Have a little scribble artist nearby? No worries, they’ll grow out of it eventually! I promise ;). As the oldest of four children, a busy neighborhood babysitter as a teen and then a mom when I “grew up”, I’ve had plenty of years under my belt dealing with munchkins on the loose.
It’s astonishing how these little fellas instinctively know to a) be secretive with their “artwork” doodles and b) how fast it happens. Be very wary when things are too quiet ;).
Although the damage can be horrific (and I’ve seen some real doozies!), there’s no need to panic: it’s only crayon…it’s going to be OK!
Here is my master tip file that I’ve gathered and organized over time, each promising to be effective for getting rid of crayon markings from painted walls and other surfaces.
Caution: Keep in mind some finishes may be dulled or damaged by a particular method, so test a small hidden area first.
Note: If you’re dealing with wallpaper, you’ll want to work carefully. Test an inconspicuous corner and watch for paper discoloration as well as 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).
Ok, take a deep breath and let’s get to it…I’m confident you’ll find something here that will repair the damage and bring things back good as new.
Collection of Removal Tips
Unless otherwise directed, carefully apply one of the solutions below by gently rubbing directly into the wax and then lifting it up with a warm, damp cloth.
- Toothpaste (regular paste–not gel). This one is my first pick always (good old regular Crest), it’s ideal for taking off crayon scribbles as well as getting rid of permanent marker stains pretty easily.
- Artgum Eraser: Lightly rub in a circular motion, can also try a regular pencil eraser. Done carefully, this might be an option for wallpaper.
- Baking Soda: Mix into a paste with water and apply with some pressure to try to lift the wax. Baking soda is a gentle abrasive so you should be safe with no scratches left behind, though don’t use too much muscle. You could also just sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge.
- Baby Oil.
- Mayonnaise: Glob some on then scrub a bit in a circular motion.
- Shaving Cream: Apply as with mayonnaise above.
- WD-40: Make sure to wipe surface with hot soapy water when done.
- Turpentine: Dab some on a damp rag first and then dab into area.
- Lighter Fluid: Apply as you would turpentine.
- Goo Gone: Same directions as for turpentine.
- Ammonia: Soak a section of cloth in household ammonia then dab into area. You may also luck out with an ammonia based cleanser like Windex and a hot soapy sponge.
- Vinegar: Soak a toothbrush in white vinegar then use it to scrub and lift wax.
- Heat: Take a hair dryer to the scribbles and allow it to heat the wax. Wipe residue away 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.
- Hand Lotion.
- Powdered Dishwasher Detergent: Mix a paste with water and gently work it into area. Some detergents contain bleach so be careful on wallpaper.
- Powdered Household Cleaners (such as Ajax or Comet): Mix with some water or sprinkle on a damp sponge then scrub lightly.
- Non-stick Cooking Spray: Just spray it on then wipe away the marks. Not the best solution for wallpaper since this could leave a grease mark.
- Hairspray: Spray generously onto surface then remove.
- Mr. Clean Magic Eraser: Work gently, you don’t want to take off any paint.
- Rubbing Alcohol: Saturate part of a rag then rub.
- Moist Baby Towelettes.
More Help For Wallpaper:
Here are a few tips dealing with 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 residue with hot soapy water.
If I missed your tried and true fix, I hope you’ll add it below :).