Colourful cupcake liners filled with crayons.

How to remove pen, permanent marker, and crayon stains from clothes

Whenever the weather is less-than-great, kids can always be kept entertained with pens, pencils, crayons, and paper. These drawing sessions can really get the creative juices flowing, but when your budding artist gets carried away, they can also leave you with a stain to deal with. So, what do you do when you find yourself needing to remove permanent marker, crayon, or pen ink from your kids’ clothes? Let’s see…

How to remove permanent marker stains and get pen ink out of clothes

You probably know that feeling of quiet panic as you try to figure out if that colourful stain on your child’s top is from a regular felt tip or a permanent marker. Don’t worry – we’ll show you how to get permanent marker out of clothes below. First, here’s what to do with the easier stain.

How to remove pen stains that are water-based:

  1. Use a clean cloth to gently dab the stain, soaking up any wet ink.
  2. Apply a small amount of OMO Ultimate Liquid to the stain, then use the bottom of the dosing ball to rub it in.
  3. Wash the item as usual, following the advice on the care label.

How to remove permanent marker:

  1. Dab the stain as described above.
  2. Pre-treat the stain with a solvent, like hairspray or rubbing alcohol. If you’ve not used a solvent to treat this garment before, test the method on a small, hidden area first.
  3. Wash the stained garment straight away – don’t leave the solvent sitting on it.

When you’re removing pen ink of any kind, it’s a good idea to dry the garment naturally. Heat can help some ink stains settle in permanently.

For advice on other inky problems, check out our article on removing highlighter and other types of ink here.

How to remove crayon stains from clothes

As the main ingredient in crayons is wax, you’ll have to take a very different approach with these stains. Luckily, there’s a very simple trick that can help you remove them easily. This is how to get crayon stains out of clothes:

  • To remove crayon stains that are still fresh, just pre-treat the stain with OMO Ultimate Liquid and then wash the garment at the recommended temperature. Check to see if the stain is gone before allowing to air dry.
  • To remove older, ground in crayon stains, you’ll need to harden them, scrape them, then heat them. First, put the garment in a plastic bag and then put the bag in the freezer. Leave it for a few hours, then take it out and then use the back of a spoon to gently scrape off as much of the crayon as possible.

Then, put a paper towel over the stain and use your iron (kept on a low setting) to heat it up. Most of the crayon wax should transfer from the fabric to the paper towel when you do this, leaving you free to pre-treat with OMO and wash as usual.

Now you know how to remove permanent marker, pen stains, and crayon wax too, there’s nothing stopping you from setting up another art session to entertain your kids! If you’re low on ideas for creative projects, check out our section on arts and crafts for kids here.