On a summer’s day, there’s nothing better than grabbing a box of coloured chalk, running out to the driveway and smothering the entire surface in hopscotch lines, random shapes and animal drawings. It’s a pastime enjoyed by kids and adults alike!
The only trouble is, your clothes (no matter how careful you are) end up covered in the chalky powder!
It’s far from ideal; it’s incredibly messy, and the colourful deposits can be an eyesore. So, how do you get chalk off clothes?
Follow the step-by-step guide below to get rid of the chalk stains from your outfit!
Things to Know When Dealing with Chalk Stains
- Act quickly. The faster you react to the chalk stain, the better your chances are of removing the blemish in its entirety! Old blemishes are more difficult to get rid of.
- Don’t dry the item of clothing until the chalk has been removed from it. Heat sets stains. Consequently, they become harder to remove!
- Don’t rub the chalky blemish with water, as this will make the mark spread.
- Always do a patch test with your chosen cleaning solution! A quick test will tell you if the product you’re about to use will damage your garment in any way (most likely through discolouration). Don’t skip this step.
- Think about how you can stop this type of stain in the future! For example, consider wearing old clothes or covering up your clothes when playing with chalk. Avoid wiping the chalk into your outfit because you’ll have more significant and deeper blemishes to handle! And always try to keep the chalk contained in one area – the last thing you want is chalk stains on your clothes, walls, carpets, and soft furniture!
- Always read the care label on your clothing. The tag will tell you how to look after the item and advise against using specific products. Adhere to the advice!
A Guide to Getting Chalk Out of Clothes
Tools you’ll need:
- Two neutral-coloured cloths
- Shallow dish
- Rubbing alcohol
- Running hot water
- Biological liquid laundry detergent
- Optional: Washing up liquid
- Optional: Off-the-shelf stain remover
- Washing machine
Steps to follow:
- Remove the chalk-stained item from your person.
- Take the item outside and shake it. That’ll remove any loose chalk. (You may also find it helpful to brush or use a lint roller on your garment).
- Grab two clean, neutral-coloured cloths.
- Tuck one cloth up behind the back of the chalk stain.
- Pour some rubbing alcohol into a shallow dish.
- Grab the second cloth, dip it into the rubbing alcohol and do a patch test with the solution. If the rubbing alcohol damages your item, stop using it and move on to Step 10.
- Blot the rubbing alcohol into the chalk stain.
- Repeat Steps 6 and 7 until the chalk stain has been removed from the item. Use a new patch of cloth each time you blot (otherwise, you’ll reapply the dirt).
- Hold the item under the tap and rinse it clean to remove any residue.
- Choose one of the following treatments: biological liquid laundry detergent, washing up liquid or an off-the-shelf stain remover.
- Apply one of the solutions mentioned in Step 10 to the chalky patch.
- Wait at least 15 minutes for the solution to get to work.
- If you put washing up liquid on your item, rinse it clean, then move on to Step 14. If you use a stain remover, read the instructions on the packaging to see if you need to rinse the solution off the garment before you launder it, then move on to Step 14.
- Check the garment’s care label.
- Wash the item on the hottest setting permitted for the material. Choose a normal wash cycle.
- Add detergent to the machine.
- Start the cycle.
- When the cycle ends, remove your item from the washing machine and assess it to see if it is still stained.
- If you see any chalky patches, repeat the step above until you’ve removed the whole blemish. Don’t dry your garment because heat will set the stain, and it will become harder to remove.
- If there are no stains present, dry your garment as per the instructions on the care label.
Tip: If you don’t have rubbing alcohol at hand, try dabbing neat vodka into the stain (the plain version) or blot the mark with equal parts white vinegar and water. If need be, try something stronger – soak your clothes in a tub of diluted oxygen bleach for a few hours (do a patch test first to make sure the garments are colourfast!).
(Only use chlorine bleach on white clothes that are made from hard-wearing materials. Use this option as a last resort).
When to call a professional
If you’re dealing with a bad chalk stain or a chalky blemish on a delicate, vintage, or ‘Dry Clean Only’ piece, you should take your garment to a dry cleaning store and ask them to clean the mark.
Professionals can use different tools and products you probably don’t have access to at home to treat your outfit.
They’ll be able to care for the blemish in a different and more suitable way. A way where the fabric won’t get damaged!
A quick online search will bring up qualified pros near you. All you need to do is choose a suitable person, read plenty of reviews, and get a quote for the work.
How to Get Chalk Out of Clothes Without Washing
If you don’t have time to wash your chalk-stained item, don’t worry. You’ll still be able to remove the chalky blemish from the material.
To remove chalk stains from clothes without actually washing them, follow the steps below:
- Shake your item to remove loose chalk from it.
- Grab two neutral-coloured cloths.
- Stuff one cloth up behind the back of the stain.
- Use the second cloth to blot rubbing alcohol into the chalky stain.
- Rinse the product residue off the material using hot water (the hottest temperature allowed for the material).
- Apply an off-the-shelf stain remover to the treated patch.
- Re-rinse the area with hot water.
- Allow the item to dry naturally.
How to Remove Tailor’s Chalk Marks from Clothes
Tailor’s chalk isn’t quite the same as the chalk you draw on the pavement or blackboard with. It’s more robust, doesn’t crumble as quickly and is usually made from clay or wax.
Nonetheless, it can be removed from clothes with ease. However, you need to know what type of chalk created the mark on the clothing before you treat it so you can manage the blemish accordingly.
You can treat the clay version using these tools: brush the blemish with a soft toothbrush, blot the area with a damp, neutral-coloured cloth, or use a magic eraser. Gently rub the area until the marks go away.
You’ll need to use an iron to remove a waxy chalk stain. Just lay a clean, neutral-coloured towel down on the ironing board.
Lay the garment on top and stuff a flat, neutral-coloured towel behind the stain. Pop a strip of brown paper over the waxy chalk and fire up the iron to a medium temperature.
Carefully iron over the patch and watch as the wax melts and attaches itself to the paper. When you’re done, brush the material with a soft toothbrush to remove lingering debris.
You should visit a dry cleaning store for more stubborn marks to get a pro’s take on the matter.
Bethan has a passion for exploring, reading, cooking and gardening! When she’s not creating culinary delights for her family, she’s concocting potions to keep her house clean!