Of course, being a bit of a scatter-brain, I tend to forget where I hid the markers. Because I have to hide them, they absolutely cannot be in sight. Or she will find them.
I was thrilled when I started spotting washable dry-erase products at my local discount store. And even more thrilled when EXPO gave me the opportunity to host a washable dry-erase party last year. Earlier this week I discovered that Crayola has developed their own washable dry-erase markers (they already had washable dry-erase crayons) and decided it was time for a SHOW-Down to find the best washables!
On the left is a 6-pack of assorted Crayola Washable Dry Erase Markers. From the top right are 2 Crayola Washable Dry-Erase crayons (all I was able to round up in the house ;0), 2 regular Expo Dry-Erase chisel tip markers, and a 6-pack of assorted fine tip EXPO Washable Dry-Erase markers (you can get these in chisel tip, too).
I will be comparing the washable markers and crayons to each other and to the regular non-washable variety.
I tested them for:
- color and vibrancy
- writing ease
- wipe-ability and ghosting
- and, naturally, wash-ability
Now, this is a detailed comparison, if you want to cut to the chase, scroll down and read my overall recommendations.
Color and Vibrancy
There’s little point in writing with a marker that you can’t see, so I compared the color selection and how vibrant those colors are (especially compared to regular dry-erase markers).
On the left are the available Crayola Washable Dry-Erase colors (they are basic): Green, blue, yellow, orange, red, and black. Crayola’s Washable Crayons also come in basic colors.
On the right are the available EXPO Washable Dry-Erase colors. None of these are basic, they are all fluorescent: green, blue, yellow, orange, pink, and purple. The non-standard colors makes it a little difficult to pit them color to color, but this gives you an idea.
Now, let’s compare these guys to a regular dry-erase marker.
First orange, because it was one of the colors available in all of them. I guess the crayon is actually a bit yellowish orange.
It’s hard to tell with the orange. I think you can see more with the black, but, unfortunately, EXPO doesn’t do black in the washable, so I used purple, the darkest choice.
Notice that the regular dry-erase is very vibrant, the others are more faded looking. The washables are not as vibrant as regular dry-erase markers.
There was a little bit of fading with the EXPO washables, but the fading for the Crayola Washable dry-erase markers was quite noticeable, especially yellow. The second line was written only a couple of minutes after the first.
If you look closely, you’ll also notice a little bleeding on the surface, the edge of the line is fuzzy. The EXPO markers did not do that.
There was no fading or bleeding with the Crayola Washable dry-erase crayons.
The numbers correspond from top to bottom.
(3)The regular EXPO chisel tip markers write quite smoothly with no skipping, and they are nice for a narrow or wide line.
(2)The Expo Washable dry-erase fine tips cannot make a broad stroke (but you can get the fat chisel tips). You can feel friction on the board when you write with these. They wrote fine right out of the package, but after only writing a few words, all of the colors were starting to skip some.
(1)The Crayola Washable Dry-Erase markers write incredibly smoothly, with no detectable friction. The point is very fine. You can get a broad line on the side of the point, but you can’t really write that way. I felt that the tip might actually be too fine for a board that will be viewed across a room, but it should be fine for a personal board or a wipe-off sheet.
(4)The Crayola Washable Dry-Erase crayons write much like crayons, with a slightly greasier texture. They can be sharpened for a finer tip. They do rub off easily onto your hands, so I do not recommend peeling the paper off except to sharpen them (good thing they are washable ;0). If you have a kid who doesn’t like dirty hands---don’t get these. They are messy.
These are the Crayola markers, you’ll especially notice the bleeding I mentioned before. But they do write consistently.
These are the Expo Washables. Notice the skipping in the lines.
Wipe-ability and Ghosting
Both the Crayola and the EXPO Washable Dry-Erase markers wipe off incredibly well, as did the regular EXPO. Keep in mind this was a new board, a more worn board may have less stellar results. The Crayola’s Dry-Erase crayons, on the other hand, really need a wet cloth.
I saw no ghosting. A wet paper towel removed even the smeary dry-erase crayon.
To those of us with kiddos who are sensitive to odors or turn hyperactive when inhaling the wrong thing, this one is important. And, I admit, highly subjective. Surprisingly, there was a big difference in this category
EXPO regular (Low Odor!) Dry-Erase just about knocked me out. Wow!
Expo Washable Dry-Erase markers also had a strong odor, but not quite as bad.
Crayola Washable Dry-Erase markers had no noticeable odor. None. Really. I’m not saying they are odor-free, but they are close.
Crayola Washable Dry-Erase crayons smell like crayons.
So, How Washable Are They?
First, I did the skin test. Because 1 thing I really hate about regular “washable” markers is that they really do not wash off of skin (but I’m so thankful they wash off of clothes).
Left to right: Crayola Washable Dry-Erase marker (blue), Crayola Washable Dry-Erase marker (black), EXPO Washable Dry-Erase marker (blue), Crayola Washable Dry-Erase crayon (black), EXPO Washable Dry-Erase marker (purple). Notice I did more than one color, because just because one color washes off doesn’t mean they all do (ok, I wasn’t willing to totally tattoo myself with all the colors ;0).
You can see a brownish ghost from the Crayola black marker. The others washed off completely.
Next was the WALL test.
I decided to test all the colors for this one. This is a plain white painted, dry-wall wall.
First, the Crayola Washable Dry-Erase markers (please pardon my lighting, our power went out that day):
Completely disappeared with a few wet paper towel swipes. I’m impressed.
Now, EXPO’s Washable Dry-Erase markers:
With a wet paper towel:
Ok, at least the blue and green disappeared.
With a baking soda and water paste gently rubbed over it:
Oh, EXPO, I am not happy with you!
Here’s a close up (it’s actually more noticeable in person with good lighting).
Let us hope one of the Magic Erasers will do the trick. Do you see what I go through for y’all?
Ok, last is the Crayola Washable Dry-Erase crayons. I did not have high hopes for these. They have a greasy texture and I was just sure they would not wash off easily.
Sometimes surprises are a good thing! It did take a little more effort than for the markers, but the crayons came off completely.
Last test: Fabric!
Because, you can repaint a wall, you can’t repaint your child’s Easter dress. I was willing to sacrifice a perfectly good cloth napkin for y’all. You know I love you now.
You’ll notice that I goofed and wrote the a name with the wrong brand of marker. Oops! So I could easily tell them apart, I wrote each letter of the brand name in a different color of that brand’s marker (or crayon). this napkin is a cotton/rayon blend (I think, I’m going by feel since there’s no label ;0).
Here’s the back, you can see there was some bleed through:
I washed this in cold with my normal wash. Now, to be fair, Crayola says on their package to wash it in hot (I don’t wash anything in hot, it would shrink all our cotton clothes).
EXPO does not put washing instructions on their package. They want you to visit their website for that. Really?
So I did what any normal person would do, I just washed it the way I would normally wash my clothes, cold water with a free and clear detergent. You’re dying to see this, aren’t ya. Don’t tell me I’ve never done anything for you.
This is hard to photograph, so let me give you some close-ups.
Skip the EXPO Washable Dry-Erase. I give them a thumbs down for writing ease, color, odor, and wash-ability. They are acceptable if you only use the blue or green (which washed out beautifully), but they do skip and I have a feeling no one will be able to read them across the room after a few uses.
Skip the Crayola Washable Dry-Erase crayons. They do write well and wash well off of skin and painted walls. They are low odor. But they are messy. They rub off on hands and smear when you try to wipe them off your whiteboard. They also break easily, more easily than regular crayons.
Try the Crayola Washable Dry-Erase markers. The colors are not as vibrant as regular dry-erase markers and the fine tip does bother me a bit (I like bolder lines when I’m writing on a board), but they should work well for closer applications. I’d love it if they’d do a chisel-tip. They have no noticeable odor and they’re completely washable (even when you ignore the manufacturer’s instructions). They do bleed a little, giving a fuzzy edge to your writing, but I can hand these to my 3-year-old with complete confidence and that’s saying a lot. Just beware of the black if your child is a tattoo-artist (see the skin wash test above).
Look for Crayola and EXPO Washable Dry-Erase products at local discount stores in the school or office supply section.
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Disclosure: I did originally receive the washable EXPO products and board from EXPO to host a Washable EXPO party last year. All other products were purchased by me. This review was unsolicited and uncompensated.