Magic Markings

Dear Household Goddesses,
My nearly 2 year old daughter is many things. She is a clever, fearless, climbing artist who uses the world as her canvas. As hard as we try to keep any and all writing instruments away from her,  she seems to have a sixth sense when it comes to finding stray pens or bits of crayon. I can’t keep an eagle eye on her at all times, because sometimes I need to take her 3 year old brother to the potty, take a shower, or blink. My apartment walls are covered in crayon (washable and not), marker (washable and not), colored pencil, and various kinds of pen ink.

I’ve tried soap and water, multi-purpose cleaner, Soft Scrub and Magic Erasers to get my walls clean but nothing seems to do more than fade it out. My lease eliminates any repainting options. What can I do?
Signed,
All Marked Up

how to remove marker from paint

Heather says:

If the washable markers and crayons are leaving stains it sounds as though your walls are painted with flat paint, the least scrubbable and least stain resistant type.  Unfortunately,  some of the marks may be permanent, but here are some tricks to try.  Test each cleaning method in an inconspicuous area to be sure you will not create a bigger problem.

how to take care of your walls

Click the picture for more tips!

  • Ink – try spraying with aerosol hairspray or dabbing with rubbing alcohol.
  • Crayon – try rubbing with toothpaste (not gel) and then wiping clean with a damp sponge. WD-40 is another product to try, as with any solvent, use sparingly in repeat applications rather than spraying willy nilly.
  • Marker – treat as you would an ink stain

Good luck, maybe you have a budding Rosa Bonheur.

Send your domestic questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.



1 Comment

  1. Keter on August 13, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    “My lease eliminates any repainting options.”

    Use the same color and finish (flat or semigloss), do a good job that leaves no visible edges, say nothing, and they’ll never know. ;o)

    My son was awful on walls (bangs, scrapes, and “I didn’t do it!” stains), so I bought the cheapest latex paint I could find (most apartments are an easy-to-match off white), put down a newspapers (tape ’em in place to form a solid surface that can’t slide and leave carpet exposed) or a drop cloth, blue-taped what should be masked off, removed outlet and switch covers, and painted. (And be sure to get a sitter while this is going on — small children WILL play in the paint.) No one ever noticed, and I never lost a nickel of my deposits.

    Sometimes I could just paint the spot, other times I had to paint a whole wall. If your color matches closely, slight differences between walls will not show if you are careful in masking off corners.

    Something bled through? Use KILZ primer to cover nastiness like Sharpie ink, let dry, then paint another topcoat over the KILZ.

    Make a boo-boo? Have a wet rag (an old washcloth works best) ready to wipe up latex spots before they have a chance to dry. If you move quickly enough, you can even get fresh latex paint drips out of most carpet! Boo-boo dried or is really bad? Use Goof Off latex paint remover on a rag to remove the mistake.

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