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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Your Questions: Crayon Stains

By Dr. Laundry March 14, 2007

Q: My 8yr old daughter left a blue crayon in her pants and before I found it. The whole load had gone through the dryer, now I have blue spots on everything in that load (colored clothes). Is there anything that would remove the stains?

A: OUCH! I hate when that happens.

Not clear from your description how many and what type of garments were affected by the crayon. But here is some good general advice to deal with the problem.


The bad news – after drying these “blue spots” are probably set and may be super difficult to remove, if at all.

You might try pre-treating with a good solvent (like Goo Gone) on the grease spots and then re-washing in the hottest water possible. You are trying to dissolve the grease spots and that means using chemical (solvent) and thermal (HOT water) energy are your best options.

With colored items, make sure that you check that the solvent or any product is ok to apply BEFORE you use it. Apply a small drop on a hidden seam (on the backside) of the item. Let it set for 2-3 minutes and rinse. No color change indicates it should be safe to apply. Wash immediately after you finish pre-treating in the warmest wash temperature recommended on the care labels.

Try to keep the grease-spotted clothes only in these wash load so it doesn’t transfer to “new” items. A small amount may be removed in the next wash, so consider air drying (to avoid transferring the grease to the dryer drum and/or other clothes) for the next 3-4 washes and see if you notice a difference.

Otherwise, these items will probably be relegated to home weekend wearing. (Sorry…) Finally, don’t forget to check the inside of the dryer. Lots of time the melted crayon can end up contacting the walls and hardening as the temperature cools down in the dryer cycle. Then, it can be transferred to additional items in future loads. So you might want to wipe out the drum with a good solvent, and then use an old towel on high heat to encourage any remaining residual to be transferred to the towel. You can throw it away if a lot of stuff is transferred. Check to make sure you’re satisfied the material has been removed from the dryer drum. Otherwise, consider an additional treatment.


Finally, I know it’s a pain, but don’t forget to check the pockets before you start adding the clothes to the wash. If she did it once, chances are she will be forgetful again in the future. Or, consider using this as an excuse to start introducing her to this important life skill. Sorting, checking pockets and getting everything into the washer is something that everyone needs to learn and practice.


Sorry I couldn’t be more optimistic. Anyway, give these suggestions a try and let me know if they work. Good Luck and thanks for posting your problem.