How to Remove Waxy Tailor's Chalk

by Michelle Powell-Smith ; Updated September 28, 2017

If your suit has been to the tailor, it may come home with unwanted marks.

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Tailor's chalk is used to mark garments before stitching, helping to correctly position hems, darts and other shaping in the garment. While most tailor's chalks are dry, clay-based products, some tailor's chalks include some amount of wax to create a stronger and more durable line on the fabric. This creates a stain similar to candle wax. Removing waxy tailor's chalk is more difficult than cleaning up chalk stains and somewhat more time consuming.

Set your iron to a low heat setting and allow it to warm.

Place the garment with the stain facing up on the ironing board. Place a clean white towel between layers of the garment, as in the case of a sleeve. Or put it under the garment to protect your ironing board from any waxy residue.

Lay a single layer of clean, unprinted brown paper over the waxy tailor's chalk stain. Press with the warm iron for several seconds, but do not rub or move the iron. Check the paper frequently to see if the waxy stain has lifted from the fabric. Reposition the iron if needed for a larger stain.

Brush the fabric well using a soft brush, particularly if it has a nap or surface texture.


  • Check your stain. Most tailor's chalk will remove with a simple brushing, without any heat to remove wax residue.

    If any color remains, laundering or dry cleaning should remove any final residue.


Photo Credits

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About the Author

With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.