How to remove melted crayon from clothes

How to get melted crayons out of clothes

Last Friday my husband and I were planning on going on a date to a football game. Earlier during the day I threw my favorite jeans into the washing machine. After the load of laundry was done doing its thing I put everything into the dryer, but first I checked each item of clothing. This is something I’ve started doing after having kids because their clothes are always covered in dirt, food, and other UCOs (unidentified crusty objects) and I want to make sure everything is clean before drying. Everything looked spic-n-span and ready to be tumbled. My husband returned home from work and I was almost ready to go get the babysitter, I just needed my jeans.  I opened the dryer and pulled them out…melted crayon was everywhere!

They were covered in red.



I started frantically pulling other items out the dryer. Red…Red…Red… Everything had red crayon marks on it. I started freaking out searching for a lone lipstick tube or anything else that could have caused such a disaster. I couldn’t find anything, I was completely stumped when suddenly I could see in my mind’s eye a scene that played out earlier that day. While vacuuming my boy’s room I reached down and picked up a red crayon and stuck it in the back pocket of my jeans, that I then threw into the washing machine without checking the pockets. UGH!

I threw that load of laundry in my room, so angry that most of my son’s brand new school clothes were ruined and left for my date. Two days later I remembered that I needed to do something about the pile of red stained clothes and googled, “how to get melted crayon out of clothes.” I found some results, but I was skeptical and didn’t think it would work. It was worth a shot though, so I laundered the clothes and just like magic the evil red stained areas disappeared! I was so amazed.

How to remove melted crayon from clothes

Melted crayon stains on clothes can be a distressing sight, especially when it happens to your favorite garments. However, with the right approach and a little patience, you can effectively remove these stains and restore your clothes to their former glory. In this extensive guide, we’ll delve into a step-by-step process that involves both pre-treatment and machine washing.  You will use hot water, vinegar, and dish soap to ensure that those pesky crayon marks vanish.

Here are a few before and after photos. The only reason the colors look different in the photos is because the first ones were taken with a flash at night and the second photos were no flash during the day.

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The red crayon marks came out of most t-shirts, jeans, khakis, and socks, but it didn’t work on one of my husband’s work shirts. The shirt was slightly textured so it really soaked up that crayon wax and it wouldn’t come out, but really that shirt was a beast to iron and I secretly was plotting its demise anyway (I think I’ll turn it into this). It also didn’t come out of the bands on my boys’ underwear, but I’m totally fine with stained underwear bands (there’s gotta be a good joke here, but I can’t think of one). For the most part, the stained area ended up looking like new.  So, this might not work for everything in a ruined load of laundry, but it’s worth a shot!

Here are the steps to remove melted crayon from clothes:

  1. Prepare Boiling Water – Fill a few large pots with water, put them on your stove top and heat to boiling.  Hot water is a crucial element in this method, as it helps break down and dissolve the crayon wax.
  2. Load the Washing Machine: Put the clothes in the washer, and set the water to hot. You want it to be super hot water, so that’s where the boiling water comes into play. Add the hot water (boiling) to the washing machine now.
  3. Add Laundry Detergent: Whatever kind you normally use, it doesn’t matter if it’s powder or liquid.  The detergent will assist in removing any remaining crayon residue and general dirt from your clothes.
  4. Incorporate Vinegar and Liquid Dish Soap: Now comes the secret sauce for crayon stain removal.  Add 1/2 cup vinegar and 5 Tablespoons of liquid dish soap (Dawn works great).  Vinegar is a versatile and effective cleaner known for its stain-removing properties.  Dish soap helps break down crayon wax and oil-based stains.
  5. Allow for a 15-Minute Pre-Soak: Soak clothes for 15 minutes before starting the washing machine.  This soak will further loosen the crayon wax and allow the cleaning agents to work their magic.
  6. Run the Washing Machine: After the soaking period, it’s time to set your washing machine in motion. Ensure that you’ve selected a setting with hot water and a full wash cycle. Allow the machine to run through the entire cycle.

I don’t own a front load washing machine so I haven’t tried this yet, but this has worked for others around the internet.

Steps for a front load washing machine:

  1. Set washer to sanitize cycle and load clothes (make sure your sanitize cycle will supply hot water).
  2. Pour 1/2 white vinegar over the clothes.
  3. Add four tablespoons of Dawn dish soap to the clothes.
  4. Choose automatic soak cycle if you have one (15-30 minutes is perfect)
  5. Add detergent. Use whatever you normally use.
  6. Turn on the cycle.

One last step not to forget:

Don’t forget to clean the drum of your dryer so you don’t stain any other clothes. I used a magic eraser and it worked great removing all the red crayon.

How to get melted crayon out of clothes that have been washed and dried

Vinegar * Dawn dish soap * Laundry detergent * Large pot * Magic Eraser

Good luck! (And breath…everything will be alright!)

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  • Tracy Hadfield

    What about dried on silly putty that is all stuck onto a towel (a towel that I made into a hooded towel, nonetheless!)? Any suggestions on that? It is a waste unless I can get it out!ReplyCancel

    • Melissa Hadfield

      This might sound crazy, but try WD-40. Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • megan

    I hate finding stains on all the clothes. I have been guilty of leaving things in my pocket, gum, for example has been in my work uniform on more than one occasion. Thanks for the great tip. I will have to use this the next time (hopefully there won’t be one) I leave something in my pocket and try to blame my husband.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel

    Thank you! It worked.ReplyCancel

  • Christy

    Thanks for this info! I want to try other things before wd-40 since the affected clothes include my baby’s clothes! My only problem is that I have a front-loading washer and I’m not sure how to adapt this technique. Any ideas? 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Natasha Decker

      Spray area with vinegar let it soak. Take a toothbrush scrub gently. Repeat til gone… Kids did this to my favorite comforter whoch sat unused for a couple years due to the gr eat putty incident of 08. Found tip online did in 2012 still pulled the crusted mess out. Comforter restored. Thanks bored housemoms 😉ReplyCancel

  • Kristen

    Does this work in an HE washer?ReplyCancel

  • Sara

    FYI, to clean the crayon off of the dryer cylinder used an old/used fabric softener dryer sheet and some elbow grease. The old/used dryer sheet works just like a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I learned this trick from my husband.ReplyCancel

  • I found red and yellow crayon all over a large load of whites today! I was so dismayed but joked to my friends I’d reached another Mommy milestone! Thank you so much for this post. It has saved our clothes and our dryer! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Melissa Hadfield

      It is for sure a mommy milestone! I’m glad these tips could help, thanks for leaving a comment and letting us know!ReplyCancel

  • Bianca

    I did something similar. Used a small pot of water and pot treated a small patch of red crayon on a 35 dollar duvet pillow cover. I thought it was ruined. I started dipping it in the hot water and then using dawn soap then dipping again. Then I followed it up by putting vinegar on it which really helped. The last thing I did was use a paper towel to dab the spot and it worked. The pillow is saved and there is not trace of red on it. Thanks for the advice!ReplyCancel

  • Tara

    I have read hundreds of posts that this solution will work….it is not working for me and I am very distraught. My three kids start school tomorrow and I washed ALL of their uniform shirts tonight in prep for school tomorrow and ALL of them have red crayon on them (white and light blue oxfords and polos). I am on my second attempt repeating the boiling water, soak 15 min, extra dawn, extra vinegar, laundry detergent and wash cycle. I am not optimistic and have about 16 shirts that I probably have to replace at this point. Any idea why this isnt working for me? I am willing to try anything at this point..replacing all these uniform shirts will be incredibly expensive.
    Thanks for any tips you can provide.ReplyCancel

    • Just seeing this now, sorry. Did the solution work for you?ReplyCancel

    • Katie Todd

      Ditto!! It’s not working for me and I’m dying about it. Half of my kids school clothes are ruined and so many play clothes. Hundreds of dollars to replace! Did 3 pots of boiling water and all the instructions… it got some out but there are so many large orange spots still. ReplyCancel

  • Christina

    Wow, my Mom was about to throw away the clothes I have never seen her so upset but I told her all we had to do is Google a solution!! Found this post and it worked wonders!!!!! Thank you so so much!!ReplyCancel

  • Holly

    I am so glad I found this! I had done a tremendous load of laundry with probably 3/4 of my sons clothes in it. After finding out what had happened and finding your advice I broke that giant load into two smaller loads to try the trick. The nylon clothes did great. The cotton clothes are on their third cycle. I’m not giving up yet, but I can say that the porous cotton is holding onto the crayon so much more than the nylon. Oh well at least it’s not a total loss. Thanks for the advice! So appreciative.ReplyCancel

  • patricia

    my dryer is broken so i did two loads of laundry at home, basically all of my go-to clothing for myself and daughter, put it all in a gigantic dryer at the laundry mat and just pulled them out to find red crayon on everything. i googled solutions when i got to work and found this. i will be trying this at home tonight. thank you so much. i hope, hope, hope it’ll work! thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Karen

    This worked so well! My three year old “helped” Mommy put the laundry into the dryer today, and in doing so left a blue crayon in the dryer. Surprise!!!

    Used this method in my front load washer by pouring the soap, vinegar and boiling water into my washing machiene’s soap dispenser. Voila!

    We only had one blue casualty, a waffle weave dress, out of an entire load of clothes including my husbands crisp white button downs. This saved my bacon! Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Ernie

      Hi there. Do you remember what temperature your wash was set to and how much boiling water you added to your machine’s soap dispenser, approx.? (I think I will try it your way, as I live in a condo building and we have strict rules about only using the dispensers to add liquids – not into the front loader drum itself). Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Michele Schroeder

    Y’all are absolutely BRILLIANT!!! My 15 year old was doing her own laundry and she threw in her 8 yr old sister’s jacket in the wash. Little did we know the 8 yr old had blue and yellow crayons in her pocket!!! Ughhh!!!
    We followed your simple steps and amazingly ALL of the crayon came out….and there was a lot of it!!!
    Thank you again!

  • Suzi

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you so much for sharing this trick. I cried when I saw my daughter’s volleyball jersey covered in red crayon today. I did use a Fels-Naptha bar and super hot water . It turned the crayon orange-yellow but I am trying your trick now and praying it comes out of everything else. ?ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea

    Does the dish soap not foam in the washer?ReplyCancel

  • KB

    I have a HE washer and when I try to pour the boiling water in to soak, the stupid washer automatically drains the excess. There is no soak setting. There is literally no way to have clothes submerged in water in this washer. Our bathtubs are out of the question, since I don’t want to carry boiling water up the stairs. So angry at my washer I could pull an Office Space on it! Never buy the HE washers!ReplyCancel

    • Linden Peters

      Unplug your washer to soak! Mine does the same thing. The soak setting drains automatically after like 15 minutes, and it drains if I just open the lid during a wash cycle. Not cool, and not efficient, since auto-draining does not save water at all.ReplyCancel

  • Aja

    OMG you saved my life and laundry!!! I followed your instructions (added 1 full cup of vinegar) and all but 1 of my items has been cleared of blue crayon. The only item that didn’t fully clean was the pair of footed pjs my daughter had hidden the crayon in…but hey not too bad! Thank you thank you thank you!!

  • Jessica Casey

    I’m crossing my fingers and praying (for my daughter’s sake) that this works! A few days ago my daughter wore her North Face fleece to “help” her grandfather work on a vehicle. She came home with it covered in grease. I kept my composure and told her to get the fleece and the shell (it was a NF jacket that the fleece liner unzips to make 2 jackets) and check the pockets before putting it in the washer. Well, she didn’t check the pockets and everything came out with blue crayon all over it. I have it in the washer on sanitize with the vinegar and Dawn right now and I’m praying this works.ReplyCancel

  • Kate

    Yesterday I washed a HUGE load with about 75% of the clothes my kids own. After the dryer I realized…green and yellow crayon in one of the pockets 🙁 It was on everything. This totally worked! I didn’t even do the boiling water step because I’m lazy (and our water is really hot). Thanks so much!! ReplyCancel

  • Frankie Gonzales

    Do I HAVE to use white vinegar or will Apple cider work? I live about 15 miles from the nearest town and that’s all I have. My brand new (first time been washed) $100+ jeans have red crayon all over them! ReplyCancel

  • Danielle Richardson

    This worked with a front load washer. Add vinegar directly to clothes and run on the sanitize cycle. The black crayon came out beuatifully from all but one item ReplyCancel

  • P

    I was doing a major bedding deep clean today, had even unzipped the covers off our Tempur-Pedic mattresses, and asked my son to change his little brothers sheet and toss it in with my last load of the evening. Fast forward and he was also tasked with putting that load into the dryer. He didn’t look and a red crayon was EVERYWHERE on the white pillowcases, the zip covers.. I was so upset. Google brought me to your site and I didn’t measure but dumped vinegar in my HE Washer’s tub, squeezed a bunch of blue Dawn, loaded the dispenser up with Tide, set it to sanitize with an extra prewash… and waited the 2.5 hours for the washer to do its thing.
    At 1am it sang it’s song and I anxiously ran to see… BEAUTIFUL. One of my beloved white shams that has been piling was almost good as new (& now doesn’t match its twin, ha!).

    Thank you thank you thank you.
    My son thanks you too 😉 ReplyCancel

  • Frannie

    Will this work without vinegar? 🙁ReplyCancel

  • Megan

    So glad i came upon your post… question though does the soaking in hot water shrink the clothes? these are brand new baby clothes with blue crayon stain!

  • Aislinn

    Won’t washing clothes with the hottest water possible shrink them? I have bright orange crayon (already gone through the dryer) all over a bunch of my toddlers clothes and am trying hard to find a solution that isn’t spraying WD-40 all over his clothes but if I wash most of his clothes in hot hot water I’m afraid all these clothes will shrink and he won’t be able to wear them anyways! Help please!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly

    Thank you for this post!  I have a front load washer and used the instructions above and it worked!!!!!  HURRAY school uniforms saved 🙂 ReplyCancel

  • Raven

    I tried this and it unfortunately did NOT work for me. I attempted 5 times and nothing. So disappointed. ReplyCancel

  • Diane

    Works GREAT! Had a yellow crayon go through my dark load and was heartbroken to see yellow all over clothes when I took them out of the dryer! I actually put the Dawn directly on the crayon before washing because I was nervous it wouldn’t work.ReplyCancel

  • Alyssa

    This didn’t work at all 😫 going to try again and hope it comes outReplyCancel

  • Anne

    Thank you so much for this post! Saved all but two pieces of clothing in my load today – amazing!! Literally EVERYTHING had crayon when I first pulled it out of the dryer 😭 Bless you. Bless you for figuring out this solution. Bless you even more for sharing it. ReplyCancel

  • […] feel better knowing I am not the only one who has made this mistake, The most helpful came from a blog post with a similar situation I was in. Following the advice from the post, I started boiling a large […]ReplyCancel

  • Nica

    Thank you! These tips saved me yesterday and got out most of the orange crayon from my son’s clothes!ReplyCancel

  • Katherine

    It worked! Had yellow crayon all over a whole load of clothes – only realized when I took it out of the dryer. Worked like a charm. Thank you so so much!!ReplyCancel

  • CT

    This (plus OxyClean in the soak) worked for me in dealing with a nightmare red crayon dryer incident . 98% of the stains disappeared. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Chinwe

    Thank you so much for this post, it saved me a day before a trip. My son’s clothing was covered in red, blue, and green crayons after drying them. I was horrified! Thanks to you they are back to normal. ReplyCancel

  • Laura

    This saved us after a blue crayon landed in our kids clothes! We have a front load HE washer with no soak feature, so we made some adjustments, but it worked! We ran this on a sanitary load with oxiclean in the tub along with 1c vinegar and 1/4c (4Tbsp) dawn dish soap and tide ultra strength as detergent. This worked in one wash for clothes that were merely stained. But for the clothes that had thick chunks of wax, we needed more. So I filled my utility sink with super hot water and even added a few kettles full of boiling water to it and added some vinegar and dawn, then soaked the clothes for an hour and scrubbed the thick wax out. This took about 3 hours of scrubbing, but the wax was incredibly thick because these were fancy beeswax crayons a grandparent had given the kids (never again!). I just used a toothbrush and dawn for thin fabrics (onesies) and a dish scrub brush and dawn for thick fabrics (fleece, jeans). Then, once the wax was out, I soaked in oxiclean for an hour then ran the cycle again on sanitary with the vinegar and dawn as described and presto! The clothes look great; a few very light stains on a couple of items, but on play clothes, and they’ll probably come out in a few more regular washes. Anyway, if the regular method isn’t working for you, try the soak and scrub! And thank you for saving us from using wd-40!ReplyCancel

  • JDA

    This definitely helped me recover from 4 different crayons that got into the wash and then dried. Sadly, not everything survived. A white shirt never recovered and few darker color shirts the color came out but had grease stains where the crayon was before. So not a shirt I’ll have my son wear again. But all non-cotton, most cotton, and all mixed material clothing came out 95% better. As mentioned before, som color remains in bands and also the white lining of pockets, but that’s OK. Thanks for this advice!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole

    Thank you!! Your tips worked.ReplyCancel

  • Amy

    This worked! A red crayon was in a pocket and ruined a load of white clothes. I did 3 pots of boiling water, added a bunch of dish soap, the vinegar and detergent and the load came out crayon free. Thank you for sharing this!! ReplyCancel

  • Maggie

    OMG!!! You just saved an entire washer full of my clothes. I also put a small piece of red crayon in my pocket and forgot about it. Your front loader directions worked 95% of the red out and a second time through made it all 100% clean. Thank you so much for taking the time to post this valuable crayon removing tutorial. MaggieReplyCancel

  • Chelsey

    This is EXACTLY what happened to me when I came searching on the internet for a solution, red crayon all over brand new school clothes! I am going to give this a shot, thank you! Do the clothes need any scrubbing though? Or just throw them back in the wash?ReplyCancel

  • Mallory Barron

    I just tried this method….it totally worked!  thank you so much.  It saved 2 of my sons uniform pants and 3 of the shirts.  Curses on the brown crayon…….lolReplyCancel

  • Jen

    Oh my goodness, this saved a large wash of clothes covered in magenta crayon. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I thought it was a total loss–only a couple of marks DIDN’T come out using this method.ReplyCancel

    • Jen

      Side note: I have a he washer, and so I put the clothes in the tub with the hottest water I could, plus a pot of boiling water. A little laundry detergent, vinegar and Dawn dish soap and let it soak, stirring it with a wooden spoon every once in a while. Then moved it to the washer, laundry detergent, vinegar (through the bleach door) and put a little more Dawn in.ReplyCancel

  • Molly M

    Thanks for this! I have a front loader that doesn’t have a soak setting so I let it run for a bit and then paused it for 30min. I let it run again and paused for another 15min for good measure. I would probably do less dawn next time. I was shocked this worked! ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Reed

    My washer won’t let me put water in it to pre-soak, however, it does have a pre-soak option….hoping the water will be hot enough and that adding the vinegar and dawn will help. Any suggestions why my washer just drains like a sink? I read that HE washers do this because they weigh they clothes then determine how much water to use. ReplyCancel

    • Read Mollys comment, I think that would help you! Or you could always pretreat in the sink. Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Christine W

    Thank you for saving my clothes!  This worked perfectly on the red crayon that was all over everything.  ReplyCancel

  • DJ

    You saved us! Hubby just bought new clothes and somehow a white crayon made it into the wash. The wax came out beautifully!ReplyCancel

  • Anita Stephens

    Hi.  A black crayon melted on my white clothes (in hot water)of a front loader washer in a laundry mat. (didn’t know there was a crayon in  washer) I washed again and still did not come out.  In what order should I do first?ReplyCancel

  • Carolina

    I followed the steps, but I didn’t have vinegar. I used dawn powerwash + dawn dish soap and baking soda, let me tell you even the white shirts look new!!ReplyCancel


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Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you're here you'll find something that makes your #momlife easier!


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