Will Colored Pencil Wash Out of Fabric? You Need to Know

The fun of using colored pencils can sometimes dampen when some of the colors end up on your shirt or dress, or they refuse to budge when you no longer need them on fabric.

Pencil marks have a particular stubbornness to them and will not budge on the first wash. They may fade with every wash, but it is a task that will leave you feeling drained out.

Some good-quality soft erasers will work on quilts and fabrics, but they can distort or pull the stitches if you are not careful. Indeed, there are various suggestions on removing colored pencil stains on the fabric, and the results may vary between good and worse off than it was.

As good practice, test the procedure on a piece of material and see how good it does.

Will Colored Pencil Wash Out of Fabric

Important (keep in mind before coloring)

The stain removal process will vary between fabrics, which can make it a bit complicated if you are attempting it for the first time. In some cases, consulting a professional cleaner may be the best course of action.

Scrap off most of the color before attempting the various methods for your fabric.

Cotton fabrics are among the most common and are characteristically breathable and soft. This fabric is affordable and easily stretchable, and most importantly, it works well with different types of colored pencils and can sometimes prove an uphill task to clean.

On the other hand, linen is strong and durable but also quite pricey. Artists that want their work to last will choose linen over cotton any day. And because of its tough qualities, linen can be cleaned with a bit tougher methods than cotton, which is more delicate.

The warp and weft threads in linen have similar weight, and therefore less prone to contraction or expansion when exposed to moisture or wax. This means that when you need to remove marker stain from fabric, such factors as the type of the fabric come into play.

Linen holds on to its natural oils to preserve its flexibility. However, using specific methods can interfere with this innate quality.

Other fabrics such as synthetic fiber, wool, and polyester may not be as forgiving as linen or cotton when coloring and removing the color.

What are Colored Pencils Made of?

Pencil crayons or colored pencils have a pigmented core surrounded by a cylindrical case made from wood.

Naturally, the function of the wood barrel is to hold the lead core together, but this is gradually changing with increased attention on global warming. Most manufacturers are now using more sustainable sources, and you will also find woodless sources.

The pencils’ cores are either oil- or wax-based, with varying levels of pigmentation, binding agents, and additives. No one brand can claim the perfect light fastness for every color, primarily because of the variable organic pigment chemical structure.

Some pigments are naturally more vulnerable to fading than others.

The use of wax in the art can be traced back to the Greek Golden Age and has appealed for hundreds of years due to its desirable qualities. Wax-based media has a good level of color vividness and brilliance. They are also resistant to decay, and their rendering qualities are unique.

The binders or the resins hold the blended pigment together and ensure the even distribution of the same.

The composition of the binders can vary greatly, from an oily compound, paraffin wax, to gum Arabic. Binders have a lot of influence on the quality of pencil performance.

Extenders, on the other hand, ensure that you have a firm lead. The amount in one colored pencil determines whether it feels buttery or soft.

Wax Based VS Oil Based Pencils

You shouldn’t forget that colored pencils can also be either wax-based or oil-based. Wax-based pencils are more popular because of the slick and smooth surface they produce. Wax-based pencils are the artists’ favorite as they layer with ease and can be used with solvents such as baby oil.

On the other hand, oil-based colored pencils are less common and exclusive to particular brands such as Faber-Castell. These pencils are more vivid and have buttery and slick results.

However, the oil-based pencils will not work well with solvents such as baby oil. Instead, use turpentine or odorless mineral spirit.

Colored Pencil Grades

The quality of the colored pencils varies based on various factors, such as the users. It can either be professional-grade or student-grade and based on this, the pigments’ light fastness and concentration will vary. Other factors such as the softness of the core and its durability will also come into play.

For the professional-grade pencils, the pigment concentration is higher and has better quality than its student-grade counterpart. Their resistance to UV light is much more improved, and the core durability is the best.

The lightfastness, core durability, and pigmentation of the student-grade pencils will vary based on the level of the user. The same brand that makes professional-grade pencils will also have different pencils for middle school and elementary level, or even based on the user’s age.

How to Wash Colored Pencil Marks Off Fabric

Method 1: Using Vinegar with baking soda

You should not wait too long to remove the pencil marks. While it is still fresh, wash it with a water-soaked cotton ball, and remove as much of the stain as possible. Allow the affected area to dry.

You should not wait too long to remove the pencil marks. While it is still fresh, dab it with a cotton ball soaked with warm water, and remove as much of the stain as possible. Allow the affected area to dry.

Now, use one-part white vinegar and two parts baking soda to make a paste. Vinegar and baking soda solution is one of the most powerful homemade stain removers. It can also wash off crayons from wall without damaging the paint.

So, pencil marks won’t be a problem at all.

However, scoop this paste with a cotton ball and dab it on the pencil marks. Take as much paste as you need and continue the dabbing process until it fades away. Finally, wash the fabric.

Method 2: Use Stain Removers

Use a metal spoon or a blunt knife to scrape off as much of the colored pencil and then spray the area with WD-40. It’s a cleaning product that mostly used for removing tough stains like permanent marker ink.

However, let it stand on the fabric for a few minutes, use a toothbrush to work the stain, and wipe with white paper towels.

Let it stand for a few minutes, use a toothbrush to work the stain, and wipe with white paper towels.

Respray with WD-40 on the area and use liquid dish soap as well. Use the toothbrush to work the stain again, and then use a damp sponge or damp cloth to wipe away the stain. Repeat the procedure if the stain remains.

But before you use the WD-40 method, test it on an inconspicuous part of your clean cloth to see how well it behaves.

You can also apply the Amodex (cleaning product) to the stain spot. Rub it well and let it sit overnight before rinsing. You can now toss the fabric into the regular laundry process.

Test your fabric for colorfastness before you use Amodex. Some fabric dyes can be pretty unstable.


Q: Are colored pencils washable?

You will find washable colored pencils on the market, but you may still need to wash them lightly. Using the pencils too deeply will sink the color, and you will end up with some stubborn stains.

Because there are different colored pencils, write a bit on the sample and see how well it washes.

Q: What removes pencil marks from fabric?

There are several suggested methods of removing stubborn pencil marks from washable fabrics. That is if the gradual fading with every wash is too much of a hassle.

Typically, you can use denatured alcohol soaked in cotton balls to saturate the area. As the alcohol dries, it will take with it some of the colors.

But first, you need to wash as much of the markings with clear and cool water as possible.

Test the colorfastness on a similar fabric before treating the area.

Q: Are colored pencils permanent on fabric?

A waxy-like substance is the main ingredient in colored pencils, which makes the pencils stubborn. But different brands will have varying levels of the waxy pigment in the pencils, and the more it is, the more stubborn it will be. A good practice is to test out the colored pencils on the piece of fabric you will use them on and see if it’s what you are looking for.

Q: How can I Remove Dried Ink out of fabric?

Getting rid of dried ink is hugely tedious but not impossible. Try a dishwashing liquid detergent and glycerine combo on the stains. If the liquid hand dishwashing detergent combo does not work, take your garment to a professional cleaner.

Final Word

Colored pencils have many uses, but they can sometimes be stubborn to get rid of when they get into upholstery or any other kind of fabric.

There are a couple of ways to remove the pencil marks on fabric when you no longer need them. The suggested methods aren’t always instant, and it can take several retries before you reach the eureka moment. Exercise a bit of patience, and you are going to see the results.

Related Content:

Loard Eva

Hi there! I’m Eva, artist, designer, photographer and mom of three little gentlemen altogether. When I’m not playing with my kids, you’ll find me researching and writing for ChooseMarker.

Recent Posts