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 the 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. Some things worked, some did not, and some were overkill. (People talked 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.
Next I soaked the shirt in a HOT mixture of Oxi-Clean and Biz (two regulars in my stain-fighting arsenal) overnight. The next morning, I laundered as normal and the crayon was gone. 100% gone.
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!
Tammy S says
You are Amazing!! I can’t believe that you were able to all the crayon stains out. I can guarantee you I am going to the store tomorrow and picking up a bottle of Lestoil. Not to mention I am pinning and printing this post.
I am so glad I found this! I have a load of whites that have yellow crayon ALL over them! Def going out and buying these items. Thanks!
me to went to ppl laundry mb at and someone I guess had yellow crayon I. dryer .I put beautiful set of all with sheets with pillow shams that matched a quilt and all ruined ! not sure if this will work on all white sheets
Mommy Has A Life says
WOW! I wonder if this works on chapstick too… lol. That is pretty impressive you got that crayon off of everything 😉
I bet it would. My mother in law used it on lipstick 🙂
I am totally pinning this because I know this will happen to me one day!
This is good to know! Saving this for later!
WOW! That is awesome! I pinned this so I don’t forget! LOL! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for sharing this… I probably would just have trashed the crayon stained clothing, especially if I had already dried them in the dryer.
I am so glad that you were able to get the crayon out, I have never heard of Lestoil. It was an interesting twist to see the crayon apron at the end. this is where the crayon was coming from. Thank you for sharing this post.
I used WD40 and it left a stain mark on all the clothes I tried to take the crayon out of……so how did you keep your clothes from having the spots from WD40
I never saw a stain from the WD40, but after I used the WD40 I soaked the shirt in a HOT mixture of Oxi-Clean and Biz (two regulars in my stain-fighting arsenal) overnight. The next morning, I laundered as normal and the crayon was gone. I am guessing the Oxi-Clean/Biz took care of any WD40 stain. So I would try that.
Gina Frederick says
Thank you for your information! A green crayon did it for a large load and it stained my dryer! I’m going to try your secret and hope it works for me! Again, thank you!
Good luck! I hope you have success like I did.
I washed and dried an entire load of laundry with a blue crayon. I tried soaking some pieces of laundry in lestoil to try it out. I kept checking the clothes and tried rubbing the crayon out every few minutes. Did the crayon come out with the lestoil, or not until you soaked it in oxyclean? Or did it not come out until you ran it through the wash? Or, am I just being impatient and not letting it soak long enough? It has been soaking for at least 30 minutes. Thanks!
Oh I feel your pain!!!! There is nothing quick about the process. It won’t be all out after the lestoil, that’s why it needed the other steps too. The striped PJ top was one of the worse offenders, and I rubbed it with the lestoil until it was all light in color. Then I soaked it. Then I washed it. Then it was all out. Patience. It will come out 🙂
How much or the oxi and biz did u use?
Hi – I used the recommended amounts on each package for the size of the load I was soaking. Good luck!
Thank you so much. It worked like a miracle. 2 crayons snuck in a pocket of my new kindergartner ruined her and my other daughter’s new school clothes.
I was skeptical but tried the wd40 method. Clothes I didn’t care about so much were put in the oxiclean/biz solution. Even those clothes are wearable because the crayon is so faint.
My husband’s khaki colored jeans lost color in the oxi/biz solution and got bleach like spots. That’s the only material that didn’t react perfectly. Maybe if I hadn’t left them in the solution that long it would’ve been fine. Every other material from cotton, polyester, spandex, cotton blends all did amazing. Thanks so much for the great fix.
I am so glad my post helped! My daughter was in Kindergarten when our incident happened. Thankfully, it hasn’t happened again — although I have another Kindergartener now… LOL
Someone in our apartment building left a green crayon either in the washer or drying in our complex and we are trying this method, but we are only starting with one shirt out of about 8 to 10 clothing items that have been covered in crayon. I am curious how long did you scrub? How much crayon was left after both the WD40 and the soak? I did use my nails to scrub a little bit after it had been soaking about an hour to see how it was coming along and a tiny bit did come off. Did it all come out with just one wash? Or did it require multiple washes? I think the article of clothing I am most worried about this working on are my son’s jeans. I don’t care about the socks and underwear but the shirts and pants are definitely something I am hoping I can get this out of.
I used two methods – mostly b/c I wasn’t sure which would work. The Lestoil method seemed to work a little better on the articles of clothing that were more deeply saturated with crayon. I did use my nails to scrub, but be careful b/c the more you do, the more you will end up with rub spots on your clothing. So I tried to keep rubbing to a minimum. As I mentioned in the post, I did blast them with a spray nozzel before washing. The worst offenders got 2 rounds of soaking and washing with some scrubbing.
If you don’t treat the socks/underwear be sure to throw them away. The last thing you want to do is throw them back in the dryer with clean clothes and have some of the crayon transfer. It’s worth soaking them with the others to see if it will come out easily.
Have y’all tried “Awesome” from the Dollar Tree? It really works. I’ve used it to get all kinds of stains on different surfaces. It really works.
Monica Perry says
My son left four crayons from a restaurant in his pocket and an entire load of clothes looked like a Jackson Pollock disaster after I removed them from the dryer last weekend. I was hesitant to try WD40, so I tried another method first. I put them back in a hot wash heavy duty cycle with Dawn dish soap, oxiclean and vinegar. It worked like a charm. I used about a cup of each and ran the load back through a wash cycle with no soap to get rid of any excess Dawn.
My go to method is similar. Put the whole load back in the wash, heavy duty, hottest possible, deepest fill, with dish soap and apple cider vinegar. Once wash load is complete, inspect clothes for crayon. I find that 75% will be able to go to the dryer which leaves ~25% for me to attack with WD/40.
This worked for me! Thank you so, so much! Of course I washed a hot pink crayon in a load of laundry featuring my brand new clothes and bedding. I can’t believe there is not a trace of crayon to be found.
I am so glad it worked for you too! I know that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you pull out the laundry and see the crayon, so glad I could help remedy the problem.
My 31 pieces of kids laundry are currently a rainbow of colors . I’m pretty devastated as replacing isn’t an option . I’m going to have to find some wd40 and where do i find lestoil ? It’s not pinsol right ? I threw it in a trash bag and was just going to keep it separated from ruining anything else .. ….. until I get something to try and fix this !!
Oh I feel your pain! Lestoil can be found at Home Depot, Lowes, places like that. (Nope, not Pinsol – it smells awful!) Good luck to you!
Thanks so much for this info. My wife is an Elementary school librarian and always has items in her jeans pocket. I missed a red crayon in the pocket of her favorite (and most expensive) pair.) I had them in the dryer alone to get the wrinkles out and the red crayon got over every inch of the jeans – and the dryer. I used Lestoil in a bucket (outside!) and, after scrubbing the material for quite a while, the crayon just disappeared. Getting the Lestoil smell out of the material took some doing, but the jeans look great. Thank you!
I’m so glad the post helped! (And yes, Lestoil is stinky!)