When our son was two-years-old, he got into some felt pens and marked up the area rug. Lesson learned. We decided to only allow little ones to use crayons in our house. Crayons are made for little hands, with no threat of ink trails through the house. But we quickly learned they’re not a foolproof solution when our tot managed to mark up the walls with a bright red, waxy Crayola.
With the pen marks, we could scrub and steam until we finally washed it all away. Crayons, however, are a different story. A sturdy scrub will only spread the oily wax and make the stain worse. Lucky for us, this is a universal problem — which means there are loads of tested solutions out there. Here are a few tricks for removing crayon from a few popular danger zones around the house.
Your budding Picasso used the wall as a canvas and you’re panicking. To remove it, there are all sorts of recommendations out there suggesting harsh chemicals or magic erasers. But these solutions can remove paint, distort the wall color and/or introduce harmful toxins into the home. Here’s a simple way to lift the wax off your wall:
- Thin knife or razor blade
- Cold water
- Baking soda
1. Hold the hairdryer about one foot from the wall and blow-dry on medium heat for about one minute to heat the wax.
2. Once the wax softens, gently scrape it off the wall with a thin knife or blade. It should lift easily. If it doesn’t, apply heat again to melt the wax further.
3. Wipe the excess crayon away with cold water and a rag. In most cases, this should finish the job. But for textured walls, the wax might be stuck in the indentations and be harder to remove. If there is leftover residue, continue to step 4.
4. Mix a small amount of baking soda with water and work the solution over the stain with a cloth. The grit of the baking soda will work into the textured surface, scouring away the remaining stain.
In my house, we’ve dealt with wax on the carpet twice now; once from a candle that spilled over, and another time from crayon marks. The same method worked for both types of wax.
- Zipper-locking bag
- Old towel or paper towel
- Knife with thin blade
1. Fill a zipper-locking bag with ice and place the bag over the crayon stain. Hold it for about two minutes, or until the area is frozen (this time will depend on the length of your carpet fibers; short fibers will freeze faster).
2. Carefully chip away any wax with a knife.
3. Lay an old towel that you don’t mind staining or a very absorbent paper towel over the stain. Apply a hot iron to the towel and hold it for about one minute. The heat and steam should bring up most of the stain, transferring it to the towel.
4. There will be some trace stains left over. Many people suggest using WD-40, but one Frugal Life reader suggests a product called Simple Green if you want a natural cleaning solution.
You open the dryer only to find your laundry ruined by a rogue crayon that went through the wash, into the dryer and melted — staining the entire load. There are many solutions out there, but this one seems to have had the most success.
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup of OxiClean cleaning agent
- 1 cup of Shout stain remover
- 1 cup of laundry detergent
- Goo Gone household cleaner (about 6 sprays worth)
1. Mix all the ingredients together in a hot water cycle and run the clothes through the washing machine.
2. Check that the stains are gone before putting the clothes in the dryer. Repeat if necessary.
THE FLAT-SCREEN TV
Artists know no boundaries and neither does your little one toddling around with crayons in hand. If he’s found your flat screen TV, you’re probably panicking. Before you grab for the Windex (seems intuitive, but will cause serious damage), try this simple solution.
WD-40 or rubbing alcohol
Microfiber or 100% cotton cloth (they won’t leave lint on the screen)
1. Apply WD-40 or alcohol solution and let it sit.
2. Gently wipe it off with a microfiber cloth.
Maybe your child’s colored on the leather couch, or left a crayon to melt on the leather car upholstery. Cleaning leather is tricky. Be careful not to do anything that distorts the color, causes a distressed patch or weakens the leather. Try the Fuller’s Earth method. Fuller’s Earth — an all-natural clay-like substance known for soaking up oils and dirt — seems to be the secret stain remover:
- Thin knife
- Fuller’s Earth (you’ll find it at beauty supply stores and craft shops)
- Leather conditioner
1. Scrape off as much wax as you can.
2. Mix two parts water and one part Fuller’s Earth. Apply the solution to the stain and wait for it to dry.
3. The Fuller’s Earth will have lifted the stain. Gently brush it away. If necessary, repeat.
4. Apply leather conditioner. This helps blend the color and makes sure that the texture stays even.
5. As with any of these methods, make sure you test a small, hidden area first to make sure it’s color safe and won’t damage the leather.
Armed with all these great solutions, you’ll be ready if your tot’s artistic energies run wild again. The Crayola website offers more stain removing tips for all their products, just in case.