I learned the hard way how to get crayon off wood. When my children were young, they would scribble crayon on anything they could get their little hands on. I’ll never forget the look on my poor wife’s face after our littlest drew all over our baby-grand piano.
At the time, I used detergent and a sponge to clean off the crayon. Mistake. The finely polished mahogany stained due to the strong cleaner. I decided to research the best way to get crayon off wood and found even on the Crayola site they can’t ‘guarantee results’. I put time into figuring out how to remove crayon from wood and in different scenarios so you won’t ruin your baby-grand piano too!
The most effective way of removing crayon from most wooden surfaces is by using a magic eraser. Wet the eraser then squeeze out excess water. Spot test the eraser on a small surface as a test area to ensure no damage is caused. Then scrub the magic eraser over the entire crayon stain.
The Most Effective Way To Remove Crayon From Wood
This method will work for 99% of cases. And in my opinion the absolute best method for removing crayon from wood is by using a Magic Eraser.
A Magic Eraser is a rectangular piece of foam, similar to a sponge. It’s more dense and abrasive than a standard cleaning cloth. It works in a similar way to very fine sandpaper. The technical term for a magic eraser is ‘melamine foam’.
Caution: if your wood is particularly delicate or antique, stay clear of using a magic eraser. Magic erasers can scrub off the surface of fine wood causing staining and damage.
- Dampen the magic eraser with water.
- SPOT TEST THE ERASER ON A SMALL AREA. Ensure this removes the crayon without causing damage.
- Rube the magic eraser WITH the grain of the wood until the crayon is removed.
The video below explains exactly how to remove crayon from wood using a magic eraser:
Don’t Damage Your Polished Wood or Antiques!
Some websites will encourage people to use a weird and wonderful variety of cleaning agents on wooden surfaces. But when dealing with Gran’s antique wooden clock (or any other antique or delicate wood) be extra cautious of using alcohol, white vinegar or magic erasers.
If you do damage antique wood, polish carefully using linseed oil.
The best way to remove crayon from antique, delicate wood or wooden floors is to use dish detergent. Dish detergent is mild and will not damage the wood. Soap is effective because it breaks up oil, like crayon.
- Mix 50/50 warm water with dish detergent.
- Soak a soft cleaning cloth in the soapy water and rub in a circular motion.
- Use a microfiber cloth to clean and dry.
Removing Crayon from Wooden Furniture
Within this section I’ll teach you how to remove crayon from wood furniture. Wooden furniture is normally sealed with a thick varnish. It may take slightly more elbow grease than other types of wood to remove crayon.
The consensus here is to use vaseline (or petroleum jelly). Petroleum jelly will attract grease away from the wooden surface and so will be effective in removing crayon.
- Put a blob of vaseline on a piece of kitchen roll.
- Rub the stain with the cloth.
- Dry the area with a clean cloth.
How to Remove Crayon from Unfinished Wood
What is unfinished wood? Well, for the most part unfinished wood is wood that has yet to be treated with a finish (such as stain or varnish). Mostly we hear people talking about ‘unfinished wooden furniture’ which means the furniture is complete but has not been varnished. This is what unfinished wood looks like:
The easiest way to remove crayon from unfinished wood is to simply sand off the crayon. Since the wood is unfinished, sanding the wood will not damage it at all.
Caution: Use fine grade sandpaper. This would be a CAMI (grit rating) of around 800 to 1000. If you use coarse sandpaper you risk sanding too deep into the wood and causing damage.
Gently sand the wood with the grain until the crayon mark has disappeared.
See this video for the basics on how to use sandpaper:
For 99% of cases, a magic sponge will effectively remove crayon from almost all wooden surfaces. Since crayon is made from wax, the magic sponge will easily sand off the mark.
Like anything, there are edge cases where the magic sponge won’t work and may even cause damage. Be particularly careful when removing crayon stains from antiques and use more delicate cleaning methods such as dish soap.