Crayons will forever be an essential part of your home when you’re raising kids. I know because I’m always buying crayons for my teenager; she’s artistic and loves experimenting. However, finding the best crayons is challenging, especially when prioritizing washability. Yes! There’s a huge difference between regular and washable crayons, and we will explore the differences.
Washable crayons are in-demand and the priority for manufacturers, but that wasn’t always the case. Since 1903, when Edwin and Alice Binney developed the first batch of wax crayons, regular crayons have existed. However, in 1987, Crayola Crayons launched washable crayons, which changed the game for parents, kids, and artists.
Generally, regular crayons have the potential to stain surfaces, and washable crayons are easy to clean. However, just because a crayon is washable doesn’t mean it’s the best; the same applies to regular crayons. So, in this article, we will explore the significant differences between regular and washable crayons to ensure you pick the best one for your child.
Differences Between Washable and Regular Crayons
1. Crayon Composition
Regular and washable crayons are made with wax, binding agents, and pigments like ultramarine, Prussian blue, and manganese violet. However, manufacturers blend the wax in regular crayons, a mix of paraffin wax, to improve the texture. Most regular crayons are smooth, and the solid texture makes them durable and perfect for creating long-lasting, vibrant art pieces.
In addition, the pigment composition in regular crayons varies between synthetic and natural ingredients, depending on the manufacturers. In a nutshell, traditional crayon composition is designed to last longer. But to be safe, read our article on plastic crayons and kids’ safety so you know what to look out for when buying regular crayons.
On the other hand, washable crayons are designed to prevent mess and rub off surfaces quickly. Although these crayons include wax, binding agents, and an array of pigments, manufacturers add a water-soluble ingredient that makes them perfect for environments with kids. The wax in washable crayons is modified with additives, like emulsifiers, that make the final product dissolvable in water.
2. Ease of Cleaning
Regarding washability, regular crayons are more challenging to clean than washable crayons. A regular crayon will permanently mark your walls, chairs, or tables, and you’ll need specific cleaning agents to remove the marks.
Of course, you can use an all-purpose cleaner to remove these marks, but it’s not always guaranteed that your surface will return to its initial appearance. In fact, some parents are forced to replace the paint job or fabric because most regular crayons will leave permanent marks.
Washable crayons are designed to wash off easily, so washability isn’t a concern when you buy these crayons. The water-soluble wax and additives allow you to use water and mild soap when cleaning up after the little ones. Ease of cleaning is the primary reason washable crayons are popular in settings that encourage kids to draw.
3. Color Strength
Regular crayons may present poor washability, but they offer phenomenal color strength. Regular crayons contain highly-concentrated pigments that result in more vibrant colors. What’s more, these intense colors are long-lasting and will produce beautiful images on any surface.
Most washable crayons also produce vibrant colors but are less intense than regular ones. Unfortunately, the water-soluble additives in washable crayons reduce the color strength, which makes the crayons appear lighter on surfaces. In addition, washable crayon colors are not as long-lasting and will require extra preservation measures to stay in quality shape.
But remember, the color strength will differ from brand to brand. Depending on the manufacturer, some washable crayon colors may be more intense than regular crayons.
4. Ease of Application and Product Texture
The ease of application and texture generally depends on the intended use. Regular crayons have a firmer texture, which offers better control and precise coloring. In addition, the ease of application is better with regular crayons because these crayons are designed to provide even, firm, and vibrant color application.
Washable crayons have a smoother texture, making them child-friendly and easy to use. What’s more, the smooth texture simplifies the application and creates softer lines. However, due to the water-soluble ingredients, the crayons tend to feel smudgy and slightly stickier than regular crayons.
Although washable crayons offer a softer application, the smudginess will affect coloring and precise shading. Similarly, the sticky texture means the crayons are less-durable compared to regular crayons.
Which Is Better: Regular or Washable Crayons?
Both crayons are phenomenal, depending on the intended use. Regular crayons will offer intense colors and meticulous shading if you want to create long-lasting and colorful art. However, if you’re buying regular crayons for your kids, you must designate a specific play area because these crayons will leave stubborn stains that might not be erasable.
In addition, regular crayons have a slightly harder texture that will affect your kid’s coloring experience. We have a detailed article explaining why kids use big and softer crayons in school and how harder crayons influence their grip.
On the other hand, washable crayons are excellent because they’re easy to use, softer, and easy to clean. The crayons contain water-soluble materials that come off in seconds, meaning you won’t have to worry about your child drawing on the walls or staining fabrics. Moreover, the smooth texture is excellent for kids learning new grip techniques.
What to Consider When Buying Crayons for Kids
There are many regular and washable crayon options, so you must understand the fundamental considerations if you want good-quality products. Below is a list of essential factors to consider for kid-friendly crayons.
- The color variety
- Product quality and brand reputation
- Are the materials child-friendly?
- Consider the child’s age and grip type.
- What’s the intended use?
- Ease of cleaning
These are the primary considerations when you’re buying crayons for kids. For a detailed explanation, read our full-length article highlighting the type of crayon you should buy for your child and why.
Overall, washable and regular crayons have pros and cons, but they all contribute to your child’s creativity. We recommend purchasing washable crayons for your younger kids, but you can switch to regular crayons when they get older and understand how to maintain clean surfaces. In fact, this article will give you more ideas on what to buy if your child loves to color and draw.