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Just Ask Deb…Too Blue!

July 7th, 2007

Dear Deb,
What do you suggest – we marked a quilt with the blue water erasable pens – two Fine Point Mark B-Gone Pens. Now some of the marking comes off very easily but some is very difficult. It seems that one pen was different somehow. Hope someone has a suggestion as we do not want to scrub too hard and damage the material.

Too Blue

Dear Too Blue,
Is it possible that you heat set your work by accident? If you did, your markings are now permanent, unfortunately. But, assuming you did not heat set your markings here is what I suggest:

1). Wash the top in clear warm water. It is likely this will remove the blue residue. Fill up your washing machine with tepid (room temperature) or cold water, toss the quilt in, leave the lid up (so it won’t agitate), and let the quilt soak for several hours. Go see a movie. Drain the water and, if you need to wash the quilt, re-fill the washer with clean water and a mild soap. Swish the water if you must, but don’t agitate. That’s too rough a treatment for a hand-made quilt.
2). Be very careful with the detergent you use when you wash a quilt that has been marked with these pens. The pens are wonderful but if you are not careful you will end up with brown marks where the blue ones used to be. The laundry detergent has sodium carbonate in it, that is the ‘fixer’ for the color in the dye. This sodium carbonate, otherwise known as soda ash, can be found in its purest form in Arm & Hammer or any other detergent with whiteners and brighteners. Mountain Mist Ensure (not the vitamin supplement) or Orvis (you don’t need to buy a horse to go along with it) are nice choices.
3). In the future, be sure and keep a spritz bottle of plain water beside your workspace and dampen your project right away so you don’t take the chance of pressing it prematurely! Another good idea is to keep a small bowl of water nearby and use a small, soft watercolor brush to go over the lines as you finish wit them
4). Also, be sure and check the back of the block to be sure the ink has not migrated with the water and shows up on the back!

Scrubbing hard will most likely not impact how much of this ink will come out. Hopefully, a gentle wash in the machine will solve your problems!

Till we meet again, may your days be pieceful!

**Do you have a question about quilting? If you do, there are other quilters who have the same question! Simply email it to and she will answer it for you!


  1. Martha Pitts 's creative mind says

    Thanks so much. This was incredibly helpful. I found a paintbrush and used water to paint the blue out. Thanks so much.

    September 23rd, 2010 | #

  2. Niki 's creative mind says

    Good deal, Martha! Thanks so much for the feedback!! Happy quilting~

    September 24th, 2010 | #

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