How to Remove Crayola Marker Stains on Clothes

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Treat marker stains promptly for best results.

Though washable markers, like the kind made by Crayola, are intended to be more easily washed from surfaces than standard ink markers, removal can still be tricky. If you're having trouble getting supposedly washable marker ink out of clothing, try a few different approaches.

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Cleaning Crayola Washable Marker Stains

Kids love art, and it takes a while for them to realize that it should be practiced on paper instead of the walls, their clothes and your passport. While you can and should get washable markers for your toddlers, they can leave you with a mess to clean up.

It is recommended to rinse the fabric in hot water until no more color is being removed and then wash on the heavy-duty cycle with your regular detergent. Once the marked clothing has completed a wash cycle, soak it in a solution of an oxygen-based cleaner, such as OxiClean or Clorox Bleach2 for at least one hour, which will act as the "lifting" stage. Allow clothes treated in this manner to line dry instead of sending them through a clothes dryer on any heat setting.

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Crayola Marker Pigment Removal

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What makes Crayola Washable Markers different from other markers is its composition. The pigments in washable markers are suspended in water-based mediums, and this allows you to wash them out more easily and without extra steps and chemicals.

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This means that you can also try working a paste of equal parts baking soda and water onto a stain from washable markers and then spray it with either hydrogen peroxide or distilled white vinegar to activate the lifting reaction.

Stain Removal Factors to Consider

While there are a few techniques you can use to remove ink stains from almost any kind of clothing, there are still a few rules to follow for removing ink stains from any marker or pen that is not branded as "washable."

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There are three factors to consider when removing stains. The factors include the kind of fabric, the staining substance and how long the stain has been present. Removing a ketchup stain from silk will involve a different process and chemicals than trying to get pen ink out of wool, and the longer a stain has been allowed to set, the more difficult it will be to remove.

How to Remove Ink Stains

The two steps involved in removing stains are lifting and washing. After removing as much of the staining substance from the material as possible, you want to use some chemical or chemical reaction to separate the remaining substance from the fabric. This will allow you to remove the rest of it by washing it with careful attention to the temperature of the wash water. You can attempt to remove permanent marker ink from any surface with the primary method consisting of blotting the affected area with a cotton cloth or cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol.

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You might have better luck positioning the stained fabric over an empty jar and slowly dripping rubbing alcohol onto it. As you allow the alcohol to seep through the cloth and drip down into the jar, the alcohol will dissolve the ink and carry it away from the cloth.

Image Credit: D. Sharon Pruitt Pink Sherbet Photography/Moment/GettyImages

A stronger approach is to try using hair spray, specifically older brands and formulas, such as Aqua Net, that use alcohol as a delivery agent for the stiffening agents. While the alcohol is used in hair spray with the intent that it will quickly evaporate, leaving behind the starch or other chemicals, you can use the powerful spray of alcohol to blast ink through and out of clothes, washing off the stiffening substance afterward.

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