Sunday, June 12, 2016

Removing Blue Water Soluble Marker

Well, this is a first for me. There's always a first, right?

Now I will admit I have a few faint blue marks where the water soluble blue marker didn't come out on the Breaking Up quilt. I didn't follow my standard protocol of marking, quilting, and spraying with water immediately. Instead, the marks were there for a couple hours. When I did spray, 95% of it came out. But here and there were faint blue lines.

So, the quilt went in the tub for an overnight soak. Since the quilt was wet, it was hard to tell if the marks had come out. After washing with a bit of detergent, and a few minutes in the dryer, the marks were still there. Though hard to see unless you're really looking at the quilting, I still wanted them out.

I've heard of products to remove washable blue line marks, one of which I happen to have. It's a Clover Eraser Pen, and unfortunately, did nothing. Maybe it would work better immediately after making the blue mark.

Then, some phone calls. My two local quilt shops carried nothing, nor were they helpful on removal suggestions. So much for product testing.

Next try was one of my favorite stain removers, Dawn dish washing liquid. It's my go-to stain fighter whenever tomato sauce, chocolate, mustard, or grease get on fabric. I heard quilters use it when fabric bleeds and nothing else will work. So hey, why not here?

Again, here's the picture with the faint blue lines, at the arrows.

Here's a picture of the same area after treatment with a 50% solution of Dawn and water.

Notice the lines are gone. For reference, the arrow in the picture points to a blue line that was NOT treated, so you can tell the difference. Amazing!

Being the somewhat lazy person that I am, I was not going to go over this quilt with a fine tooth brush to find every trace of blue line. They are very random, and hard to see. Remember, 95% came out.

Solution? Into the bathtub again for a soak in Dawn and water. Occasionally, I went in an massaged the quilt, leaving it in the bath for a couple hours. Then into the wash.

The result? Marks are gone! I'm impressed!
Again, the before:

and the after, with the blue line marked with a pin, so that I could find the same spot again.

Hooray! Here's another area that had noticeable blue lines, marked with a pin, though I didn't take a before picture.

Not a trace of blue! Sweet! Guess the secret is out - Dawn makes an awesome stain remover! So if you ever run across the blue line problem, give Dawn a try. It's worth a shot.

Happy Quilting!


  1. I have used the blue pen for years and never had a problem until the last project I made and had some blue lines stay in only on a certain color in the quilt - a red fabric. This has never happened to me before. I normally do not spritz out the lines as I go so sometimes they stay in for months but I always wash my quilts usually twice right after I get done with the binding. I assumed it was either something to do with the fabric or that they had changed the formula somewhat. Seeing your post makes me wonder if the formula was changed. I will have to really check over the current quilt on the frame after I wash it to see what happens.

  2. What a great tip you have shared, Susan, and many a headache you have spared! Normally, I don't keep Dawn in the house as it's hard on my hands while dishwashing, but now I'll have a small bottle around for those blue stains and anything else I can't get out with my regular solution! Dawn (and Susan) to the rescue!

  3. When you soaked the quilt in the bathtub, how much water and Dawn did you use?

    1. About 1/4 cup Dawn to 3-4 inches of water. Maybe a bit overkill!

  4. Thanks for sharing these tips! I use Crayola washable markers and they are really easy to get them off with just a cold water overnight soak, even after several weeks of staying on the fabric (I am lazy, I don't soak my projects right away ;) ). However some colors are worse than others: purple and yellow are the not coming off easily... everything else (black, brown, blue, green, orange) are really easy to remove. Oh the other good thing about those markers is that they are pretty cheap :)

  5. I love using those pens and knock on wood, I've not had a problem getting them out. I'm glad you were able to find a solution to getting them removed from your fabric. I will definitely be filing this information in my head.

  6. Susan, I've had and blogged about the same problem. Suddenly the blue markers were tough to get out, and I wondered if they'd changed the composition. ? Dawn is a powerhouse product, and I wash ALL my fabric for quilting in it before storing it. I also use it to scour fabrics before dyeing. About a teaspoon or two will do a whole washer so it takes very little. It has a chemical property similar to Synthrapol which is used to help dislodge loose dyes after dyeing, so it make sense that it worked here. You can also successfully use KISS OFF available on Amazon, in craft stores, etc. and comes in a stick form. It also removes almost every stain I've ever come across.

  7. I also had a recent experience with a blue water soluable pen that didn't come completely out. It was on my daughter's 4-H projects, and of course we were finishing it up the afternoon before the fashion Revue! I've used these pens for years with no problems! We ended up having some success with a cheaper dish soap, Sunlight, I think, but there was still a faint blue tinge to the fabric. I too, wondered it the formulation had changed. I'm going to stock up on Dawn, and hide it in the sewing room!!

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  10. Thank you so much! I just saved a toddler wool jacket that a dear friend made and hand embroidered on it. October 2022


Thank you so much for just made my day!