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Does Pencil Wash Out of Clothes?

does pencil wash out of clothes

Did you just accidentally get pesky pencil marks on your favorite shirt, or maybe your kids decided that they can write all over your favorite curtains? If that is the case, then you may want to find the answer to the question, “Does pencil wash out of clothes?”. The answer is yes and it is actually easy to do so.

If you use pencils quite often, it is often unavoidable that you sometimes get pencil marks on your clothes, especially if you often wear long-sleeved shirts for work. Although it may look like smudged graphite will leave quite a stain on light-colored or white fabrics, they are not that hard to remove at all.

Don’t panic as there are a few tips to remove pencil stains on fabrics. Learn about such tips through this article.

Step-by-Step Guide

Removing Pencil Stains on Washable Fabrics

removing pencil stains on washable fabrics

Will pencil wash out of fabric? Not entirely, which is why you will need to do a couple of extra steps. If the tag on the clothes says that they are machine-washable, here is what you can do to get pencil stains out of them.

What to prepare:

  • Soft, kneadable eraser – You will need to use a kneadable eraser because regular rubber erasers might damage the fabric.
  • Liquid detergent
  • Ammonia


Step 1 – Use the eraser to rub off the graphite

Place the stained piece of clothing on a flat surface like a table. Stretch and flatten out the stained area on the surface. Take your kneadable eraser and carefully rub it on the graphite stain. Do not put too much pressure on the fabric to prevent damage.

Step 2 – Apply liquid detergent on the stain

Once you have removed as much of the stain as you could, dip your finger into some liquid detergent and then smear it all over the stained area. If the stain is quite dark, add a couple of drops of ammonia directly to it.

Step 3 – Tamp and rinse

Tamp the detergent and ammonia into the stain to get the detergent and ammonia working. Rinse the stained area under running water to remove all traces of detergent and ammonia in the fabric. Wash the fabric immediately to remove the remaining traces of the pencil stain and get the rest of the piece of clothing cleaned as well.

Removing Pencil Stains on Non-washable Fabrics

removing pencil stains on non washable fabrics

If you are dealing with pencil graphite stains on fabrics that are dry clean only, like wool, silk, rayon, and the like, you will need to be a lot more careful than when you are handling washable fabrics.

What to prepare:

  • A soft, kneadable pencil eraser
  • Spray-on dry cleaning product
  • Wet and dry spotters – You can find these products online or in stores carrying dry cleaning supplies.
  • A dull knife, like a butter knife
  • A bit of water
  • A clean kitchen sponge

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Use the kneadable pencil eraser on the stain

Lay the stained item of clothing on a flat surface and then use the soft, kneadable pencil eraser to get as much of the pencil stain as you can. Use a kneadable eraser because a regular rubber eraser might damage the fabric, especially fragile fabric types, like silk.

Rub the eraser gently on the pencil stains and knead the eraser if the surface gets a bit too dirty. If you can no longer pick up any of the graphite off the fabric, you should stop to keep it from getting ruined.

Step 2 – Apply dry cleaning solvent and dry spotter

Take your dry-cleaning solvent and spritz a bit of it directly on the stain. Once the stain is saturated, apply enough of the dry spotter to cover the stain. Rub the spotter into the stain using a cotton pad that is moistened with a bit of the dry spotter.

Cover the stain with the same pad you used to rub in the dry spotter and let it soak in for at least 30 minutes.

Step 3 – Spray more dry-cleaning solvent

After the dry spotter has dried, take off the pad and spray the stain with a bit more of the dry-cleaning solvent. If there is still some of the stain remaining, scrub the area with a sponge with a bit of water and then apply a bit of the wet spotter.

Step 4 – Scrape off the stain

Once the dry spotter is dry, take your dull knife and carefully scrape the stain off the surface of the fabric. Be careful when scraping off the stain. Do not put too much pressure on the knife to keep it from damaging the surface of the fabric.

Step 5 – Rinse and let dry

Rinse the fabric using cold water. Check if there is still a bit of the stain left and if there is, repeat steps 2 to 4. If you are happy with the results, you just need to let the clothing air dry. Have the fabric dry-cleaned as soon as you can so that the rest of the fabric will get the same amount of cleaning.


Does pencil wash out of clothes? If you are thinking of just washing your clothes as you would normally, the stain might not go away entirely. However, when you follow the tips mentioned above, you will get near-professional stain removal results.

Even when you are dealing with dry-clean-only fabrics, you can remove the pencil stain yourself and not have to pay extra for dry cleaning.