With two young boys, our laundry is never without a few articles of clothing with mysterious stains. Then Elijah started school, and suddenly one stain became a regular – DRY ERASE MARKER! Since he has lost a couple pairs of pants to this epidemic (and we’re already buying him new pants constantly because he won’t stop growing), I’m on a mission to figure out the best way to remove dry erase marker from clothing.
When Elijah first came home with a black ink stripe on his pants, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. He’s in kindergarten, he’s very creative and artistic, and he’s kind of careless at times with how he holds his writing utensils. But the black mark didn’t come all the way out when I washed his jeans.
So it wasn’t a washable marker he’d had.
The next time the “tiger stripes” showed up on his jeans, I asked him, “How do you keep getting marker on your pants?”
He said they were from the dry erase marker when he was writing on the whiteboard.
I mentioned the marked-up pants to his teacher, and at first she just thought I was expecting him to be perfectly neat and mature with how he handles the markers.
No. I live with this child. I’ve cleaned marker off his hands, his arms, his face, and the soles of his feet. While I have begged him to be more careful when he’s handling those markers, I know I’ll still be facing random marks in the future.
When she realized I meant that the stains weren’t coming out, she seemed surprised.
“Doesn’t it just wash out?”
Nope. At least not every time.
After having hit or miss luck with the marker just washing out when I pre-treated them (and having hit or miss luck with actually seeing the marks before the jeans went into the dryer- ugh), I realized that I needed to find a real solution to this issue.
So, I did some investigating. Yep, Pinterest.
I searched “removing dry erase marker from clothing” and found a few articles, but most of them said the same thing – hairspray or rubbing alcohol. So, treating the marker like an ink stain. (I also saw a few that mention Murphy’s Oil Soap, but since I didn’t have any of that, I thought I’d test out the first options.)
I was ready to try my best to conquer this nuisance. I had two pairs of Elijah’s jeans with marker on them that I’d set aside the other day. One had already been treated, washed, and dried but still looked just like it had when Elijah came home in them. The other pair hadn’t been washed, but they had been sitting for a couple of days. Most advice I’d read said that dealing with the stain as soon as you could was the best guarantee for success.
Therefore, when I picked up Elijah today and saw that he had stained another pair of jeans with dry erase marker, it was the first time I was even slightly happy to see those marks. Now I had a dried-in-stain pair, a set-stain pair, and fresh-stain pair. If I could get the stains out of all three, we’d be doing really well.
While Elijah was at school, I had followed these directions that I’d found online to use hairspray and rubbing alcohol on the first two pairs of pants. For a little bit of extra oomph, I also scrubbed in some hand sanitizer, which works great to clean dry erase boards and as more of a concentrated alcohol gel was easier to work with than liquid rubbing alcohol. Before I put those jeans in the washer, I added some stain-treater (Spray ‘N’ Wash), and then washed the pants with detergent in cold water.
The set-stain pair actually came out clean! Yea!!! Of course, the stains were fewer to begin with, but yea!!! One down easily.
The dried-in stain pair was still stained. So, I went through the whole process again. It only helped a little.
By the time I had Elijah’s freshly-stained jeans, I applied the hair spray, rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, and Spray ‘N’ Wash stain treater to those jeans and the dried-in stain ones (“third time today” is a charm). They both went through the wash.
The newest stains came out almost completely, and the dried-in ones were a little less noticeable, but I wasn’t satisfied.
One more time through the scrubbing and washing, and today’s stained pants were clean! And the dried-in stains were actually showing less. One more time through should do it, I think. (So…5 times through the process when you set the stain in really well with the dryer. I’ll try not to let that happen again.)
So, while it isn’t a perfectly simple solution for getting rid of those pesky dry erase marks on my child’s jeans, at least I know it will work, eventually, and there is hope for Elijah’s pants.
Next up, trying to get silly putty out of the fabric of MY pants pocket. Life with kids, huh?
Have you ever had a stain that you just couldn’t get out? Did you ever find a solution, besides getting rid of the clothes?
My boys have added to my laundry stain know-how: