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Remove Quilting Lines Left By Chalk Markers

by Sharon Harrington
(Delafield, WI)

I tested the pink chalk on my border sample before beginning. I have now marked and quilted a king sized quilt. The border is a natural color and I am having trouble removing the pink lines between the stitches.

Do I need to wash the complete quilt? I cannot bleach it off because the backing is a dark color.


Ideally chalk will disappear during the machine quilting process. However, sometimes it does not. These are possible remedies for its removal.

As always, be sure to test on an inconspicuous area of your quilt before trying any of our suggestions on your whole quilt.

NOTE: In your question, there was no mention of prewashing your quilt fabric. If you did not, I would check to be sure that the fabrics in the quilt are colorfast. Most of the removal methods suggested take some form of liquid and you wouldn't want to have any fabrics run.

To remove chalk marks, try:

  • Dabbing with a clean sponge and cold water

  • Fabric eraser - though these are generally marked for use to erase light pencil marks, some are suggest use for the removal of all marks

  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser - rub gently

  • To remove chalk from it's Chaco Liner, Clover recommends washing in a water/vinegar mixture. (5 parts water to 2 parts white vinegar) and then letting it air dry. That would take a lot of vinegar to wash a quilt.

  • Pepper Cory, in her book 'Mastering Quilt Marking' also recommends the use of white vinegar to remove heavy chalk marks. She suggests applying the vinegar to a soft cloth (I'd use white to avoid transferring any color TO your quilt) and gently rubbing the chalk marks. You don't want to saturate the quilt with vinegar. Let it air dry and then wash the quilt in cool water.

If you still have the sample you tested on, I'd use that to test the remedies first. Then test the most promising on an inconspicuous place on your quilt. If it works there, then move to the rest of your quilt.

I would try one of these remedies before washing the quilt. I would not want to inadvertently transfer the color from the chalk markings to another area of the quilt and create a bigger problem. I'm not saying that would happen, just that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".

Quilts markings that refuse to leave once a quilt is finished are the most unwelcome of guests.

We, as quilters, depend on the accurate labeling of quilt marking tools to let us know which is best for our quilt. If you have one that won't come out as the instructions suggested, please write to the manufacturer and let them know. It's the only way we can get better products.

Readers, if you have any other suggestions, please let us know by using the 'Comment' link below.

Sharon, I hope this information has been of help to you.


Julie Baird

P.S. Your question has led me down an interesting research path.

I came across an article where the quilter found that very few of the quilt marking tools she used came out as promised. That's disheartening since we rely on the package information to help us choose which marking tool to use.

Over the next couple of months, I will test a variety of products, stitch over the markings and let them sit for a month or two to replicate how a quilt gets quilted. Then I'll remove the marks as per the manufacturers' instructions. I'll report my findings on the website and then announce them in STASH Talk, our monthly newsletter.

While this doesn't help you with your present problem, I hope it will aid quilters in the future.

Comments for Remove Quilting Lines Left By Chalk Markers

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Clover grey chalk
by: Anonymous

I just finished my first quilt. It was expensive and time consuming. My instructor suggested Clover markers were easy to use and remove. Well, I have tried literally everything suggested on this website, plus a few more and nothing has worked. This is a light colored quilt with grey lines where I marked for quilting.

I am very upset and will never use another CLover product.

Old chalk lines
by: Jaci

I am doing a huge quilt 110" x 120" with 49 "almost white" blocks that need to be marked and hand quilted on my frame. Trouble is that I am guessing it will take me 1 - 2 years to complete the handquilting.

I am making 49 different celtic knot designs printing on my computer then tracing onto the quilt, so a pounce bag doesn't work, and the chalk pencil markers make awfully wide marks, but that is what I am using.

Is there a safe way to remove the chalk marks as soon as I complete a block so the chalk is not sitting for a year or more before I can wash the quilt?

Removing chalk and marking pen lines
by: Marsha W

A huge thank you to all who posted their attempts and successes.

I started a project that instructed me to mark many lines for topstitching and so I did with what I had on hand (marking pens that "faded" and the chalk pen with a variety of colors). I did not think about how to remove the markings until already stitched.

I used what I had on hand which turned out to be a spot remover that when sprayed had the scent of dry cleaning chemicals. I knew it was safe for the cotton fabrics and it worked beautifully!

The product is sold at Dollar Tree under the name of:

"LA’S TOTALLY AWESOME" All-Purpose Concentrated Cleaner-Degreaser Spot Remover"

I soaked a very soft toothbrush and gently rubbed out ALL of the lines. It dries without any discoloration! 1$ for 32oz.

Thank you for having this post- you saved my project completely.

Friction pens
by: Anonymous

I have seen friction pens actually remove the color(dye) from fabric more than once when the pens are used for marking quilts.

Friction pens are designed to be used on paper, not fabric so I never use them on fabric!👍🏻

From the Editor: I agree with you! Even the manufacturer tells us no consideration was given to use on fabric when they designed them.

For those quilters that choose to mark with them, I urge you to do a test sample. Leave it in the sun, leave it in the car, put it in the freezer to see what happens, and whether or not you're satisfied with how it looks after removal (i.e. does it leave a ghost image on lighter or darker fabrics?)

If it works for your needs, that is what's important. And just as important is making an informed decision.

Thank you for sharing!


Julie Baird

by: Carolyn


I don't recall where I bought Energene. I've probably had it for years. You could try a search for "dry cleaning solvent". Maybe just the Energene brand is no longer available?


removing powdered chalk lines
by: noreen

Somewhere I read that Shout Pre-wash would remove the lines. I had tried brushing them out as well as washing and these placemats were to be part of a wedding gift. I bought the Shout, used a gentle nail brush then washed with liquid detergent and oxy-clean and it came out. I'd never use this method again on the right side of a quilt. I have some wax tailor's chalk and will use that, then gently press the lines to remove the wax.

From the Editor: I'm so glad you were able to get the marks out. Thanks for sharing what worked for you.

~ Julie

Removing Chaco Liner from Fabric
by: Jenn, Cornwall UK

Thank you!

Removing yellow Clover Chaco Liner layout lines from plain, linen-look cotton quilted cushion cover in deep teal.

Tried small plastic brush from Prym dressmaker's pencil, but the fabric eraser worked best.

So glad to still have these tools from my P&Q study days!


From the Editor: Thanks for sharing what worked for you, Jenn! There's usually more than one way. I'm so thankful for readers like you who take the time to share with their fellow quilters.


Julie Baird

Ivory soap can remove chalk lines
by: Nadya

Ivory bath soap bar and rub with your finger along the chalk mark. Ivory and other bars contain a mild pumice abrasive that works on lots of stains.

From the Editor: Good to know, Nadya! Thank you for sharing.


Julie Baird

by: Gail

I am new to quilting and my Nephew asked if I could make him a tee-shirt quilt. I was able to get it together and was pleased with the project. I then decided to hand quilt around each shirt and used a yellow chalk marker thinking it would iron off.

But no go. I tried rubbing it off with a dry white face cloth, then used water.

But it was still very visible.

I used a toothbrush and then a friend suggested using a little Dawn dish soap mixed with water. It didn't look like it was coming off but when it dried, the quilt appears to be saved.

From the Editor: I'm so happy your quilt was saved.

An interesting thing that I've learned about Dawn through my fabric dyeing adventures. Blue Dawn (only the blue) is a surfactant...just like Synthrapol is. Synthrapol is what I use to remove the excess dye from my hand dyed fabrics.

It makes sense that it might work for removing the chalk.

Thank you so much for sharing.


Julie Baird

Removing marks on quilts
by: Jacque

I use Pilot Frixion pens. They come off easily and completely with a hot iron. If the marks come back just re-iron. It has not failed for me.

Amazon has them if your quilt shop doesn’t.

From the Editor: Just so our readers understand what 'come back' means. If the project gets cold enough the marks made with the Frixion pens will come back. For quilts you make for yourself, probably not a problem. (Though I can't comment on the acidity of the pens. I just don't know that information.)

If, however, you intend to ship this quilt during the wintertime. Or it gets shipped by airplane where it's cold in the cargo hold. Be prepared for those marks to come back.

It's good to know the properties of the tools you are using. Choose what makes the most sense for you.

Thank you for sharing, Jacque!


Julie Baird

Quilt marking tools
by: Anonymous

I use the Frixion gel always comes off with a hot iron. And it is a fine line and easy to use plastic templates.

Pounce works too and Magic eraser removes it easily. But the yellow chaco liner is tough to get off I’ll try your above water & vinegar solution.

From the Editor: Just for our readers' understanding, if the project gets cold enough the marks made with the Frixion pens will come back. For quilts you make for yourself, probably not a problem. (Though I can't comment on the acidity of the pens. I just don't know that information.)

If, however, you intend to ship this quilt during the wintertime. Or it gets shipped by airplane where it's cold in the cargo hold. Be prepared for those marks to come back.

It's good to know the properties of the tools you are using. Choose what makes the most sense for you.

Good to know about the Magic Erasers, too. I use them to clean my iron. They work on a cold iron, so you've just got to be patient enough to let it cool.

Thanks for sharing.

~ Julie

Attn Carolyn
by: Ginger

Carolyn, this is off the subject of chalk marks. WHERE DID YOU FIND ENERGENE?? I have been looking for it for years!


Clover Chaco yellow marker
by: CindyAust

Terrible product. Won’t remove off Lycra.

Ruined a whole tutu bodice. Really never going to buy another one of these ever again.

Thank you!
by: Chris Bartlett


This was a great site for me to find. Thanks for the tip on using Shout to get out the chalk marks. I used it as the directions suggested and it totally took out the markings. I use a Bohin chalk pencil.

Thanks again for posting!

From the Editor: I'm so glad it worked for you! Thanks for writing.


Julie Baird

Yellow is a pain
by: Cheryl

So marked a blue quilt with yellow Chaco liner. Washed it, did not come out. Tried vinegar, got some out, tried about, removed most. Had one piece of fabric that was light blue that still wasn't coming clean. So thought what almost always works. SHAMPOO Used a toothbrush, scrubbed it in, out with the yellow. Yeah.

From the Editor: Go TEAM CHERYL!!! Shampoo? Who'd a thunk-it. Good to have another tool in the mark-removal bag of tricks!

Thank you for sharing!


Julie Baird

Wonderful, Help
by: Anonymous

I used a yellow chalk marker on a quilt with lots of detail quilting. Guess what - it didn't come off as the package indicated it would. Panic . . . I found this blog with tips. Yippee. Carpet stain remover worked perfectly.

From the Editor: Thank you SO MUCH for that information. I would have never thought to try carpet stain remover!


Julie Baird

Removing Carpenters chalk from a quilt
by: Betty

A friend's Amish quilter quilted a quilt for me. She did a beautiful job and I love the pattern. HOWEVER, when I saw the markings still on the fabric, I asked my friend to find out what she used so I could get it out. She was told by the woman that she used CARPENTERS chalk, and that she never had a problem with it. But my quilt is very light in color and there are blue chalk marks over the entire surface and in many places it went clear through the batting and onto the backing. It has been 3 years and I have been afraid to wash it for fear it won't come out. Can you give any advice at all. I've tried asking other places but get no answers that could help. Thanks

Stubborn Yellow Chalk Markings
by: Alice

I found Liquid Oxy Clean removed yellow chalk when nothing else would! You can spray on, or put a dot on a cloth and apply to the stubborn markings. I have not had any issue with Oxy Clean, fading any fabric,

However, Always test first!!

From the Editor: Thanks for sharing your experience with Oxyclean. I'm relieved it worked for you.

Totally with you on's so important...especially BEFORE you start a project. Thank you for the support!


Julie Baird

Clover yellow chalk marker
by: Anonymous

I used the yellow marker on a hand pieced, hand quilted Grandmother's flower garden (fortunately or unfortunately) and cannot remove the yellow chalk marks. Looks like it might have settled into the batting?! I have used Shout and some other stain cleaning products purchased at the grocery store with no luck. It has also been washed in the machine. I now am going to try vinegar and someone mentioned in a post and wash it again.

Never again would I use those Clover powdered markers. I think one of the best things to use is your dried slivers of soap bars. At least they will wash out.

Good luck ladies. If you have any suggestions, let me know.

chalk removal
by: Anonymous

I also could not get the yellow Dritz chalk out of my new washed cotton comforter material. I used OxiClean spray and also LAVA hand soap. Rubbed it in and washed it. All is gone. It took quite a bit of working it in the spots to get it out though. Nothing is on the package for washing the chalk out.

Hera Marker
by: Roni

I've had numerous quilts ruined with various markers. My go-to was Resolve Spray-n-Wash stain stick. Leave it for several hours then wash in cold water. Check the stain(s) before drying and retreat until the stain is gone.

I had to treat one quilt three times.


I discovered Hera Markers and LOVE mine. It works brilliantly on any fabric in any color. They're reasonably priced and never wear out so, aside from losing it, you'll never need to replace it. I won't use chalk, pen or anything else ever again.

From the Editor: You can find Hera Markers on

~ Julie

Chalk on Quilt
by: Elizabeth

I've read all the suggestions and can't believe I didn't think of the vinegar/water thing since I use vinegar for absolutely everything!

However, I need to know what to do if the quilt has been ironed, to remove the Fixion marks, not realizing a section was chalked.

White thread discolored
by: Anonymous

I am always in a big hurry to get things done. Big mistake.

When I saw that touching it with an iron did not take out the blue as with my old Mark B Gone pen, I tried the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

No luck with that on the thread.

The fabric is white with red candy motif, the thread white, and it is backed with red so I am afraid to wash it. Should I try dabbing Shout on it? I don't want the red to bleed through from the back or the edges of the candy sticks to bleed pink.

From the Editor: If you have any leftover scraps from the backing, I'd do a bleed test on it to see if it's going to bleed on you.

Even if it passes the bleed test, I'd add several color catchers to the wash water for extra insurance.

Test the Shout first, if you use it, to make sure it doesn't remove the color from the fabric. Getting it out is going to be the tricky part if you're unable to put it through the washing machine. That's why I suggest doing the bleed test on scraps first.

~ Julie

wondering about oxyclean?
by: Anonymous

I have tried everything to rid of the chalk marks on the project I was finishing, to no avail, nothing worked.
I remember seeing a commercial of Oxyclean that showed coloured clothing being soaked in it and the stains left and no colour runs.

Just wondered if anyone has used it and had luck?

From the Editor: I've seen that shared, too. If nothing else has worked, it won't make it worse. Just follow the directions, especially for water temperature. Hot warm has a tendency to set colors.


Julie Baird

Blue Clover on mink fleece
by: Anonymous

Any tips on getting blue Clover chalk out of mink fleece? Unfortunately I have already washed it, it did not come out. I have tried Shout Out - not working. I have not tried the what can I do next?

From the Editor: I'd try blue Dawn in water with a soft brush.


~ Julie

Hate this pen
by: darlene

JoAnns will be getting this back.

Tried all suggestions. Next time I will try tear away with the design on that rather than my quilt..

Very disgusted. I am finishing a baby quilt as a gift.

All this work and money.

I am just sick.

Shout worked :)
by: CMoe

Thank you for all the options to remove chalk marks.

I used blue chalk on white fabric and had no idea it would not come out.

The Shout worked for me :) My question is: have you completed your test on the different chalk markers and how well they disappear. There are no dates on the comments so I am not sure when these comments were posted.

Thanks Again :) 6-11-2015

Removing Chalk marks from quilt top
by: Anonymous

I have just this minute tried using the eraser on the end of the Frixion Pen to remove gray chalk marks from a USA Birch Chalk Pencil from my black fabric and it worked brilliantly.

Carbona carpet cleaner worked
by: Carolyn

I marked upholstery fabric with red Chaco marker. It would not come off with a damp cloth.

Also tried vinegar/water solution and Energene (dry cleaning solvent).

I finally got it out easily using Carbona carpet cleaner. I put a little on a toothbrush, rubbed it on, left it for a few minutes, then gently brushed with the toothbrush.

The red marks came out easily. An added benefit of carpet cleaner is that it does not need to be washed (not an option on my upholstered chair).

Soap for marking
by: Carol

I mark all my things with slivers of left over soap and you can sometimes just rub it and it will disappear or spray a sponge and rub lightly and it's all gone. I have used it for many years on my garments I have made, now I use it for quilting as well.

Don't use glycerine soap though. I take a blade and "sharpen" them so it is a fine line.

Shout worked for me!
by: Anonymous

To the person who posted about using Shout pre-wash spray to remove chalk lines: thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

I am a newbie quilter who hasn't done much more than stitch in the ditch until quite recently. I got a pink Clover brand Chaco marker in my Christmas stocking this year and today I gave it a go. Being new it never even occurred to me to test it first so I just went ahead and marked up the whole quilt, and then discovered that it wouldn't brush off the bright yellow fabric I was using for half of my blocks.

Total panic - until I found this blog and your post.

I happened to have some Shout gel in the cupboard. I rubbed a bit in and then just rinsed it using a white cloth and hot hot water, and the marks are gone. Phew. Now I know that I can get the whole quilt clean, even if I have to do it line by line. I am *so* grateful that you posted, as this is a gift that I am making, and now it isn't ruined.


Poor packaging.
by: Margaret Challice

I purchased a Chaco Pen (Natural Chalk) from the Malvern show which when demonstrated seemed to be the answer to the most problematic stage of my quilting. I checked on the packaging for instructions and there was no indication of how the pen should be used or how to remove the unwanted lines.

I did try erasing the lines on a spare piece of the same material but I can still see the them.

I have got to the stage of quilting a football pitch for my grandson. I marked one small line ready for quilting with the pen. To my horror 2 days later the marks are still there.

I am very disappointed because there are no contact details of the manufacturer on the packaging only an item no. LS-200. I will try the erasing methods you have suggested and hopefully one will work.

Trial and error
by: Anonymous

I'm stuck on Pilot Frixion pen. I'd like to find a sticky sheet of paper that doesn't leave much sticky residue as that would make removal easy.

From the Editor: I'm assuming this is to stabilize the fabric when you draw the design on...

Have you tried freezer paper? You need to iron it on to make it stick, but it's easy to pull away and leaves no residue. A single sheet can be used many times. You can get it at the grocery store or sometimes the corner drugstore.


Try Shout prewash spray
by: Anonymous

I experienced pink chalk lines using a Chaco marker, that would not brush off an off-white fabric and thread even though I had no problem with it disappearing (sometimes too soon) from medium and dark fabrics and threads--I'm making 3 dozen quilted craft items for a charity, and used it to mark a few stitching lines on each item.

I turned to my prewash bottle of "Shout" spray and followed their directions: spray offending stain, rub stain (I used terry cloth) wait 1-5 minutes and wash in hottest water fabric will tolerate--hot water for the 100% cotton. I laundered in machine and dried on medium heat. Happy to say that 98% of the pink disappeared, and any remaining is hard to find unless you are looking for it.

I have used this marker many times before with no problem, but will be more careful in future.

by: Diane L.

My friend made a 108 x 108 quilt for a raffle. She asked if I would quilt the edge and finish binding as my part of the project. I used red chalk to mark my border and quilted it. When it came time to remove the chalk marks nothing seemed to work, and I mean nothing.

Not vinegar and water, not spray nine, not fabric eraser.....well last of all I tried a product called AWESOME. It's a yellow liquid and I purchased it at the Dollar store but I know you can get it elsewhere. I sprayed the first small section and used a tooth brush. It worked. So I then sprayed about a 10 inch section, sprayed it and began to brush, by the time I got half way about 5 inches the rest had disappeared.

From that point on I continued to spray using the brush on for gentle touch in places where threads needed a little help. 90 percent vanished on it's own within a minute or two of spraying.

Caution there is an odor and you will need to air dry or use your dryer on air to help dissolve but it does go away in time.

I can't say this will work all the time but I had much success.

Always try on your practice piece to be sure your project is not bleached out in any way.

From the Editor: I am SO glad that this worked out for you AND that you shared your experience with us. Thank you so much!

~ Julie Baird, Editor

blue chalk
by: zhala designs

I have been using this blue chalk for a while with no problem. Then my last two quilts have been stained. None of the suggestions work.

I have a feeling the chalk is adhering to the type of sizing the fabrics gave been coated in. I'm going to pre-wash my fabrics from now on and look for a better marking product.

chalk marks
by: Pattyhrn

I made a beautiful queen quilt for my daughter for her wedding. I finished it this weekend and washed it to remove the chalk marks.

Unfortunately I can't get the blue marks from the clover chalk marker to come out. I will try the white vinegar solution. I also read that a magic eraser might work, I'm assuming I should wet it and try rubbing it. I'm concerned because it looks like the chalk has discolored the thread....any more suggestions would be welcome.

I'll never use that blue clover marker again!

marking a quilt
by: Mary L.

My problem is chalk marks come out while I am hand quilting. I am looking for a marker for dark fabric that will stay on long enough for me to hand quilt. And will wash out. I have tried soap stone marker, don't actually mark, also white pencil doesn't mark well. Help! Help!

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