It’s happened to all of us, and if it hasn’t, it will – mark our words (heh). Sooner or later, you’re going to need to figure out how to remove a multicolored crayon masterpiece or random pen marks from your walls without having to repaint completely. Read on to learn how!
If crayons are the culprit, the experts have some recommendations for you. Always remember to do a spot test first; remember, we’re trying to make things better, not worse.
Soap and Water: This is an oldie but a goodie, and sometimes it’s all you need. Use a moist microfiber towel with dish soap, and rub slowly and gently. Rinse the cloth frequently so that you don’t transfer any marks, and make sure that you don’t get the wall too wet.
Hair Dryer: Most crayons are made from wax, and wax melts easily. Aim a blow dryer at the crayon marks until they soften, then wipe them away with a soft rag and a mild detergent-and-water solution. Dry the wall with a clean towel.
Baking Soda: Make a thick paste of baking soda and water, and rub it gently onto the crayon marks with a sponge or microfiber towel. Wipe off the residue, and hopefully the crayon marks, with a soft cloth.
Mayonnaise: Here, you’ll want the real, full-fat stuff. Apply it generously to the crayoned areas, using a paper towel or soft rag. Let it sit for about 15 minutes and wipe down with a damp microfiber towel. Use soap and water to remove the greasy residue and dry with a soft, clean towel.
Pen and Marker Happen Too
Ink is usually darker than crayons so it can be more of a challenge to remove, but it’s usually possible to clean it without damaging the paint. Some of the most effective ways to do so are described below.
Toothpaste: The more basic, the better here. You’ll want a paste, not a gel, and it’s best if the toothpaste itself is plain and white so you don’t introduce any additional dyes or colors. Gently rub the marks with a bit of toothpaste on a soft cloth. Wipe away any residue with a damp cloth and dry if necessary.
Baby Wipes: If you’re lucky, the ink in the markers might have been water-based. In this case, baby wipes work very well in removing it. They can also smear, though, so be gentle and don’t be afraid to swap out for fresh wipes frequently.
Hair Spray: If the ink on the walls is from a ballpoint pen, old-fashioned aerosol hair spray (not modern mousses, gels, or leave-in conditioners) can often get it off the walls. Spray the hair spray directly on the pen marks and then blot gently with a clean, soft cloth. If you need to treat a large area, we recommend opening a window.
Nail Polish Remover: Be very gentle and very careful with this one as it can remove or mark the paint; it should probably be a last resort if you feel as if you have no other choice but to repaint anyhow. Dip a cotton swab in the nail polish remover and trace it gently along the marks.