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White marking pencil is hard to remove

by Cari

Cari asks...

I have marked a quilt top with a white pencil and can't seem to get it off with a spray bottle of water and wash cloth.

Any suggestions?

Julie replies...

If you've used a white chalk pencil, then I really do think that the markings will eventually wear off. Or you could use a white soft cloth, slightly damp to wipe away the chalk marks.

If you've used Miracle Chalk with a Pounce Pad, those marks are removed with a hot iron. I have noticed that on some fabrics there is a bit of a 'residue'...that's not the best word for it and I couldn't get a photo to accurately show what I'm talking's like there's a mark there...but there's no color left behind. It doesn't do it on all fabrics, so testing can prevent the problem. I probably notice it because I've worked so closely with the quilt.

If you've used Clover's White Marker, those marks are also 'disappeared' with a hot iron. I haven't noticed any 'ghost' marks left behind with this one.

Click here to find more information on removing resistant chalk markings.

A final word of caution...

Two kinds of markings above are ironed to remove them. However, some chalks have wax in them and those you DO NOT want to iron. The heat will most likely set those marks.

It is imperative that you know what kind of pencil you used. If you have the directions handy...check specifically if they recommend using heat. If they do not mention heat at all, then I would stay away from it and test the remedies supplied in the link above.

Good luck to you!

Readers, we are always on the lookout for tips on removing errant markings from our quilts. Please share your go-to remedy in the 'Comments' section below.

Thank you!


Julie Baird

Comments for White marking pencil is hard to remove

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blue dots used for quilting guide
by: Anonymous

i have an old quilt {38 yrs} and soaked it over night in oxy but the blue dots that you use as quilting guide didn't come out any ideas how to remove them. these are embroidered quilting squares thank you for any ideas

removing .arkings
by: Anonymous

To remove the blue quilting marker put the quilt top in a washer of cold water with ONLY baking soda added to it. It will remove the marker and prevent it from reappearing.

pencil marks
by: Jeanne

The liquid kind of hairspray will remove pencil marks as long as they are not heavy.

On Bule washable marking pens
by: Jeanne

Never wash you quilt with soap until all of the blue pen marks are removed from your fabric( Mark B gone) a friend First time quilter thought she would wash and remover her quilt marks all at one time. She used a mark B Gone blue pen and it set her mark permanent leaving a old yellowish look on her white whole cloth quilt. I hope this will save someone quilt.

From the Editor: Jeanne, you are absolutely RIGHT! Cool water only to remove the marks, no soap, no heat and washed not spritzed.

Thank you for sharing!

~ Julie

Always check any marking tool instructions before using
by: The Thread Lady

I too used to have problems removing markings I made with white pencils or other markers. My solution is to keep a file with the package the pen/pencil came in and make sure I know which pen/pencil goes with that package. I am very, very cautious about using any new marking pencil or pen. I never, ever use it on a piece of fabric that will go into one of my quilts until I have tested it on a scrap piece of the same fabric and then make sure it comes out of that test piece.

There are some products on the market that claim to remove all pencil markings, but I have never tried them. You might want to check one of those out and see if it will work.

Also, I often use a sliver of soap to mark my materials. Don't throw away that bar of soap you use to wash your hands when it becomes too thin to use---use it as a fabric marker instead. This is an old way of marking things I learned from my mother when she taught me to sew clothes. If you have ever used real tailors chalk (the kind that does not have wax it) you will know that it comes in either a square or circle of pure chalk that has edges that are thin and you use those edges to make your marks. That thin bar of soap works the same way and you know that soap will come out of cotton fabrics.

You should test any and all things you use to mark you fabrics on a test piece of your fabric. Most of us who have quilted for a while have learned that not all markings can be removed. I learned the hard way to be very, very careful about what I use to mark fabric when I used a "disappearing ink pen" to mark a quilt I was making. I found out that if you iron over that kind of pen it never, ever disappears!

So, my advice is to always know what any product (not just marking pens or pencils) you are using to make your quilts will do by testing it on a scrap piece of your fabric before you begin making your quilt. Good fabric is expensive and testing a new product on scrap fabric is essential. It takes some extra time to do this, but it will save you from the heartbreak of taking the time to make a beautiful quilt block only to find that it has to go into your re-cycle bin because it isn't possible to use in your quilt because you can't get the pencil or pen marks out!

White marking pencil marks
by: Anonymous

Can't help with how to remove the marks BUT one tip I can offer is to use a permanent marking pen to write on the pencil/pen itself, along the side, is how to remove marks. Like "X IRON", "IRON OK", "WATER", etc.

It sure helps.

I wish the manufacturers of these tools would put this info on their tools!

From the Editor: That is absolutely brilliant!

I keep a notebook with instructions slid into plastic sheet protectors...but this is so much handier!

Thank you for sharing!

~ Julie Baird

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