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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Removing lead pencil marks

Pencil marks may be easy to erase on paper but it’s a different thing on fabrics.
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - March 22, 2010
By: Adele Ong
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Removing lead pencil marks

Pencil marks on walls and other hard furnishings are normally simple enough to erase, unless so much pressure was applied that there is now an indentation. There is nothing you can do about an indentation except to paint or varnish over it to make it less noticeable, but at least erasing the lead marks themselves should improve the appearance of things.

Lead pencil marks may also end up on fabrics, for all sorts of reasons. If you’re a quilter or embroiderer, you may have outlined designs on your cloth using a lead pencil (which usually shows up more clearly and precisely than a carbon tracing). Marks can also get onto clothes purely by accident, or your child could have tried drawing on them.

Depending on the fabric texture, strength and elasticity, you may or may not be able to grab just any soft pencil eraser around the house to get rid of the marks. Taking this course is a definite no-no on very stretchable, delicate or expensive fabrics. The act of rubbing an eraser over them could cause tearing, piling, stretching, discolouration and other permanent damage.

If you judge by the appearance of the marks and the hardiness of the fabric that rubbing them off is still the best way to go, try getting hold of one of those very soft gum erasers sold in specialist art shops instead, and use it to rub very gently at the marks, a millimetre at a time.

Non-washable fabrics that won’t stand rubbing should be dry-cleaned. Dry-cleaning should be able to remove most pencil marks.

Otherwise, try applying a commercial stain remover or pre-wash treatment to the marks, and launder in warm water. Some quilters suggest adding a bit of rubbing alcohol and dishwashing detergent to a cup of water and applying the solution to the stains, then rinsing and laundering as usual. If you’re not sure if this will damage the item, try it on an inconspicuous corner first.


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