How to Get Pencil Lead Out of Carpet

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Fortunately, pencils do not contain lead, so there are no health risks or concerns in regards to lead exposure. Manufacturers make the core of a pencil from graphite. However, graphite can be tricky to remove from carpeting if you use the wrong products or techniques. Very little pressure is necessary to transfer the graphite to the carpet. Pencil mark removal will restore the carpet's appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum
  • White vinyl eraser
  • White rags
  • Cotton balls
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Dish soap
  • White paper towels
  • Bucket
  • Ammonia
  • Laundry detergent
  • Hand mixer
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Attach a hose to a vacuum, and suck up the graphite and pencil shavings. Do not move a vacuum cleaner over a graphite spill, as the pressure and weight of the vacuum will grind the graphite into the carpet fibers.

  • Rub a white vinyl eraser over the pencil marks, starting at the edge of the dark-colored mark and moving toward the center. Continue to rub the eraser over the marks until no pencil stains remain.

  • Wipe a white rag over the pencil mark, moving the rag in one direction. Turn the rag over to an unused section, and then continue to wipe the stain until the pencil mark disappears.

  • Dip a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol, and blot the pencil stain. Dip a new cotton ball in alcohol and continue to blot the pencil marks until they are no longer visible. Change cotton balls often to prevent redistributing graphite stains on the carpet.

  • Mix a squirt of mild dish soap with 1 cup of water. Dip a white rag into the cleaning solution. Dab the pencil marks with the damp rag. Blot the pencil stain with a clean, dry rag. Alternate between blotting the pencil marks with the damp rag and then the dry rag until the marks come out of the carpet fibers. Turn the rags often to a clean section to prevent depositing the graphite back onto the carpet. Put a layer of white paper towels over the area, and set a weight on top to draw excess moisture out of the carpeting.

  • Fill a bucket with cool water. Add 2 tablespoons of ammonia and 1 cup of laundry detergent. Mix the laundry detergent and water with a hand mixer to create soapsuds. Wet a white rag, and pick up the soapsuds. Rub the soapsuds into the pencil stain, moving the rag in one direction only. Continue to work the suds into the carpeting until the pencil marks disappear.

  • Soak a cotton ball in hydrogen peroxide and blot the pencil marks. Let the hydrogen peroxide remain on the carpet for 60 minutes. Soak a cotton ball with hydrogen peroxide, and dab at the stain until the pencil marks are no longer visible. Change cotton balls as they become dirty. Lay a thick wad of white paper towels over the area, and put a weight on top to pull the moisture from the carpet.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clean pencil marks as soon as possible to prevent the marks from being ground into the carpet fibers.
  • Do not use rags or paper towels that have color because the dye may transfer to the carpet.
  • Test the hydrogen peroxide on a concealed area, and wait one hour to determine if the carpet will lighten.
  • Do not rub pencil marks in a circular motion or back-and-forth because you will spread the stain.
  • Do not allow rubbing alcohol to penetrate through the carpeting because the alcohol will degrade the carpet backing.

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References

  • "New Fix-It-Yourself Manual: How to Repair, Clean, and Maintain Anything and Everything In and Around Your Home"; Reader's Digest Editors; 1996
  • "2,001 Amazing Cleaning Secrets"; Jeff Bredenberg; 2004
  • "Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things"; Reader's Digest Editors; 2007
  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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