Crayon in the Dryer, 3x Over
November 21, 2009 7:13 AM   Subscribe

I washed some clothes with a crayon in a pocket. Now I've got yellow crayon spread out across my clothes. But it gets better. The clothes weren't getting dry and I kept putting them through the dryer. 3 times total, never noticing that the crayon stains were there. How can I get rid of, or at least minimize, the problem so I get some of my pants for work back?

I've tried ironing with a paper towel and putting them through the washer with various combinations of OxiClean and other stain fighting products. At first running them through the washer seemed to be helping (cold/cold just in case maybe using warm water somewhere would help), but the last time I tried that I didn't see it getting any better. I also saw no good coming from the ironing method.

Due to my schedule the clothes have now been sitting in my room for about a week since the incident. Probably not a good move, I know. Do I have any hope of fixing the mess this late in the game?
posted by theichibun to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total)
Have you seen this?
posted by jon1270 at 7:30 AM on November 21, 2009

It would be helpful to know what types of fabric we're talking about, here. But in general, I've had good luck removing wax stains with boiling water + a little dish detergent, poured directly from the kettle through the stain and rubbed in with a toothbrush thereafter.
posted by Bardolph at 7:32 AM on November 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

You can generally remove wax (like candlewax so . .) by using a low/warm enough iron with newspaper or say, pages from a coloring book (blank, obvs). Put the cloth between two pages and iron . . the wax should come out. But, that's candlewax. I am not sure it's going to apply to crayons.

Also, don't know if you've thought of this, but there might be crayon inside your dryer. :/
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:27 AM on November 21, 2009

In that Crayola pdf they keep recommending WD40. I've also used Gunk - the stuff you use to get tar/grease off your car. You need a petroleum based solvent, not just a stain cleaner.

When we got crayon in the laundry, I threw away some of the clothes and decided others weren't so bad. After a few weeks of regular washing, I noticed a lot of the not-so-bad clothes were actually looking really good, so I recommend repeated washing. You want to use hot or at least warm water to melt out the waxy stuff. Wish I hadn't thrown out those other clothes.

IIRC, cold water sets stains (reference instructions for dying cloth) so you might be out of luck.

And yes, our dryer had crayon melted onto the drum. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wiped right off with a paper towel or a soft cloth. It was hard to bend around in there (remember that it spins, so rotate it around after you've cleaned one area) but not hard at all to get it off.
posted by CathyG at 9:57 AM on November 21, 2009

CathyG, I thought that hot water sets stains, not cold - depending on the stain. Although the OP still might be out of luck.
posted by amtho at 10:47 AM on November 21, 2009

I've used WD-40 before with some success when I did the same thing.
posted by tamitang at 11:18 AM on November 21, 2009

FWIW, nail polish remover takes crayon off painted walls. If you try this, I'd recommend doing so in an inconspicuous area to test colour fastness.
posted by Duke999R at 1:40 PM on November 21, 2009

Try a solvent like Goof Off or Undo. I have used them both for crayon, they work. You may have a pigment stain though. There are dye removers, will probably remove the dye from your pants too.
posted by fifilaru at 3:11 PM on November 21, 2009

I looked it up in this book, and there's nothing about crayon on fabric, but for crayon on walls, they recommend dry cleaning fluid. So maybe you could try that? Or take them to a dry cleaner?
posted by Emilyisnow at 10:39 PM on November 21, 2009

When I had to clean up a crayon dryer incident, I went through several cleaners before figuring out that mineral spirits worked well.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 11:19 PM on November 21, 2009

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