Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Out, out red crayon!

The title is my mommy tribute to MacBeth.

**insert dramatic bowing here**

After a red crayon hid itself in my laundry and held it hostage last weekend, I thought we might need to change the color scheme in Emma's room to include red in order to tie in the red splotches all over her PBK (!) comforter and sheets.

But it turns out, there is a God. (And duh, I knew that. Don't think I didn't pray over the comforter, asking Him to remove all the stains. It's okay to pray for the little things too.)

I sure hope this doesn't happen to you, but in case it does, here's my advice: when you Google "how to get crayon out of laundry" and people rave about how they washed it all out in one fell swoop and everything came out and it was a miracle... don't believe them. They probably work for a detergent company and they're lying.

Instead, four washes later with various methods, I still have faint stains, but nothing I'm losing sleep over. In fact, I was so pleased when I went to take "after" pictures that I could barely find the stains!

So here's what worked for me - after four washes using different methods, I'm wondering if wash #4 is the secret:

Well, first I cleaned the dryer which was a mess. Soft Scrub washed down with water did the trick and it was a breeze. I made sure to wash/dry a load of towels first just to pick up any leftover crayon or soft scrub residue. Now on to the hard part... the laundry.

1. Pretreated all stains with Zout and worked in with a toothbrush, followed by washing with regular detergent and 1 cup OxiClean Stain Fighter (liquid) in HOT water. I soaked it in the hot water for an hour in the washer before moving on with the cycle. Result: barely faded stains.

2. Scrubbed each stain with... WD-40 or "Goof Off". I would get bored with one and switch. Then I washed in HOT water with regular detergent and a cup of OxiClean. Result: no difference, but STINKY laundry. Not the way to go unless you want to pass out. (Probably not good while pregnant!) So I rewashed it like a normal load to try to get the smell out, with no luck.

3. Mixed 1 cup white vinegar, 1 cup of OxiClean Stain Fighter, 1 cup of Zout, 1 cup of laundry detergent, with a little goo gone on the spots and washed in HOT water. Result: a little more faded, but clearly visible. And the WD-40 smell was much better although still slightly there.

4. I like to call this method the close your eyes and point method. I was so discouraged by now that nothing would work, that I pulled out all the stops. And by "stops" I mean every cleaning product within reach. This is what my work area looked like by the time I was done:

I pretreated every spot with different things. Someday when I'm feeling ambitious (and clearly have nothing else to do AT ALL) I think I'll melt a crayon on some old t-shirts, label each spot with a Sharpie and figure out which of these products really is the most effective. I think the two that ended up taking out the spots the best were Scrubbing Bubbles (shower cleaner of all things!) and GOJO. I was about to give up all hope when I spied GOJO Orange Pumice Hand Cleaner (for heavy-duty cleaning, like after you've worked on cars. Well not ME, but you know...) on the shelf. I tried it as a joke, but it was working! I think next time I'd stay away from the pumice variety as it probably is not good for fabric, but I could see it working.

After using everything within reach (yes, even toothpaste), I washed in HOT water with regular detergent and another cup of OxiClean. And I threw in some baking soda for good measure. Once the washer was filled with hot water, I let it soak for an hour and then continued the cycle with an extra rinse. The result: I can barely see the spots! By now I was really only focused on the comforter, so the sheets still have pink spots on them, but it gives them character, right? RIGHT?!

Anyway, the result is that I can barely see the stains. Here's proof:


After: this is the same corner that's in the left side of the picture above. I should've tried situating them the same for the picture, but I'd seen enough of the comforter by the time I took these pictures!!! You can still see some faint red areas in the picture below, especially if you look along the edges, but they kind of blend in with the flowers on the fabric, so it's good enough for me. Oh, and that spot right below the leaves of that flower in the picture above? Totally gone!

There were sooo many red spots that it was long and tedious, but the work was well worth it in the end.

I'd say there's a moral to the story... but it would be something unrealistic like, "The moral of the story is, if you don't want to deal with crayon stains in your laundry, don't have kids!" because we all know this will happen again and again before my kids have outgrown crayons. And I'll take red crayon in my laundry any day before I'd give up my girls.

But I might throw out all the crayons. Just don't tell the girls.


  1. Nice! I probably would have just dyed the whole thing red and called it a day:)

    We had fun with you at the park today, lets do it more often! Henry was asleep before we got on the highway.

  2. THAT'S AMAZING!!! I'm SOOOOOOOOOO glad you got the stains out. And, I must applaud you on your patience...I would have been in tears, my heart aching over the loss of such beautiful bedding. I know, there are worse things in life but I take even the little things to heart and always wonder, "If only..." - glad your hardwork paid off!! :)

  3. That looks great Angie!
    I know how hard you must have worked on it. I'm so-o-o glad it came out so well.
    I remember when the same thing happened to me when a red (why is it always red?) crayon found it's way into a load of whites and damaged everything in the load including the white pinafores for your Raggedy Ann and Alice in Wonderland costumes? I got it all out but not without a lot of work. LOC (Liquid Organic Cleaner) from Amway worked like a charm. I guess you didn't find anyone selling it, huh? I haven't heard of too many people selling Amway lately and I'm all out or I would have given you some. The one bottle I bought lasted for years though. You might want to get yourself some and pass this remedy onto anyone else this might happen to. It might save them some money and all the experimenting you went through. Love ya! Mom

  4. I've been wondering if you got it out...SO glad to hear tht you did!

  5. That's impressive! Good work!

  6. I hopped on over here from Kelly at Love Well. You are the cutest thing. I would be sick about the crayon thing. I am so glad you got it out! What an answer to prayer. I won't tell if you throw out the crayons. I've been tempted to do so myself with mine, but nothing has happened this drastic. If it does, then yes. They will be gone. The crayons. No the kids. haha!

  7. Wow! Our kids have NOOO idea what we go through for them, do they? Save this story in your memory file and bring it up when they are teenagers complaining how you NEVER do anything for them! Hehe

  8. I just love how you can turn something like this into something so fun to read about! You are awesome. I'm thrilled for you that it all came out so well. :-)

  9. So glad it came out for you... I am beyond impressed with a) that fact that you got it out, and b) the number of cleaning supplies you have at your disposal. And I love that you tried toothpaste. Your mom is right, LOC is amazing!

    PS--I was just thinking yesterday about our 5th grade improv-ish production of MacBeth. Please tell me you thought about that when you started quoting Lady Macbeth for this post.

  10. Wow! That's a lot of work, but it sure did pay off for you. WOnderful

  11. Perseverance with a capital P!!!
    I'm so glad it doesn't look like a crime scene investigation anymore!

  12. First of all...we have the same dryer. There's hope for the stains from my future artist. Second of all, thanks for the tidbit! So moral of the story is to just point and spray :) I'm so glad it came out!

  13. Angie - 1
    Red stain - 0

    Way to triumph, girl. I'm proud of you and your stain-fighting skills.

    Now, be prepared for Google to send lots of people with crayon catastrophes your way.

    By the way, would it creep you out if I told you my daughter's PBK quilt is almost the same pattern? Separated at birth, I tell you.

  14. whoa. i didn't know you could put WD40 on fabric...or scrubbing bubbles for that matter. i'm tired just reading about your ordeal-we may never see crayons in our household!


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