How to Get Rid of Graphite and Pencil Lead Stains

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Stain Removal

To remove graphite and pencil lead stains, follow these steps.
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Pencils are useful because they allow you to make changes to what you’ve written. However, the marks they leave on surfaces other than paper can be problematic. Use these tips to erase graphite and pencil lead stains.

The first step in removing graphite and pencil lead stains is to identify the stained material. Below are some of the most common types of materials that can become graphite-stained, with guidelines on how to remove graphite and pencil lead stains from each:

  • Non-washable fabrics such as Acetate, Burlap, Carpet (synthetic or wool), Rayon, Silk, Triacetate or Wool
  • Washable fabrics such as Acrylic Fabric, Cotton, Linen, Modacrylic, Nylon, Olefin, Polyester or Spandex
  • Hard surfaces such as Acrylic Plastic, Aluminum, Asphalt, Bamboo, Cane, Ceramic Glass/Tile, Cork, Ivory, Linoleum, Marble, Paint (gloss), Plexiglas, Polyurethane, Porcelain Dishes, Porcelain Fixtures, Stainless Steel, Vinyl Clothing, Vinyl Tile or Vinyl Wallcovering
  • Stone surfaces such as Bluestone, Brick, Concrete, Flagstone, Granite, Limestone, Slate or Terrazzo
  • Grout
  • Leather or suede
  • Paint (flat) or wallpaper
  • Silver
  • Wood

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Non-washable Fibers

To remove graphite and pencil lead stains from Acetate, Burlap, Fiberglass, Rayon, Rope, Silk, Triacetate, or Wool, follow these steps:

  • Use a soft eraser to remove the excess stain, being careful not to distort the fabric.
  • Spray on a dry-cleaning solvent and apply a dry spotter.
  • Rub in the dry spotter with an absorbent pad moistened with dry spotter.
  • Cover the stain with a pad, also dampened with dry spotter, and let stand for 30 minutes.
  • Spray again with the dry-cleaning solvent and allow to dry. If any stain remains, sponge the area with water and apply a wet spotter plus a few drops of ammonia (do not use ammonia on silk and wool).
  • Tamp (the method of bringing a brush down with light strokes on stained durable fabrics and materials) or scrape (the method of using a dull tool to gently lift off excess solid or caked-on stains) the area to loosen the stain.
  • Flush (the method of applying stain remover to loosen staining material and residue from stain removers) with water and repeat if necessary.
  • Allow the fabric to air dry.

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Washable Fabrics

To remove graphite and pencil stains from Acrylic Fabric, Cotton, Linen, Modacrylic, Nylon, Olefin, Polyester or Spandex, follow these steps:

  • Use a soft eraser to remove any excess stain.
  • Rub a little liquid detergent into the stain and add a few drops of ammonia.
  • Gently tamp, then flush with water to remove all traces of ammonia.
  • Launder as soon as possible.

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Hard Surfaces

To remove graphite and pencil lead from Acrylic Plastic, Aluminum, Asphalt, Bamboo, Cane, Ceramic Glass/Tile, Cork, Ivory, Linoleum, Marble, Paint (gloss), Plexiglas, Polyurethane, Porcelain Dishes, Porcelain Fixtures, Stainless Steel, Vinyl Clothing, Vinyl Tile, Vinyl Wallcovering, follow these steps:

  • Remove any excess marks with a soft eraser.
  • Wipe the surface with a cloth or sponge dipped in warm sudsy water.
  • Rinse well with water and wipe dry.

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Removing Graphite and Pencil Lead Stains from Various Surfaces

If you need to remove graphite or pencil lead stains from stone surfaces such as Bluestone, Brick, Concrete, Flagstone, Granite, Limestone, Slate, or Terrazzo, follow these steps:

  • Make a solution of washing soda and water and wash the stain with it.
  • Scrub the stain with a cloth or soft-bristled brush.
  • Rinse the surface thoroughly with clear water and let it dry.

To remove graphite or pencil lead stains from grout, use these steps:

  • Wipe the surface with a cloth dipped in warm sudsy water.
  • If the stain persists, gently scrub the spot with a wet toothbrush dipped in baking soda or powdered cleanser.
  • Rinse the surface well and wipe it dry with a soft cloth.

If you need to remove graphite or pencil lead stains from leather or suede, follow these steps:

  • Create a solution of mild soap in lukewarm water and create a great volume of suds.
  • Apply only the foam with a sponge and wipe it with a clean dry cloth.
  • For leather, use Tannery Vintage Leather Cleaner & Conditioner or Fiebing’s Saddle Soap after cleaning with foam.

If you want to remove graphite or pencil lead stains from paint or wallpaper, use these steps:

  • Remove as many marks as possible using a suede stone or a soft eraser.
  • Wipe the surface with a clean cloth dampened with clear water and overlapping strokes.
  • Gently pat dry with another soft cloth.

For silver, follow these steps:

  • Wash it as soon as possible in hot sudsy water.
  • Rinse it in hot water and dry it immediately with a soft cloth to prevent tarnish.

To remove graphite or pencil lead stains from wood, use these steps:

  • Use a soft eraser to remove any excess marks.
  • Create a solution of dishwashing detergent in hot water and swish to make a great volume of suds. Dip a cloth in only the foam and apply it to the stain.
  • Rinse the surface with a clean cloth dampened with clear water.
  • Polish or wax the surface as soon as possible.

Originally Published: Mar 27, 2006

Frequently Asked Questions about Removing Pencil Marks

What is the best way to remove pencil marks?

The most convenient method to remove pencil marks from surfaces is to use a pencil eraser. You can also try using all-purpose cleaner or baby wipes. Depending on the surface, you may use a liquid detergent to remove pencil marks as well.

How can you get rid of pencil marks from plywood?

Regardless of how thick the plywood is, you can eliminate the stains by dabbing a soft cloth or cotton in denatured alcohol and wiping it off. The alcohol works by evaporating the graphite, thus removing the pencil marks.

Can a Magic Eraser remove pencil marks from a wall?

A Magic Eraser is an effective tool to eliminate pencil marks not only from walls, but also from other surfaces where it might be challenging to remove them with a regular eraser.

Can pencil marks be washed away?

Removing pencil marks from surfaces is easier because pencil marks are made of lead and graphite and do not involve ink.

What can you do if you don’t have an eraser to remove pencil marks?

If you don’t have an eraser with you, you can use rubber bands to remove pencil marks. However, not all rubber bands function the same way, so you need to choose the appropriate ones.

FAQ

1. What is the best way to remove graphite stains from clothing?

If you have a graphite stain on your clothing, the best way to remove it is to use an eraser or a piece of tape to lift the stain off. If the stain is still visible, apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto the stain and then wash the clothing as usual.

2. Can pencil lead stains be removed from walls?

Yes, pencil lead stains can be removed from walls. First, try using an eraser to remove the stain. If the stain is still visible, dip a cloth in a mixture of warm water and dish soap and gently scrub the stain. Rinse the area with clean water and dry with a clean cloth.

3. How do you remove pencil lead stains from carpet?

To remove pencil lead stains from carpet, first vacuum up any loose debris. Then, mix a solution of warm water and dish soap and apply it to the stain. Use a clean cloth to gently scrub the stain until it lifts. Rinse the area with clean water and blot dry with a clean cloth.

4. Can pencil lead stains be removed from wood?

Yes, pencil lead stains can be removed from wood. First, try using an eraser to lift the stain off. If the stain is still visible, use a mixture of warm water and dish soap to gently scrub the stain. Rinse the area with clean water and dry with a clean cloth.

5. Will bleach remove graphite stains?

No, bleach is not recommended for removing graphite stains. It can cause the stain to spread and may damage the fabric. Stick to using an eraser or rubbing alcohol to remove graphite stains.

6. How do you remove pencil lead stains from skin?

To remove pencil lead stains from skin, wash the affected area with soap and warm water. If the stain is still visible, try using rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover on a cotton ball and gently rub the stain until it lifts.

7. Can pencil lead stains be removed from leather?

Yes, pencil lead stains can be removed from leather. First, try using an eraser to lift the stain off. If the stain is still visible, mix a solution of warm water and mild soap and apply it to the stain. Use a clean cloth to gently scrub the stain until it lifts. Rinse the area with clean water and dry with a clean cloth.

8. How do you remove pencil lead stains from paper?

To remove pencil lead stains from paper, use an eraser to lift off as much of the stain as possible. Then, use a cotton ball or cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol to gently scrub the stain until it lifts. Be careful not to scrub too hard and damage the paper.

9. Can pencil lead stains be removed from plastic?

Yes, pencil lead stains can be removed from plastic. First, use an eraser to lift off as much of the stain as possible. Then, mix a solution of warm water and dish soap and apply it to the stain. Use a clean cloth to gently scrub the stain until it lifts. Rinse the area with clean water and dry with a clean cloth.

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