Punk Housewife Tip: The Writing on the Walls

My Little Angel just looooves to draw on the wall. Maybe it’s my ‘independent child-rearing’ philosophy (also known as leaving the kids unattended in the other room as much as I can get away with), but at our house it seems to be a simple if/then formula. If there is a crayon (pencil/marker/chalk) anywhere in the bottom 28 inches of our house, then he will find it. If he finds it, then he will use it to draw on the wall.

I have a friend who just rolls with the punches, and lets the house become one big chalkboard. She figures when the kids both top 5 they can paint over everything, and until then, why spend any time worrying or scrubbing? I applaud the surrender, and if we owned our home, I would seriously consider such a tactic. But we rent. That shit don’t float.

After some experimentation I discovered the magic mark-removal method. It’s simple, nothing new or exciting here, but I was excited, and that’s what counts.

  1. Spray marks liberally with pure vinegar
  2. Pour a teaspoon of baking soda onto a wrung out rag
  3. Scrub that SOB till it’s white again

I tried just vinegar, and just baking soda. Neither worked. Gotta mix ’em baby. Maybe it’s the science project foaming action, maybe it’s the grit of the baking soda reaching down into the textured surface of the paint. Whatever it is, it works. It can take some hard scrubbing though, especially pencil marks.

Make sure to add more baking soda as necessary, you want to be able to see a thin sheen of it on the wall. And yes, you do have to follow this treatment with a clean wet rag to wipe all the soda off.

for scale, this is about 18 inches across. and no our walls are not gray, they're white. lighting is everything, so they say.
it takes a good little pile of baking soda, enough to get the grit factor going
this is an uneventful photo, right? unless you want to get your entire security deposit back, then suddenly it becomes very attractive

8 thoughts on “Punk Housewife Tip: The Writing on the Walls

  1. Have you had the opportunity to try this on crayon on wood? I’ve got a lovely green scribble mural on my bathroom door, bonus artwork that came with the house, and I just haven’t been arsed to bother with it yet. But if this works, I’ll be very pleased.

  2. Fab information I have been glaring at the pencil stripes on our wall where Frank tried to draw a ruler and then measure his height. I’m doing this tomorrow.

  3. I find a nice soft eraser (that you would use for pencil on paper) also works very well for removing pencil from painted walls. Also (dare I share this one) Huggies baby wipes also work like magic in removing pen from fabric – this finding did convince me to stop using them on my daughter’s bottom but I keep them around for stain removal!

  4. baking soda and white vinegar are my newest and bestest friends :) i’ve made up a squirty bottle of the stuff and i’ve found it works on just about everything all over the house. i tend to squirt it on and then leave it to do its work for a few minutes and then wipe/scrub. i can totally empathise with the excitement, my kids thought i was crazy getting so excited about the combination of these two simple ingredients :)

  5. Oh man, I hate scrubbing walls…so generally I just don’t do it. But my husband and I just moved out of our apartment this summer and so to get our deposit back I started scrubbing. I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for a bit now, so I have washing soda on hand at all times…so there I was facing down the walls that badly needed washing after five years of not doing it and I saw the box. I figured what the hell – couldn’t hurt – it does have ‘washing’ in it’s name after all….and guess what? GENIUS it worked like magic! Added a few shakes into a pail of warm water, grabbed a rag and started wiping. Everything came right off and with little to no elbow grease. It’ll be my go to from now on.

  6. Ever thought about just covering the bottom few feet of your wall in paper? You can buy a big roll of brown paper from the hardware store for next to nothing, and when it’s destroyed it’s recyclable! (Like your blog by the way, just found it and I’m going through old posts!)

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