How To Get Oil Pastels Out Of Carpet (Step-by-Step Shade Guide)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

As someone who appreciates arts and has plenty of artist friends, I already know how bad art supplies can stain everything in sight. I mean, that’s what they are meant to do, right? Unfortunately, that’s only true when it’s on a canvas. When you have something like an oil pastel spill on your carpet, it’s normal to freak out. But, what on earth can you do with something this pigmented?

You can get oil pastels out of the carpet with undiluted dish soap or WD-40. Use carpet cleaner to remove oil pastels if your carpet is made out of synthetic fibers. It costs an average of $100 to have your carpet professionally cleaned if you have a pastel oil stain.

This is one of those spills that you just won’t be able to handle without knowing what to do. Thankfully, this guide will give you the scoop according to the official Crayola site, plus some additional information that you should consider using.

Do You Need Carpet Cleaning Services?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

How Bad Is An Oil Pastel Spill On Carpeting?

I’m not going to mince words. Oil pastels are bad. Like, really bad and also potentially permanently damaging for carpets. This is especially true when it comes to light-colored carpets as well as carpets that are made of sensitive materials like silk or wool. However, there’s a good chance that you might be able to get rid of the oil pastel on your own.

Should You Call Professional Cleaners To Get Rid Of Oil Pastel?

If you want to call professional cleaners, you would probably be right to do so. This is usually the best way to ensure that you get the best possible results with your carpet since different colors are often advised to have different treatments if you DIY it. If you have organic carpeting or have an extremely light-colored carpet, then you need a pro to do this.

How Much Will A Carpet Cleaning Session Cost For Oil Pastels?

Due to the nature of pastels and other art supplies, you might have a harder time finding a cleaning company that is willing to work with your carpet. A typical carpet cleaning visit will be between $50 to $150 per room, depending on the stain and the actual size of the damage.

Since this is considered to be a serious stain, you will also probably have a stain removal fee. A serious stain removal fee will reach between $40 to $300. Needless to say, most people are going to want to give the DIY approach a try before they try to get people to come over.

How Do You Get Rid Of Oil Pastels On Your Carpet?

This is a tough and complex question, honestly. According to Crayola’s Australian site, the best possible treatment will depend on the kind of colors that you have spilled on the carpet. Of course, one can probably use all these options with a reasonable degree of success, though you might be better off listening to their advice. Here’s the scoop on each major method.


WD-40 is advised for almost all “warm” shades like red, orange, and yellow. It also can be used for black, green-yellow, and sky blue with great success. Here’s how to do it:

  • Pick out as much of the pastels as you can. Use a tweezer or a butter knife to do so, working from the inside edge out.
  • Spray WD-40 on the affected area once you can no longer pull out pastels. Let it sit for five to 10 minutes, depending on the severity of the stain.
  • Grab some liquid dish soap and wash the area down. Use a wet rag and undiluted dish soap to blot away the stain. Don’t scrub as this will actually work the stain deeper in.
  • Once the majority of the stain is out, it’s okay to switch to more soapy water and a carpet cleaner. An extractor works best here, but any sort of wet vacuuming action will be great.
  • Blot dry with a clean white towel. 

Dish Soap

If you have a cooler shade like navy blue or turquoise, you should stick to dish soap methods. This method also is compatible with goldenrod, white, grey, and silver. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Pick out the pastels. Start off with a tweezing session, removing as much pastel paint as you can.
  • Place undiluted dish soap (like Dawn or Palmolive) on the stain. Blot at the stain until the pastel color has vanished. It will take a while, but it’ll be doable in most cases.
  • Rinse away the dish soap with water and a wet vacuum. This will help you get rid of any of the excess dye found in the dish soap that’s leftover.
  • Blot dry if necessary. Sometimes, you can even let it air dry.

Carpet Cleaning Solution

Generally speaking, carpet cleaner is best on synthetic fibers ONLY. This means that you should avoid using this method on organic carpets. If you spilled one of the coinciding colors on a cotton or wool carpet, just give it a dish soap treatment or call a professional cleaning crew to get it out.

This method is best for medium brown, white, moss, yellow-green, and slate gray exclusively. This method is fairly simple. After you’ve picked out as much of the pastel as possible, you should follow the instructions on the carpet cleaner.

What Should You Do If The Carpet Cleaning Methods Didn’t Work?

Though you might have given the cleaning steps a valiant attempt, we’re sorry to say that DIY carpet cleaning methods are not guaranteed to work with something like oil pastels. Each pastel company has its own formula, which means that what works for one may not work for the others.

Sadly, this is one of the most difficult stains to remove from a carpet—and truthfully, some carpets just won’t be able to survive a pastel spill. This is why it’s best to prevent pastel spills, rather than to just try to paint around in your home willy-nilly. Keeping pastels in your “she shed” or putting a plastic barrier can help.

Most prevention will curb your chances of having too much paint on your carpet. Obviously, this doesn’t always work, so if you find yourself in this position, consider replacing a portion of the carpet or calling the professionals.

Do You Need Carpet Cleaning Services?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Related Questions

How much does it cost to clean a set of stairs?

The price you should expect to pay for a clean set of stairs will all depend on how many stairs you have. Most places will charge between $2 to $3 per step, not including additional fees for stain removal. If you aren’t sure what to expect, count the number of stairs you have and multiply that by three to get a good ballpark estimate on the higher end of things.

Why do different oil pastel colors require different cleaning methods?

Technically, they don’t. If you want to try dish soap on a warm color, you can. However, it appears to be that the colors have individual ingredients that tend to work slightly better with one method over the other. For example, oil-heavy pastels that have a very greasy feel will probably do best with the WD-40 method, simply because WD-40 tends to work better with extremely oily substances.

Can you use Oxiclean to remove oil pastels from your carpet?

Believe it or not, Oxiclean can work some magic on your carpet. However, it’s not the most ideal choice simply because you would need to soak and then thoroughly wash your carpet using regular laundry detergent. This is why most sites will suggest Oxiclean as a great cleaner for your laundry, rather than your carpet.With that said, it is possible to get your carpet oil pastel-free with Oxiclean as long as you also dab at the stain using laundry detergent afterward. Though it’s not the method advised by the actual art supply manufacturers, many people have experienced varying levels of success. If you want to give it a try, it’s worth a shot.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

More by Ossiana Tepfenhart