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21 Crayon Busters: How To Remove Scribbles From Walls

Have a little scribble artist nearby? No worries, they’ll grow out of it eventually ;). In the meantime, here is an organized master tip file that I’ve gathered over time. Keep in mind some paint finishes may be dulled or damaged by a particular method, so test a small area of the surface first.

If you’re dealing with wallpaper, you’ll need to work carefully and make sure to test a small hidden area first. Watch for paper discoloration as well as paper fiber damage. Things like WD-40 and solvents of any kind may leave stains behind, so take your time finding the right solution, the non-washable varieties are especially tricky (I did add some tips to the bottom of this page).

  1. Toothpaste (regular paste–not gel). This one is my first pick always (good old regular Crest), it also helps get rid of permanent marker stains [1] pretty easily.
  2. Artgum Eraser – gently rub on marks in a circular motion, can also try a regular pencil eraser. Done carefully, this might be an option for wallpaper.
  3. Baking Soda – make a paste with water and use it to gently rub into the mark. You could also just sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and rub.
  4. Baby Oil – apply directly to area then rub off.
  5. Mayonnaise – Glob some on then scrub a bit in a circular motion, then wipe off.
  6. Shaving Cream – apply, rub in, then wipe off.
  7. WD-40 – spray some on the marks then rub off with a soft cloth. Wipe surface with hot soapy water when done.
  8. Turpentine – dab some on a damp cloth and wipe into spot.
  9. Lighter Fluid – apply as you would turpentine.
  10. Goo Gone – Same directions as for turpentine.
  11. Ammonia – soak a section of cloth in household ammonia then rub into area. You may also luck out with an ammonia based cleanser like Windex and a hot soapy cloth.
  12. Vinegar – soak a toothbrush in white vinegar and scrub.
  13. Heat – Take a hair dryer to the markings and allow it to heat the wax. Wipe wax off with a hot, soapy cloth. You could try a clothes iron as well (no steam), just make sure it’s on a low heat setting so it won’t scorch the paint. Place a few paper towels between the surface and the iron.
  14. Hand Lotion – rub into marks then wipe off.
  15. Powdered Dishwasher Detergent – make a paste with water and gently scrub area. Some detergents contain bleach so be careful on wallpaper.
  16. Powdered Household Cleaners – such as Ajax or Comet. Mix with some water or sprinkle on a damp sponge then wipe gently.
  17. Non-stick Cooking Spray – just spray it on then wipe off the marks. Not the best solution for wallpaper since this could leave a grease mark.
  18. Hairspray – spray generously on surface then wipe off.
  19. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser – go gently, you don’t want to rub off any paint.
  20. Rubbing Alcohol – Saturate part of a cloth then rub.
  21. Moist Baby Wipe Towelettes – Rub directly on the markings to lift them off.

More Tips

Here are a few tips dealing with wallpaper stains: (Source page no longer available online)

Crayon: (You have to remove both wax/grease and color.) If thick amount left, scrape off excess with table knife. Use a warm iron and white paper towel method as under “grease spots”. For non-washable papers, try paste spot remover as under “grease spots”, or wipe gently with a cloth moistened with denatured alcohol or spot remover; these are flammable and the vapors are toxic, so be sure there is no flame, spark or pilot light in area and have plenty of ventilation. Do not clean walls by this method! Use only on small spots. For washable papers, use sudsy sponge after lifting grease. Do not smear the residue.

After applying the treatment, make sure to completely wipe off any cleaner or residue with hot soapy water.

If I missed your tried and true fix, I hope you’ll add it below :).