Crayon marks are welcome on paper, but as parents know, they often end up on painted walls, wood floors and other places where they don't belong. A friend asked the best way to get them out, which I thought was a good question for the Monday Consult.
It turns out that Crayola.com has a helpful series of stain-removal guides for its products. Here's some of the advice you can find there for regular crayons:
* For brick, carpet, plastic and a number of other surfaces, WD-40 is the magic bullet. The site outlines various ways to use it, depending on where the mark is. Sometimes you'll need dishwashing detergent as well.
* For unfinished wood, try rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth.
* For unwashable materials, you'll probably want to consult a professional dry cleaner, the guide says, but Amodex ink and stain remover may work.
* The guide includes tips for Crayola activities and toys. You can get Silly Putty out of a child's hair with a generous amount of baby oil or hair conditioner and warm water, which you massage around the Silly Putty and then gently comb out. (Shampoo the hair afterward.)
The guide is careful to say that you should test the method you're thinking about using on an "inconspicuous area" of the surface to be cleaned. It also says results are not guaranteed. And you should check the box of the product that made the mark before you go to the guide, because the advice changes depending on what your child was using when his coloring went off the reservation.