(And without having to disown your children).
Let’s be honest. You probably don’t think much about your walls. For years and years, you’ve lived in harmony with them. They close you in, they keep you dry, they separate you and your loved ones when you need a little space or privacy. They hold up your art and shelves and televisions, never uttering a single complaint.
Then you have kids, and everything changes. Walls are more important to kids. They’re more obvious. To kids, walls serve as a crutch, supporting their tiny weight and absorbing all of their sticky fingerprints as your toddler waddles down the hallway with nothing but the walls to keep them upright.
Walls also seem to make an excellent canvas for little ones. You’ve provided them with sketchbooks, construction paper, notebooks, poster board, newspapers and smocks, sure. But how could they resist the lure of the walls? They’re so blank and inviting, especially that range from 1–2 feet off of the ground, just above the baseboard. It’s beckoning them, and they’re helpless to its siren song.
Kids, crayons, walls. It’s the most stereotypical cleaning commercial trope, straight out of central casting. And that’s because it’s truly inevitable. So why fight the force? Just read on to learn how to clean the crayon off your walls, so you don’t have to waste any more time and effort denying that it’ll happen to you, no matter how well-behaved your child.
You won’t need ALL these options. Take inventory of your pantry, and then follow our instructions for the cleaning method of your choice.
Tip: Before you attempt to clean the crayon off your walls, give the damaged area a light dusting. We love the Swiffer Dusters Heavy Duty Super Extender—it’ll trap any loose dust, dirt or spiderwebs.
Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are awesome for removing crayon from walls (and, well, pretty much everything from anything!). Ideally, you catch the crayon when it’s fresh, which will make it easier to get rid of. Simply wet the eraser and give it a good squeeze to get rid of any excess water and to activate its cleaning agents. Rub it firmly along the crayon marks. Boom! Crayon no more. (Would you believe us if we told you it also works on permanent marker?!)
Good old-fashioned soap and water might just do the trick. We’d recommend trying this method first, before diving into the other stuff. Just wet your microfiber rag, wring it out and suds it up with a couple drops of gentle dish soap, like Dawn. Be careful not to get the wall too wet and damage the paint. Take it slow and easy, rubbing firmly but gently. Rinse and wring out the rag occasionally, so you’re not just smearing the crayon around.
You’ve heard us say it a billion times, but make a paste with baking soda and water (3 parts baking soda to 1 part water). The paste should be thick, like cake batter. Then apply the paste directly to the crayon marks with your sponge or microfiber rag. Gently exfoliate the crayon off the wall with the paste. Then wipe the wall clean with a damp rag, and let it air dry.
This is a weird one, but mayonnaise actually removes crayon marks from painted walls. Just rub it onto the crayon marks with your microfiber towel or rag, and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then wipe the wall clean with a damp rag, and let it air dry. Full-fat mayo works best in this case because the oil in the mayo breaks down the wax from the crayon, without damaging your paint job (although you might want to try it on a small section first before globbing it everywhere). Just make sure your pets are out of the room, or you’ll just be feeding them a greasy snack—which could lead to more cleanups later down the road.
Simply erase the crayon marks with a pencil eraser. You can also dampen the eraser, if that helps buff out the crayon.
Yep, that’s it. That was too easy, wasn’t it?
Dip your toothbrush into a cup of distilled white vinegar, and use it to gently scrub the crayon off the wall. Then take your microfiber rag, and wipe the wall clean with some warm water. If you hate the smell of vinegar, you can use Dawn Dish Soap and water to wash the wall after the crayon is gone, but be sure to do a final water-only rinse to remove any lingering soap residue.
Only use steel wool if your kid has scrawled on some wallpaper. Other, more abrasive substances will usually ruin your wallpaper, but if you just gently rub the crayon with steel wool, wiping it in the same direction continuously, it’ll scrape the crayon right off of the wallpaper. As before, test a small section before proceeding to make sure you know what you’re getting into.
Okay, your walls should be back to their original blank canvas state by now. They might even be cleaner than they were to begin with. Speaking of which, you know you should be cleaning your walls semiregularly, right? It’s true.
It’s easy to forget to keep walls clean. Sure, sometimes they get a little dusty or scuffed, but they’re never a high priority when it comes to having to clean them. It’s not like they take a real beating, like your floors, couches or carpets. They’re not often visibility dirty, like your windows or stovetop. And you certainly wouldn’t consider having to sanitize them, like your countertops or other various high-touch areas.
But you really ought to clean the walls several times each year, or quarterly/seasonally—especially if you’re prone to dust allergies! Washing the walls sporadically is also a good idea if you like to leave windows open, unintentionally inviting allergens and dirt into your home. But don’t worry, washing your walls is super easy. Here, we’ll prove it.