How to Remove Crayon From a Wall (yes, it can be done!) post image

How to Remove Crayon From a Wall (yes, it can be done!)

Recommendations In a Nutshell:

1. Best overall method: Goo Gone (yes, it beat out WD40)
2. Best scrubbing method: Mineral oil (or baby oil, or VapoRub) – this did not work as well as either Goo Gone or WD40, but it is an effective way to avoid chemicals
3. Best alternative method: Eucalyptus oil (diluted on a cloth)

The Question:

What is the best way to remove crayon from a wall?

(This is the calm question which follows the original reaction of, “ARRRGH, what did my child do to the wall?!!!”)

The Tips We Tested:

We chose our tips to test from over 30 ways listed on the Internet, each recommended by someone who insists it’s the best way.  We tested these tips: dry rubbing, art eraser, toothpaste, baking soda, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, blow dryer, iron, alcohol, acetone, Goo Gone, WD40, Citra Solv, baby oil, and eucalyptus oil.

Our Standards:

At TipBusters, we have high standards in our testing.  We tested the tips based upon how easily and well they removed the crayon on different finishes of paint, while leaving the wall in excellent condition. There are a lot of methods that will remove crayon, but if it removed the sheen of the paint, or the paint itself, it ranked much lower in our opinion.

What About The Tips We Didn’t Test?

Here is our first piece of advice: if anyone ever tells you to clean something with a product like hairspray, mosquito repellent, or hand sanitizer, smile and walk away.  Why?  Because every brand has different chemicals in it, and depending upon what brand you have, you can cause a lot of damage.  And let’s face it, if one of those products works, it’s because there is a chemical in there that is working.  For example hand sanitizer’s main ingredient? Alcohol.  Hairspray’s main ingredient? Alcohol (plus some nasty stuff).

How We Did It:

The first thing we found out is that it’s really, really fun to write on a wall with crayon.  Incredibly liberating.  We really don’t blame those youngsters for doing it!  We wrote on many latex walls with many colours of non-washable Crayola crayons.  We used bold colours: blue, green, red, black, because for some reason kids’ drawings are never done in pastels! We drew with crayon on 3 different brands of paint, with finishes ranging from glossy to eggshell.

Please note that we tested latex-painted walls; the same methods may not work on oil paint.  If you used soapy water to wash up with after painting, then you used latex paint.  If you don’t know if you have latex or oil paint on your walls, here’s the test: take a cloth with a bit of denatured alcohol (i.e., rubbing alcohol) on it and rub it on an inconspicuous spot on the wall.  If it removes a bit of colour, it’s latex paint.

Regular crayons are made of wax and pigment.  There are 3 basic ways to tackle remove crayon: by heat, by scrubbing, and by chemical means.

Should I Use Heat to Remove Crayon From a Wall?

The short answer is no.  The idea here is that you take a blowdryer, heat the crayon (wax), then wipe it off.  I must say, it worked great on one wall.  The next wall, however, was different.  The wax melted great and wiped off, but the colour from the crayon “set” into the wall, leaving behind a ghost image that was very difficult to remove.  The iron uses the same concept with heat.  Put a rag over the image, iron, and the crayon will transfer to the rag.  Once again, the crayon ghost image stayed on the wall.  We would not recommend using heat. [rating:0]

Should I Scrub and Rub to Remove Crayon From a Wall?

The short answer is maybe – it depends upon what you use.  This category includes dry rubbing with a paper towel, art eraser, baking soda, toothpaste, mineral oil (baby oil), and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

Dry rubbing.  Dry rubbing with a paper towel did not work at all.  [rating:0]

Art eraser.  The art eraser worked okay on some walls; however, on some walls even the gentlest eraser removed the paint and the finish.  On some crayons, it also seemed to spread the colour around.  We would not recommend this method. [rating:0]

Baking soda.  To test baking soda, we mixed it with a bit of water, dabbed it on a cloth and rubbed the crayon mark.  We found it took some scrubbing, and eventually it came off, but it removed paint with it.  We would not recommend this method.  [rating:0]

Toothpaste.  We tested Crest regular and whitening toothpaste (not gel) by wiping it on the crayon, then a minute later, rubbing it off with a damp cloth.  It took a lot of scrubbing, and whitening worked better than regular, but it also removed the sheen and colour from the paint in that spot.  Now, you should understand, we’re particular – we look at the wall from an angle afterwards, to see how the light hits it.  We also have high standards.  We did not like the results to the wall, but it did work.   [rating:2]

Mineral oil or baby oil.  To use mineral oil, we rubbed some on the crayon with a cloth, let it soften the wax for a minute, then rubbed it off.  It was not abrasive, but it did take a lot of rubbing.  We washed the spot after to remove the oil.  Oil was, so far, the best method.  One step up in effectiveness was Vick’s VapoRub steam oil, which is basically mineral oil with some essential oils (eucalyptus) mixed in.  [rating:3.5]

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.  According to many, many people on the Internet, this product is absolute magic.   It’s not.  According to Wikipedia, the Magic Eraser is made of melamine foam, a product that works like very, very fine sandpaper, and dissolves as it “cleans”.  We found that the Magic Eraser removed the crayon with scrubbing; however, it also removed the finish, and the colour from the paint, too.  This may not matter to you – perhaps it’s an old wall, or it’s in a dim hallway where you don’t notice it.  That’s fine, just be careful if you use it in a bright room.  If you insist on using Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on a wall, we at TipBusters recommend breaking a little piece of it off to use on a little mark.  Dab that little piece with water, and only use it directly on the mark you are trying to remove.  That way you are not “sanding” all around the mark.  The other benefit?  Your Magic Eraser will last longer, as you haven’t soaked and dissolved the whole thing to tackle a little mark.  Use with caution. [rating:1]

Should I Use Chemicals to Remove Crayon From a Wall?

The short answer is that a chemical method was by far the most effective at removing the crayon, but it varied depending upon the product.  Chemicals we tested included Goo Gone, WD40, Citra Solv, rubbing alcohol and acetone.  There are others; however, they generally repeat the ingredients found in these ones.

Goo Gone.  Goo Gone is a product that, according to its MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) contains petroleum distillates and glycol methyl ether, an effective cleaner of wax and pigments.  Please don’t confuse this with Goof Off, a more corrosive chemical.  We sprayed it on the crayon, waited a minute, and wiped it off.  It did not damage the paint on any walls, and did not make the room smell like solvent.  We washed the wall area afterwards with soap and water to remove residue. We recommend Goo Gone. [rating:5]

WD40.  The Crayola website recommends using WD40 to remove crayon from surfaces.  Spray it on, wipe it off (wash the spot afterwards).  It’s true, it works.  Why?  According to its MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) its biggest ingredient is Stoddard Solvent, which is mineral spirits.  Its second biggest ingredient is a petroleum base oil (please don’t admit that you believe the rumour that WD40 is made of fish oil).  We did not find WD40 to be quite as effective as Goo Gone, and in addition the smell of WD40 lingers in the house for a long time even after washing the wall, so we do not recommend WD40 as much as Goo Gone.  But if you’re looking for a quick method with something you may have around the house, it works. [rating:4]

Citra Solv.  Citra Solv is an environmentally friendly cleaner that claims to remove grease-based products.  It removed the crayon easily; however, we found it removed paint from some surfaces, and left a sheen that could not be cleaned off.  [rating:0]

Alcohol (and alcohol-based products).  We found rubbing alcohol removed latex paint.  We don’t recommend alcohol or alcohol-based products.  [rating:0]

Acetone.  We found that acetone damaged the paint surface and did not remove the crayon. [rating:0]

Are there any alternative methods to remove crayon From a wall?

Eucalyptus oil.  We tried eucalyptus oil, which is an essential oil, and can be purchased at health food stores.  An essential oil is a non-fatty oil, but derived from plant parts (leaves, twigs, etc.). We dabbed some on a cloth, rubbed it lightly on the crayon line, then left it for a minute before wiping it off.  We found one wall to be sensitive to it, in that if you scrubbed, it would remove some paint.  We solved this by dabbing it lightly on with a cloth, then rubbed it off with a cloth with mineral oil on it, thus diluting it.  We found this to be a good, environmentally friendly method if you want to avoid the use of chemicals.  Remember, test it on an inconspicuous patch of wall first – it may be that it is not effective on your paint.   It did not work quite as well as Goo Gone; however, it is an effective alternate method. [rating:2]

Our recommendations:

1. Goo Gone – best chemical method [rating:5]

2. Mineral oil (or baby oil, or VapoRub) – best scrubbing method [rating:3.5]

3. Eucalyptus Oil – best alternative method [rating:2]

Do you have comments about these methods?  We welcome all comments.

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{ 11 comments… add one }

  • Cindy May 15, 2014 at 8:35 pm edit

    The best thing to remove crayon from wall paint is a Magic Eraser

    Reply
  • Bob April 15, 2014 at 6:02 am edit

    This is the best article I’ve read so far in preparing for removing my son’s ‘art’ from the walls. Seems like everyone has an opinion (like belly buttons.) Some are in, some are out, but most are useless. This type article helps you sift through the useless info. on the internet. Many thanks.

    Reply
  • Fuzzle October 21, 2013 at 1:43 pm edit

    I don’t own Goo Gone. As punishment for using our door for a canvas, I told my son he needs to scrub it clean. While he was scrubbing I browsed the web looking for an effective solution. WD-40(technically PB Blaster) was the trick for me. After he had put in him time I gave the area a quick shot and the area was brand new. It did pull a small amount of paint off. Did not strip the door, just a slight white added to my rag. I ended up washing the entire door because it gave the paint new life. Thanks a bunch!

    Reply
  • watch dogs xbox 360 August 7, 2013 at 6:01 am edit

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    Reply
  • Sherri May 7, 2013 at 5:28 pm edit

    if i use goo gone, how much exactly do i spray? i dont want to over do it. what do I wipe my wall down with? after the wall is hopefully clean which soap should i clean the wall with? is pomolive ok? when i washed my walls with soap and water it leaves marks on my walls. It kind of lightens the wall in the area that I use it. (I have egg shell paint)

    Reply
  • Ben Seligman March 24, 2013 at 12:20 pm edit

    Thank you! Goo Gone really works well.

    Reply
  • Nate October 16, 2012 at 8:39 pm edit

    Sorry, I see now it is broken into chemical/scrubbing/alternative techniques… I’ll read the article next time before posting my smarta comment. :)

    Reply
  • Nate October 16, 2012 at 7:58 pm edit

    How did WD40 not make the top three when it work 2nd best out of 30 methods tested. The question was how to remove crayon from a wall, not how to remove crayon and leave your house smelling fresh and clean…

    Why not just bake cookies and call the crayon on the wall modern art. :-)

    Reply
  • suzy smith July 10, 2012 at 1:39 am edit

    Morning I just used oilatum and toothpaste worked wonders and the crayon is no longer on the walls

    Reply

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