Cleaning Ink, Marker & Crayon Stains!

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As part of our Back to School series, I’ll show you how to clean ink, marker and crayon stains. Remember to always treat a stain as soon as possible, since the faster you tackle it, the more likely you are to get rid of it. Also, when removing stains from clothes or other fabrics, make sure you are dabbing the area and avoid rubbing, since this only pushes the stain further into the fabric and helps to ‘set’ it. Dabbing helps to lift and pull the stain out of the fabric, so make sure you are rotating your cloth or towel as you go for best results.

Pen Stains

Not all these stains will come out. So set your expectations to hope for the best, but expect the worst. It’s probably one of the most challenging cleaning stains out there. Place a cloth under the stained area to prevent spreading the stain any further. Next, spray rubbing alcohol on the pen stain and leave it for a few minutes. This will help loosen up the stain- you should see the ink start to bleed. Try not to over treat it (i.e. soak it), since you want to keep the stain as isolated as possible. Take a towel or clean cloth and blot the stain by pushing down into the fabric and lifting away- avoid rubbing at all costs! You’ll see the ink start to transfer from your clothes to the cloth, making sure to move the cloth as you go to prevent re-transferring. Keep doing this until you’ve removed as much of the ink as possible. Apply dish soap as pretreater, then toss it into your washing machine on cold for a cycle. When it comes out, the stain should be done! If not, repeat the same process (and hope for the best!) Avoid putting it in the dryer or exposing it to heat at all costs until the stain is gone, otherwise it will only set it and make it more permanent.

Marker Stains

This is more of a tip, but buy washable markers whenever possible. That way you won’t even have an issue!

Permanent marker can be almost impossible to remove from fabric. After all, it’s in the name- they are meant to permanent so they won’t wash out without a fight. I have found hair spray works the best on these type of stains. As I’ve said 1000 times before, treating it while it’s fresh will give you the best odds at removing it. Place a clean cloth under the garment to avoid transferring the stain. Spray with hair spray, leave it for a few minutes and let the hairspray work it’s magic. Using a spray bottle with water, spray the stain and begin to blot the stain using a clean cloth or towel, remembering to rotate the cloth as you go. Once you can’t remove any more ink, pretreat it with dish soap and run it through a cold cycle in your washing machine.

Alternatively, you can try using rubbing alcohol in place of water and hair spray. Follow the same process as above.

Crayon Stains

If crayon ends up on your wall or surfaces, there are several things you can do. To parents, buy washable crayons! But let’s say you decided you didn’t want washable crayons, you can use some baking soda on a wet sponge to remove crayon stains. Dab your sponge in baking soda and gently buff the crayon marks off of the surface. This works for walls, wallpaper and most furniture surfaces. Once you’re done, rinse it clean with water and dry with a cloth or towel. If you want to be a little bit more careful, you can find a non-gel toothpaste and a toothbrush to do the job. Wet the toothbrush and instead of teeth, follow the same buffing process to remove crayon marks from your walls or surfaces.

Sending your kids to school with crayons? Make sure they are kept in a plastic pencil case or bag. The last thing you want is for them to break and make a mess of your child’s backpack. Not to mention what happens if they start to melt…

Now that I’ve schooled you in the art of removing the most common stains you’ll encounter, let us know in the comments below if you have any back to school conundrums you need help with.

Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.