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How to Get Pencils Out of Fabric Without Washing?

how to get pencils out of fabric without washing

Did you just accidentally get pencil marks on your favorite white jacket? If you take it to the cleaners and have them take care of the stain for you, expect to pay quite a hefty amount. However, what if you can do the stain removal yourself using the tools and materials you already have? Of course, you will be interested in DIY stain removal.

There is a bit of a catch, though, the methods on how to get pencil out of fabric without washing will not provide you with consistent results, so your results may vary. However, if the pencil stains are not that serious, you can save a lot of money if you do DIY.

Step-by-Step Guide

Keep in mind that the following methods may have varied degrees of success. You might remove the pencil stain entirely or the methods might still leave traces of the stain on the fabric.

Method 1: Using an Eraser

using an eraser

What to prepare:

  • A soft, kneadable artist’s eraser – This is the ideal choice because not only will regular rubber erasers smudge the graphite deeper into the fabric but they may also damage the fabric. A kneadable eraser picks up the graphite, but without scrubbing the cloth surface.

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Lay down the fabric on a flat surface

Place the stained fabric on a table or any other flat and solid surface. You need to hold the fabric flat on the surface to erase the stain effectively.

Step 2 – Rub the stain gently using the eraser

Grab your kneadable eraser and start pressing it into the graphite stain. The eraser will pick up a considerable amount of the graphite stuck on the surface of the fabric. Hold the fabric securely on the surface and then gently rub the stain using the kneadable eraser. This will pick up the remaining graphite in the fabric.

Knead the eraser after a while. This will make the eraser pick up more of the graphite and clean the surface effectively.

Method 2: Using Nail Polish Remover

using nail polish remover


Before you use this method, you should test it out on a hidden part of the fabric, this is just in case the acetone in the nail polish remover would cause any discoloration.

What to prepare:

  • Nail polish remover or just plain acetone diluted in equal amounts of water
  • Cotton swabs

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Lay the fabric on a flat surface

Place the stained fabric on a table or any other flat, solid surface. It is better if you can do this somewhere there is a lot of light. If possible, place a lamp next to the stained fabric so you can check later if there is any stain residue left.

Step 2 – Prepare the stain remover

If you will be using nail polish remover, you can use it straight out of the bottle. However, if you will be using acetone, you should dilute it with equal parts water; straight acetone might be a bit too strong and might discolor the fabric.

Step 3 – Apply the stain remover on the stained area

Before you start tackling the stained area, you should first try using the nail polish remover on a hidden part of the fabric. This is in case the acetone causes the fabric to fade or discolor.

Once you have determined that the fabric will not be discolored, you can proceed to apply the nail polish remover on the stain. Dip the cotton swab into the nail polish remover and gently dab it on the stained area.

Use small, circular motions to gradually remove the graphite. Do not put too much pressure on the cotton swab. Place just enough weight to erase the pencil.

Step 4 – Repeat as needed

Depending on the severity of the pencil marks, you may need to apply the nail polish remover several times. When the cotton swab gets a bit too dirty, throw it away and use a new one.

If you keep using the dirty cotton swab instead of cleaning the pencil marks, you will be smudging it deeper into the fibers. Check the stain under the light to figure out if you have successfully removed all traces of the graphite stain.

Method 3: Using Vinegar

using vinegar

If you do not have any of the materials mentioned above at hand, then you probably at least have some vinegar in your kitchen cupboard. The nice thing is that vinegar can actually work quite well.

What to prepare:

  • White vinegar and the same amount of water to dilute it
  • Cotton swabs

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Dilute the vinegar in water

Depending on the size of the pencil stain, you should prepare around a quarter cup of white vinegar and an equal amount of water. You might not want to use white vinegar straight as it might be too strong and might discolor the fabric.

Step 2 – Test the vinegar solution in a hidden spot

You should test the vinegar solution in a hidden part of your clothes just to check if it will cause any discoloration or fade the fabric. Dab a bit of the vinegar solution on a hidden part of the fabric and then allow it to sit for a couple of minutes. If there are no discernable effects on the fabric, continue the application of vinegar on the stain.

Step 3 – Apply the vinegar solution

Place the stained clothing on a flat surface and train a light on the stain to check if you have done it properly. Dip the cotton swab into the prepared vinegar solution, and then rub it into the graphite stain.

When the cotton swab is getting a bit too dirty, dispose of the old cotton swab and get a new one. Continue swabbing the stain until it is removed completely.

Step 4 – Wipe away the excess vinegar

Grab another clean piece of fabric and wet it with a bit of water. After you have removed the stain, dip a couple more cotton swabs in some water and remove as much of the vinegar left in the fabric. This will not only keep the fabric from smelling like vinegar but it will also stop the acid in the vinegar from making any discoloration.


Getting graphite stains on an otherwise pristine piece of clothing can be quite annoying but now that you know how to get pencil out of fabric without washing, you do not have to worry about it ever again.

The methods above are quite easy to do and require very simple tools and materials. Before you pay your dry cleaner extra for stain removal, you should try the methods mentioned in this article first.

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