New Year’s Eve. I thought I would start the new year off being productive and decided to do one last load before guests arrived for my party. I timed it perfectly to pull the dry laundry out an hour before the party. Everything was perfect, and then this is what I found.
All over this…
The culprit it seems was my daughter’s crayon apron. She got pizza sauce on it the night before, and when the crayons were emptied from those tiny pockets apparently part of one got missed. A purple one.
What made this laundry disaster even worse is that this load was filled with brand new Christmas clothes. Some had never even been worn yet. Oh yes, brand spanking new clothes covered in purple crayon.
Tears. Lots of them. Then I had a party to throw.
Before the party, I tried an old trick I used once long ago to get candle wax out of carpet — ironing the clothing with a paper towel in between. The mess didn’t even budge. I was not happy.
So the pile sat in a heap on my floor for two weeks. Yeah seriously, I couldn’t even be bothered to think about it.
And then… you aren’t going to believe this… it happened again. This time I have NO clue how it happened. I had done a half-dozen loads since the incident, and yet it happened the very next time I did a load of pinks/reds. (Yes, my girls wear so much pink it gets its own load.) I have no idea where another purple crayon came from.
As I stood dumbfounded pulling out ANOTHER load of purple crayon streaked clothes, I was determined not to lose two full loads of my daughters’ clothes. And here is where I have SHOCKING good news.
I got 99% of the purple crayon stains out of both loads of laundry. I rescued every single piece.
Honestly, I had very little hope of getting the crayon out at all, let alone with such success. I was certain that the laundry was trash, especially the worst offenders. But moms everywhere rejoice…
YES! You can get crayon out of an entire load of laundry that has been through the dryer!!!
Because I am a blogger, and I document everything, I took pictures of the incident and the process — just in case. So you can see proof that my laundry came clean. (I wish I took more pictures.)
I tried a combination of several methods that I found people discussing online. Somethings worked, some did not, and some were overkill. (People were taking about adding peroxide or bleach to your loads — there is no need!!!)
Crayon Removal Method #1
I started with WD-40 because we had some lying around. WD-40 works fantastic, but it stinks like crazy. The nauseating fumes made me ill. Gag. But, it worked.
This PJ top of mine was one of the worst, so I started with it. Saturating the fabric with WD-40 and the scrubbing, the crayon melted away.
Crayon Removal Method #2
This turned out to be my preferred method. If you don’t already have WD-40, use this method.
This method is thanks to my mother in law who sent me a bottle of Lestoil (which I had never heard of). She said she once took lipstick out of a load of laundry that went through the dryer with it. So it was worth a try.
Fair warning Lestoil also smells – really bad. But, it is less “industrial” smelling than WD-40, so I preferred it ever-so-slightly. The good news is that it is super cheap too.
I did the same as with the WD-40, I saturated the fabric and rubbed gently. The more concentrated the stain, the more I had to rub. Some small stains I barely even touched.
Here’s the catch, the more you rub at the fabric, the more you wear down the fabric. But when the choice was wear marks on new clothes or the trash can…
Again, I soaked the laundry in the same HOT mixture of Oxi-Clean and Biz, but this time only for a couple of hours. Be VERY careful when you soak, highly saturated fabrics will bleed. (Prior experience.) So only soak very like colors together.
While I soaked some items, I also discovered that some items would come clean just by rinsing and rubbing with a blast of hot water. (I have a spray nozzle on my laundry sink that is perfect for this.) I was amazed watching the purple crayon run right off the clothing.
Some deeply stained items, needed a second treatment with Lestoil.
(Different lighting, but yes! That is the same shirt and the same area!)
After rinsing/soaking the items, I washed them with an extra rinse (on cold) twice. (The second time to work on the stink.) Honestly, the clothes still smell a bit. But not bad enough you can’t wear them, and it dissipates throughout the day. I think in a couple of more washes, they will be back to normal.
After treating and rinsing, treating and rising, and then washing — I removed purple crayon from approximately 67 items of clothing from two loads of laundry! That is a LOT of money saved from the garbage.
I mentioned that I got 99% of the stains out. After washing everything, I discovered small spots on highly patterned PJs that I must have missed. I didn’t even bother trying again.
Tips For Getting Crayons Out of Fabric:
- Clean your crayon stained clothing with Lestoil or WD-40 outside. They STINK.
- Place a plastic trash bag under your work area to protect your table (and easy clean up).
- Wear gloves, I trashed my nails.
- Rinse with hot water, but not scalding. (Again, I didn’t wear gloves.)
- Rinse the clothing out before washing to remove as much of the Lestoil or WD-40 as you can before placing in the washer.
- Highly saturated clothes will bleed when soaked, be careful what you soak them with.
- I always have Oxi-Clean and Biz on hand, so I used them both together. If you are going to try just one, try Oxi-Clean — I use it weekly!
- All of the fabrics stained in our incidents were cotton blends, I have no idea how other fabrics will react.
- Don’t forget to clean your dryer, there might be spots of crayon left. I used a Magic Eraser for this. (You can get the name brand, or buy 50 generic Magic Erasers for under $10.)
- This is a slow and tedious process, but you can do it!
There was a single sacrifice from the whole process… I didn’t even bother treating the crayon apron. I never want to see it again. (But I am certain I could have gotten it out, if I wanted to.)
Good luck, and have faith. You can save your clothes!