How to Get Permanent Marker Out of Clothes (2023)

Occasionally, the couch, carpet or even a person's own skin has a run-in with a permanent marker. Fortunately, the situation is totally fixable with materials commonly found around most homes.

How to Get Permanent Marker off Skin

Once again, rubbing alcohol is an excellent stain-removal choice, especially if the affected "material," so to speak, is skin. A staple of bathrooms everywhere, rubbing alcohol can get your skin back to its normal tone quickly and easily with just a little elbow grease. To use rubbing alcohol to clean permanent marker off skin, follow these steps:


  • Pour some rubbing alcohol on a paper towel or washcloth.
  • Then, rub the affected area until the ink is gone.
(Video) How to remove permanent marker stains from clothes | Truly effective method

If that doesn't work, try using nail polish remover, which is great at removing inks that aren't water-soluble.

How to Get Permanent Marker out of Leather

No one wants a permanent marker to mar their leather couch. Such a stain is easily treatable using distilled white vinegar [source: Moore]. However, make sure to treat the area as soon as possible after the offense occurs for best results. To remove the stain:

  • Lightly dab or spray the stain with distilled white vinegar.
  • Gently blot in circular motions with a clean, damp cloth. Replace the cloth when it becomes dirty.
  • Repeat as needed until the stain is a thing of the past.

Another great substance for getting permanent marker out of leather is WD-40, a lubricant that most people use to stop squeaky door hinges and such [source: Groth]. To use:

  • Spray a little bit of WD-40 onto a clean paper towel or cloth. DO NOT spray it onto the leather directly, unless you want to totally overdo it.
  • Blot the stain in a circular motion. Change out the towel/cloth as needed to make sure it's clean.
  • Repeat as needed until the stain is fully removed.

How to Get Permanent Marker off Walls

Sometimes a wall just too greatly resembles an art easel, so parents wind up with a "masterpiece" on a surface where such artwork wasn't intended. If disaster so strikes, a little rubbing alcohol is usually all it takes to reverse the damage. Here's how to get things back to normal:

(Video) How To Remove Permanent Marker From Clothing

  • Pour some rubbing alcohol on a washcloth (test it on a part of the wall that isn't conspicuous first to make sure it doesn't further damage the paint).
  • Then, gently scrub the stain with the washcloth until it is mostly faded.
  • Once it's almost gone, dip the abrasive side of a sponge in water and continue scrubbing until all of the color is removed.

If you're out of rubbing alcohol, you could try hand sanitizer gel, nail polish remover or hairspray. Just use the product sparingly and try not to scrub too vehemently, or else you'll take some paint right off with the ink.

Another option: Use a dry erase marker to get rid of the stain! Triple-check that it's indeed a "dry erase" marker (the kind that teachers use on whiteboards) before proceeding, though. This works because dry erase markers actually contain stain-removing rubbing alcohol [source: Massimilian]. To use:

  • Draw on top of the permanent marker stain using the dry erase marker.
  • Wipe away with a clean paper towel or cloth.

That one almost seems too easy, right? Yet people swear by this odd cleaning technique.

Yet another option involves two popular home cleaning products — a window cleaner and one of those "magic eraser" sponges. Here's how to use these tools to get marker off painted walls:

(Video) How To Get Sharpie Out Of Clothes?

  • Liberally spray the affected area with the window cleaner.
  • Using the magic eraser, scrub the stain. Rotate and rinse the sponge as needed to make sure it's clean [source: Groth].
  • Repeat as needed until the stain is completely gone.

How to Remove Permanent Marker From Carpet

Most of us have carpet-specific cleaners lying around, but in a pinch, household items will do the trick nicely. This method involves hairspray (not oil-based) or rubbing alcohol [source: Molly Maid].

  • Apply either rubbing alcohol or the hairspray to the stained area.
  • Blot the stain using a clean cloth or towel. Repeat as needed.

Once the stain is all gone, use a towel dipped in clean water to get rid of any remaining stain-removing substances.

How to Remove Sharpie From Plastic

Many of the same cleaning tools are also helpful at removing Sharpie stains from plastic. This method involves a dry erase marker, hydrogen peroxide and some rubbing alcohol [source: Massimilian].

  • First, color over the permanent marker stain using the dry erase marker. Allow it to soak in for a couple of minutes.
  • Next, use a microfiber towel or other cloth to wipe the marker away.
  • Repeat as needed until all the Sharpie marker stains have been removed.
  • If any stubborn bits remain, soak a cotton ball or pad in some rubbing alcohol.
  • Rub the remaining stain until it's gone.
  • If even that didn't totally do the trick, apply some hydrogen peroxide to a clean cotton pad or cloth, then gently rub the area.
(Video) AMAZING!!! Remove ALL PAINT or Marker Ink From Carpet, Cloth & Upholstery!

Whichever method you choose to clean any of these permanent marker stains, remember to tackle it quickly, but carefully. You don't want to make the damage any worse than it is by applying the wrong type of cleaning method for the material.

Originally Published: Apr 8, 2011


What removes permanent marker from clothes? ›

Methylated spirits and rubbing alcohol (which can be found at your local DIY store or chemist) are often very useful, but if you'd rather use items you have lying around the house, alcohol-based hairsprays and alcohol-based antibacterial hand soaps (in liquid form) are also good choices.

How do you get Sharpie out of clothes without rubbing alcohol? ›

Allow the hairspray to soak in for about 3 to 5 minutes, then use a clean paper towel to dab away at the stain. Repeat this whole process as needed until the marker ink has lifted. Like rubbing alcohol, alcohol-based hairspray works to break down the chemicals in the permanent marker, making it easier to remove.

Will Sharpie come out of clothes? ›

Does Sharpie wash out of clothes? If you're looking to get permanent marker out of clothes, wash them as soon as possible. Try to blot up as much of the ink as you can while it's still wet, and then treat the area with a laundry stain remover before washing in cold water.

Will rubbing alcohol damage clothes? ›

Avoid cleaning certain surfaces. Rubbing alcohol can damage finished surfaces (ones which are lacquered, varnished or treated) as well as fabrics like acetate or rayon.

Does rubbing alcohol remove permanent marker? ›

Rubbing alcohol — Ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol (often called 'rubbing alcohol') is very effective at breaking down the chemicals in permanent inks. Always read the label before using and test on a small, inconspicuous area first. Apply the alcohol to a clean towel and wipe away at the stain until it disappears.

Does hydrogen peroxide get Sharpie out of clothes? ›

Dampen a clean cloth with the hydrogen peroxide and start to wipe or blot the stain. You can then leave the solution to sit for about 15 minutes. Repeat the process where necessary until you notice the stain losing its color, then rinse off with water.

Does Dawn soap remove Sharpie? ›

Distilled white vinegar, dish soap, and water are effective for removing permanent ink and many other stains from synthetic fabrics like those found in upholstery and carpets, too.

Does hand sanitizer get Sharpie out of clothes? ›

According to, a drop of hand sanitizer will remove marker stains from clothing. If you have permanent marker on your walls, wipe them off with rubbing alcohol.

Does hairspray remove ink from clothes? ›

Hairspray may be your go-to for style setting, but this sticky substance can also play an active role in removing ink stains from clothes. Before you bid goodbye to blots, first protect your work surface by covering it with a paper towel or two; these will absorb the ink as you treat.

How do you remove ink from clothes that have been dried? ›

Steps to remove ink stains from clothes
  1. Squirt alcohol-based hand sanitizer on the stain. Use enough to saturate the stain. ...
  2. Apply Liquid Clorox 2® for Colors to the stain. Use the cap to apply the Clorox 2® product directly to the stain and gently rub it in. ...
  3. Machine wash the clothing.


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