How to remove ink and crayon stains

By Tasha Zander

2015 is here, and that means you and your family are thinking about improving yourselves. But after you all gather ‘round the table, make your resolution lists, and have a load of fun, your tablecloth and clothes look like an ink and crayon warzone! Don’t worry! Here are some great tips on how to remove ink and crayon stains from your fabrics.

Ink Stains

The steps you should follow will depend on the type of ink you were using. If the ink was water based, place the item on top of a paper towel and blot with another wet paper towel. You will begin to see the ink being transferred to the blotter. Make sure you move the shirt and replace your blotter as the ink is lifted or transferred to the paper towel underneath. Once you have removed as much of the stain as possible, apply some liquid detergent (such as your favorite Purex detergent!) and let sit for 5 minutes. Then launder as usual. As always, check the stained area before transferring to the dryer as the heat from the dryer will cause the stain to be permanent.

If the pen was a ballpoint pen, I suggest using a color-safe bleach such as Purex 2 Bright Booster. Apply to the stain and let sit for 5 minutes. Then launder as usual. You may want to test the color safe bleach on the inside of the clothing item if you are concerned that it may damage your clothes. If this does not completely remove the stain, repeat the pretreating process with liquid detergent.

The last type of pen, and the most difficult to remove, is a permanent ink pen. In this case, lay the item on top of a paper towel and apply rubbing alcohol to the stain. Make sure to test this on an inner seam to make sure that it does not damage the color of your clothes. Blot the stained area: you may see some of the stain being transferred to the paper towel that is underneath. Replace this as necessary. When you have removed as much of the stain as possible, make sure to rinse thoroughly. Then apply some detergent to the stain, allow to sit for 5 minutes, and launder.

In all cases, if the clothing item is bleachable, that is also a method for trying to remove the stain.

Crayon Stains

The best way to handle any fabrics with crayon stains is to simply freeze it. Once the wax has frozen, gently scrap off the excess. Then put a clean paper towel on both sides of the stain and go over the stained area with a warm iron. Check the paper towels and replace as needed. You want to replace them often so you don’t transfer the stain to other places on the clothing.

After you have removed as much of the stain as you can, pretreat with a stain remover such as Zout Liquid Spray and allow it to sit for five minutes. Then launder with your favorite laundry detergent (my favorite is Purex Mountain Breeze!)

As always, check the stain before placing the article of clothing in the dryer. If the stain is still present use a color-safe bleach, or a chlorine bleach if the clothing allows for it. Due to the nature of this waxy stain, it may take a few iterations to completely remove it.

Check out last year’s Stain Lab article: How to remove baby formula stains