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Clean Ideas: Removing Pen, Marker and Crayons

child coloring wallWriting letters, arts and crafts, homework, making a grocery list … it doesn’t really matter how it got there. But if you take a close look around your home, you’re bound to find pen, marker, pencil or crayon markings on walls, desks, tables and furniture. Here’s how to remove those stains on a variety of surfaces.

Painted Walls and Painted Wood Furniture

  • Test the washability of the surface by first washing an inconspicuous area. Use a nonabrasive, all-purpose cleaner or a wood cleaner.
  • For walls, start at the bottom of the wall and work up to the ceiling, overlapping areas as you clean and using a circular motion. In this way, any dirty streaks can be wiped off the clean area and will not leave marks that are hard to remove.

Tile Floors and Countertops

  • Use a nonabrasive, all-purpose cleaner (diluted or full strength); tub/tile/sink cleaner; or liquid cleanser. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and buff tiles with a dry cloth to prevent water spots.
  • Avoid using powdered abrasive cleansers that could scratch the surface.
  • Use a soft bristle brush to clean grout.

Glass Tables and Doors

  • Use a glass or glass and multi-surface cleaner. Or combine 1/2 cup of ammonia in a gallon of water. Wet a sponge or cloth with the ammonia solution. Rinse with a clean, damp cloth and dry with a clean cloth, paper towels or a squeegee.

Marble Counter or Table

  • Avoid using acid type cleaners or spilling acids on marble. Pitting and staining can result.

Plastic Laminate Countertops

  • Clean with a nonabrasive, all-purpose cleaner using a sponge or cloth. Rinse with a sponge or cloth wrung from clean water; dry with a clean, soft cloth, Or, apply a creamy liquid kitchen wax that cleans and protects the surface as it is applied. Apply wax to a predampened cloth and clean a small area (about a square foot) at a time. Buff with a clean, dry cloth while wax is still moist.
  • Avoid using abrasive cleansers that could dull or bleach products that could alter the color of the surface.

Wallpaper

  • Washable Wallpaper Test the washability of the surface by first washing an inconspicuous area. Use a special liquid wallpaper cleaner or a nonabrasive, all-purpose cleaner.
  • Nonwashable Wallpaper Use a special product (ground art gum in a bag) or a dough wallpaper cleaner.
  • Start at the bottom of the wall and work up to the ceiling, overlapping areas as you clean and using a circular motion. In this way, any dirty streaks can be wiped off the clean area and will not leave marks that are hard to remove.

Wood

  • Cabinets Use a product that cleans finished wood to remove fingerprints, smudges and other soils. A polish or wax may be used if a shine is desired. Buff with a soft cloth. Be sure wood is properly finished. Any substance, even water, used on unfinished or improperly finished wood can damage the surface.
  • Floors Dust mop or clean with the floor brush attachment of a vacuum cleaner. Use a wood cleaner or either a liquid or paste polish to clean and add a new wax coating. Remove stubborn spots by rubbing with fine steel wool dipped in a wax. Or use a paste of baking soda and water.
  • Furniture and Woodwork Use a dusting product to pick up and retain light dust and soil. Product can be sprayed onto the surface or onto a dusting cloth. Remove dust and stains and add shine and protection with a furniture cleaner, cleaner polish or polish. Apply to surface and wipe with a clean, soft cloth.