Will crayon stained clothes ruin my other clothes?
December 3, 2011 12:46 PM   Subscribe

A crayon in the dryer ruined a whole load of my son's clothes. I want to keep some of them even though they are covered in crayon stains. If I wash and dry them with other non-stained clothes, will the stains (the color or the waxiness) transfer to the good clothes?

I'm not looking for stain removal tips. There are seriously dozens of tiny stains on some of the pants and it is not worth it to me to spend any amount of time scrubbing a pair of $8 jeans.

However, I can live with them being stained forever and used as play clothes, as long as they don't ruin other clothes.

Any experiences with this either way?
posted by peep to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would play it safe and wash the stained clothes as a group, and not with non-stained clothes.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:49 PM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

This is not a stain removal tip. However, the way to remove wax from cloth is to put a paper towel over the cloth and then run a hot iron over the towel. The wax transfers from the cloth to the towel. I tell you this because I think putting the crayon-stained clothes in a dryer might have the same effect, and transfer the crayon to the other clothes.
posted by Houstonian at 12:57 PM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Houstonian, I tried paper towel, brown paper bag, and newspaper with a hot iron. All of those have worked for me for getting candle wax out of carpet, but didn't remove a speck of crayon color from jeans, twill pants, or cotton shirts. That made me wonder if maybe because of the composition of crayon was the stains were totally set in clothes.
posted by peep at 1:05 PM on December 3, 2011

crayon WAX.
posted by peep at 1:06 PM on December 3, 2011

You can test it by running the clothes through the wash cycle again with a white washcloth. Anything that's going to come off will show up on that.

Assuming you've run everything through the wash a few times and tried various stain removal tips, I would bet that it would be ok but would not proceed without testing myself.
posted by charmcityblues at 1:39 PM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

This has happened to us a few times (dang cargo pants have a lot of places to hide crayons!). I have washed the crayon-stained clothes with regular clothes afterwards with no transfer of color.

There is a commercial product, Shout Color Catcher, which purports to capture dyes like this in the wash. I haven't used it -- it seems wasteful to use a sheet for every load, but reviews seem to say it works, and it might be good if you have a budding artist with lots of pockets.
posted by apparently at 1:41 PM on December 3, 2011

I had a dress ruined this way by washing crayon-stained clothes with it when I was a child. So yes, it can happen.
posted by devymetal at 2:21 PM on December 3, 2011

Do not, do not, DO NOT put them in the dryer. They crayon will come off on the dryer walls! And it is the HUGEST pain in the BUTT to get off dryer walls. And then it will get on any clothes you dry in the dryer.

You can:
- Wash and line dry these clothes for the rest of their lives
- Stain treat and wash until you get all the crayon out
- Throw them away

We did a combination of all 3 of those things when we washed a full load of pants with a crayon.
posted by LittleMy at 3:08 PM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

No promises, and I'm sure it's terrible for the environment, but I haven't found anything that this can't get out.
posted by defreckled at 3:12 PM on December 3, 2011

I ran three beloved items thru a wash with a white washcloth, and there was no transfer to the cloth or the dryer. The rest are getting thrown out, and I'll probably hang dry these three forever, just in case. Thanks!
posted by peep at 7:11 PM on December 3, 2011

Why don't you just get them dry cleaned? Wax crayon is soluble in dry cleaning fluid.
posted by flabdablet at 9:11 PM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

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