the appropriate cleaning method and products. Delicate fabrics, such as silk or satin, may require a more gentle approach, while sturdier fabrics like cotton or polyester can often withstand more aggressive cleaning methods.

Pre-Treating the Stain

Once you’ve prepared the stain, it’s time to start the cleaning process. One of the most effective pre-treatment methods for crayon stains is to use a stain remover or pre-treating solution. There are a variety of commercial stain removers on the market specifically designed to tackle waxy, oil-based stains like crayon.

Some top-rated options for pre-treating crayon stains include:

OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover– Lifts and removes tough, set-in stains
– Safe for use on a variety of fabrics
– Contains active oxygens to help break down stains
Persil ProClean Stain Fighter– Formulated to tackle tough, greasy stains
– Contains surfactants and enzymes to help lift stains
– Works on a wide range of fabrics
Crayola Stain Remover– Specifically designed to remove crayon, marker, and other art stains
– Safe for use on clothing, upholstery, and carpets
– Contains biodegradable ingredients

When using a stain remover, be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging carefully. Typically, you’ll want to apply the product directly to the stain, let it sit for the recommended amount of time, and then launder the item as usual. It’s important not to let the stain remover dry completely, as this can make the stain even more difficult to remove.

If you don’t have a commercial stain remover on hand, you can try using a homemade solution. One effective option is a mixture of dish soap and warm water. Simply mix a few drops of mild dish soap with warm water and gently rub the solution into the stain using a soft-bristled brush or your fingers. Let the solution sit for a few minutes before rinsing and washing the item.

Another homemade pre-treatment option is to use a small amount of rubbing alcohol or white vinegar. Apply the alcohol or vinegar directly to the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse and wash the item. Be cautious when using these stronger solutions, as they may not be suitable for delicate fabrics.

Washing the Stained Item

Once you’ve pre-treated the stain, it’s time to wash the item. When washing, it’s important to use the hottest water temperature that is safe for the fabric. The heat can help to further break down and lift the crayon stain.

You may also want to consider adding a laundry booster or stain remover to the wash cycle. Products like OxiClean or Washing Soda can help to lift and remove stubborn stains, including crayon. Follow the instructions on the packaging for the appropriate amount to use.

If the stain persists after the initial wash, you may need to repeat the pre-treatment and washing process. It’s important to be patient and persistent, as it may take several rounds of cleaning to fully remove a set-in crayon stain.

Using Heat to Remove Crayon Stains

In addition to washing, using heat can also be an effective way to remove crayon stains from clothing. The heat can help to melt and lift the waxy crayon residue, making it easier to remove.

One method is to use an iron set to a medium or high heat setting. Place a clean, white cloth or paper towel over the stain and press the hot iron onto the cloth for 30 seconds to a minute. The heat will transfer the crayon onto the cloth or towel, lifting the stain from the fabric.

Another option is to place the stained item in the dryer on a high heat setting. The combination of heat and tumbling action can help to dislodge the crayon stain. Be sure to check the item frequently, as you don’t want the heat to set the stain further.

It’s important to note that using heat on delicate fabrics, such as silk or satin, can potentially cause damage. In these cases, it’s best to stick to the gentler cleaning methods mentioned earlier.

Removing Set-In Crayon Stains

If a crayon stain has had time to set in and become more stubborn, you may need to try some additional techniques to remove it.

One effective method is to use a solvent-based stain remover or pretreatment product. These products, which often contain solvents like mineral spirits or turpentine, can help to break down the waxy crayon residue. Be sure to test the product on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric first to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage.

Some top-rated solvent-based stain removers for crayon stains include:

Goo Gone Laundry Stain Remover– Contains citrus-based solvents to break down stains
– Safe for use on a variety of fabrics
– Helps lift stubborn, set-in stains
Carbona Stain Devils #5 – Grease, Oil & Wax– Specifically formulated to remove oil-based stains
– Comes with a scrub brush for agitating the stain
– Safe for use on colorfast fabrics
Zout Laundry Stain Remover– Contains enzymes and solvents to tackle tough stains
– Works on a wide range of fabrics
– Helps prevent stains from setting in

Another option for set-in crayon stains is to use a mild abrasive, such as baking soda or a soft-bristled brush. Gently rub the abrasive onto the stain, using circular motions, before rinsing and washing the item. The abrasive can help to lift and remove the stubborn crayon residue.

If all else fails, you may need to take the item to a professional dry cleaner. They have access to more powerful solvents and cleaning techniques that can often remove even the most stubborn crayon stains.

Preventing Crayon Stains

Of course, the best way to deal with crayon stains is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Here are some tips to help keep your clothes crayon-free:

  1. Supervise children when they’re using crayons and make sure they’re not coloring on their clothes.
  2. Keep crayons and other art supplies out of reach of young children, or in a designated “art area” of your home.
  3. Check pockets and clothing before washing to ensure there are no stray crayons that could transfer to other items.
  4. Consider dressing children in older or designated “play” clothes when they’re using crayons or engaging in messy activities.
  5. Invest in a good quality, washable crayon set that is specifically designed for use on fabric and clothing, such as the Crayola Washable Crayons.

By taking these preventative measures, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of crayon stains and save yourself the time and effort of trying to remove them.


Crayon stains can be a frustrating and common problem for parents and caregivers, but with the right techniques, products, and a little bit of persistence, they can be effectively removed. From pre-treating the stain to using heat and specialized cleaning methods, there are a variety of strategies you can employ to get your clothes looking fresh and clean again.

Remember to act quickly, identify the fabric type, and be patient and persistent in your cleaning efforts. And, of course, taking steps to prevent crayon stains in the first place can go a long way in keeping your clothes looking their best.

With the information and tips provided in this comprehensive guide, as well as the recommended products, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle even the toughest crayon stains and keep your family’s clothing looking its best. Happy cleaning!

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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.