Stained dress

Once again, life has provided me with an opportunity to research how to remove some obscure stain. This time, it’s how to remove art pastel stains from clothes.

(Aren’t you happy that we’re such a messy family? Because chances are, if you’ve found this web page through a search engine, your family is messy, too! Like they say, find the silver lining. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. No, wait. We’d probably spill the lemonade on ourselves, and then I’d be researching how to remove that stain, too!)

This stain comes to us compliments of our family outing jar. On Sunday, we pulled the following outing from our jar: Do an art project together as a family. I had recently seen this post on how to color a butterfly with oil pastels from Rob at Art for Kids, and this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try. (Don’t worry, Rob. I don’t blame you for the stain, especially because I was able to remove it so easily!) But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Butterfly pictures

We made these beautiful butterflies together, and no one got a stain on themselves. No one. The problem came this morning, when one of my children decided to pick up the art pastels I left out on the counter to make another picture. Only this time, she did get a stain. Several stains, actually. And this time, she was wearing a brand-new Gymboree dress.

As soon as I discovered the stain, I rushed to my computer to find a solution. I came across these helpful tips from Crayola:

Stained dress

Step 1 – Remove as much art pastel from the clothing as possible.

Dress blotted with rubbing alcohol

Step 2 – Blot the stain with rubbing alcohol.

Dress with dishwashing liquid

Step 3 – Rub any remaining stain with a healthy dose of dishwashing liquid. (I just added the “healthy dose” part. I wanted to be “certain sure” to get this stain out, since we hardly ever buy a new dress from Gymboree, and I want it to last!)

Step 4 – Wash as usual.

Clean dress

As you can see, the stain is completely gone!

Stained sweater

I had plenty of opportunity to practice my newfound stain-fighting skills, since said child also got art pastel stains all over her cream sweater. (Granted, it’s not a brand-new Gymboree sweater; I bought this one at Goodwill for $2.50, but I still like it, and I’d rather it last a little longer. We’ve since had a calm discussion about not wearing nice clothes when creating art with pastels…something you might want to include in your post, Rob. I’m just sayin’!) 🙂

Sweater dabbed with rubbing alcohol

The blotting with rubbing alcohol yielded minimal results, but being the ever-faithful instruction follower, I plunged ahead with step 3 and then promptly dropped the sweater in the laundry.

Clean sweater

The results speak for themselves.

So the next time you or a loved one decides to experiment with art pastels and you forget to wear an art smock, never fear, because now you know how to remove art pastel stains from clothes. You’re welcome! 🙂

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16 Responses to How to Remove Art Pastel Stains from Clothes

  1. Shana Rapps says:

    We need some help also;) my son hid a pastel in his pants pocket and it went through the wash leaving yellow marks on all the clothes and then they all went through the dryer as well. Is there anyway to salvage any of the clothes at this point? Thanks!!

  2. Mallory says:

    This article just saved my $50 blouse! I had only worn it for engagement pictures then wore it to work today and got pastel on it (sorting children’s art work for a contest). I almost had a heart attack… but this post saved my shirt!! I’m so happy I could cry right now. Thank you for posting this!!

  3. Nikky says:

    This post just saved a lovely yellow frock of my daughter’s . Thank you !!

  4. […] How to Remove Oil Pastel Stains from Clothes […]

  5. Kelli Litza says:

    Any chance you have a tip for cleaning the pastels off a drawing board? My son went all Captain Destruction on me this morning and made a mess of my board. 4 year old boys. What can you do… 😉

    • MaryJane says:

      Hi, Kelli. I think it would depend on the type of surface of your drawing board. My first thought, without knowing the exact surface, would be to try a light paste made of baking soda and water. Rub very gently and see if it comes off. You could also try blotting with alcohol. Then rub a little Dawn dishwashing liquid into it with a damp towel, being careful not to saturate! If that doesn’t remove it all, go back to the baking soda paste. Either way, try it in a small section first. 🙂

  6. natasha says:

    Thank God! Praise the Lord. You just saved my best friends life!!!! 🙂

  7. Racheal says:

    Thank you so much for this! It just saved my favorite piece of clothing. I went to a drawing class straight from work and there was oil pastel left on the drawing board I used. I thought the garment was ruined and this absolutely worked.

  8. julie says:

    Added to my list! Thanks.

  9. Nyree Brunton says:

    Lol, this is so funny! But helpful too, I’m going to Pin it in my “Top Tips” folder, thanks!

  10. Rob says:

    PS, we love how the butterflies turned out! Everyone did such a great job!

    • MaryJane says:

      Thanks, Rob. We sort of veered off the path from the Monarch butterfly, didn’t we? And no worries about the stain. I’m the ding dong who didn’t think to have the kids put on an art smock! We all had a great time making the butterflies and experimenting with mixing colors. Thanks for a fun family afternoon!

      • Rob says:

        Haha, it’s all good!

        Glad you guys had a fun family activity together…and who cares about veering 🙂 that’s half the fun of art.

  11. Rob says:

    Ok, this made me literally laugh out loud, while also feeling horrible 🙂 Haha!

    The next oil pastel post we do is going to include a link straight to here! Plus extra red cautions about not wearing nice clothes during the activity!

    I guess that’s what you get for reading a blog written by a dad 😉

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