6 Simple Ways to Get Permanent Marker Out of Fabric?

People face permanent marker stain problem at least once in their life. And if it’s on your clothes, then you are gone! Though it’s not as easy to remove as dry erase markers, there are several methods to remove permanent marker stains successfully.

The good news is that, you can easily get permanent ink off clothing as long as you have some common household items in your home. For example – baking soda, rubbing alcohol, hair spray, hand sanitizer, lemon juice, and toothpaste.

In this article, I will provide all the necessary information on how to get permanent marker out of fabric. With a bit of patience and effort, you’ll get rid of those unpleasant stains in no time.

Get Permanent Marker Out of Fabric

How to Removing Permanent Marker Stains from Fabric

Using permanent markers can be fun, but it can cause damage to your clothes if accident happens. So, how would you remove them? Well, it can be tough to remove permanent marker stains from porous surfaces like fabric but not impossible. 

Here, I will share some easy methods to remove permanent marker stains from most of the fabrics. And the best part about these methods are they require basic ingredients. So, let’s check them out!

Method 1: Using Rubbing Alcohol

Using rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is one of the most effective methods to remove permanent marker stains. People often use it for treating cuts and scrapes, but it is an incredible solution for removing Sharpie marks as well.

Interestingly, it not only removes stains but also helps to fix dried-out sharpies.

However, in this case, you have to use rubbing alcohol very carefully as fabric quality may vary.

To use it on fabric, first, fold a paper towel twice and put it underneath the fabric. It will work as support. Now, soak a clean cloth or cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and use it to blot the marker stain. If needed, change the towel and use a new one.

Now turn the fabric around, putting the stain face down. Place it over a new folded paper towel. Continue using rubbing alcohol with the cotton ball to rub the other side.

After that, take a wash cloth and pour some laundry detergent or liquid dish soap over it. Then continue rubbing the ink stain. If the paper towel gets too wet, replace it with another one as many times as necessary.

Keep rubbing until the stain disappears. In the same way, you can remove highlighter from clothes.

Applying that much rubbing alcohol on tougher fabrics won’t be a problem. But be careful with delicate or synthetic fabrics since it’s a strong stain remover.

Finally, clean the clothes in the washing machine using detergent at a hot temperature. But make sure it is not too hot. Otherwise, it could ruin the fabric. After it finishes, the stain should be off.

Sometimes the rubbing alcohol may leave a stain mark on poly blend clothes. So, you may need to rewash the clothes. In fact, you need to be careful enough while handling white cloth.

Rubbing alcohol can also be used on dry erase boards to remove permanent ink. You’ll get a complete guideline on our website.

Method 2: Using Baking Soda

Baking Soda with White Vinegar

Baking soda is yet another substance every household has stored somewhere. It has been using as a household cleaning agent for years. It can easily remove any type of stubborn stain as it acts like alkaline. That’s why it also removes marker stain from walls efficiently.

However, to get Sharpie off fabrics, first, take a paper towel and press on the Sharpie stains to blot out the ink. Try to remove as much ink as possible. In this step, you may need to use a few paper towels.

Now take a small amount of baking soda and sprinkle a little of this stain remover on the stained area. Then use a brush to gently rub over the stain in a circular motion so that it dissolves and remove Sharpie ink effectively. Be extra gentle while rubbing for more delicate fabrics.

Allow some time for it to dry, then dust it off using paper towels. Using a vacuum to remove it works as well.

After that keeping a towel underneath, spray an equal amount of water and white vinegar right on the stain. You can also apply this solvent using a cotton swab. Let it soak as much as needed.

The estimated time for this step is 15 to 30 minutes.

Finally, throw the cloth into the washing machine and wash it, usually using laundry detergent. Hopefully, after one wash, you’ll be able to get rid of the Sharpie stain forever.

Method 3: Using Hair Spray

Hairspray is widely known for its versatility and also works effectively for removing permanent marker stains from clothes. It doesn’t contain any such chemicals that could damage your clothes. So, it’s totally safe to use on your clothes or your skin.

Hairspray is also effective in removing Sharpie stains from metal surfaces. However, in both cases, you must need an aerosol-based hairspray.

Though there is a controversy using hairspray on clothes as some people think it works and some think it doesn’t. But I think to get out from the trouble you should try this method at least once as the process is simple.

Firstly, take an aerosol-based hairspray and use it to directly spray on the stain. Then wait for 30 seconds or a minute before wiping the stain off.

After that, take a cotton ball and press it on the ink stain to get Sharpie off. Similarly, you can use it to remove permanent marker from plastic.

If it takes more than that, consider using a soft cloth. Then soak the cloth with the spray, and press it against the entire stain. If the stain starts transferring to the cloth, it means it is working.

You have to continue doing the operation until it the Sharpie mark disappears. Then, wash the fabric with cold water.

Method 4: Try Using Hand Sanitizer

Using Hand Sanitizer

Permanent marker stains are known as tough stains because they’re hard to remove. However, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer on your clothes, and it’ll work wonders!

The alcohol in the sanitizer will get rid of any ink that’s leftover. And not only from fabric, but hand sanitizer also works efficiently to remove ink stains from glasses. It works similar to rubbing alcohol, though it’s not that strong.

The marketing strategy for hand sanitizers doesn’t usually include removing stains, but it definitely should. It is an unexpected method that ensures the marker and many other stains don’t last long on fabric.

First of all, pour a generous amount of sanitizer on a clean cloth to remove Sharpie. Then press on the ink stains with that damp cloth and cover the entire area.

Now you have to rub the area for few minutes and then let it sit there for about 10 minutes.

After that, soak up the excess liquid with paper towels until all permanent stain is removed. If needed, add an additional coat of sanitizer before washing. But be careful not to let too much go through into other fabric areas.

Finally, follow up by washing the piece of fabric with cold water to remove ink stains for good.

Method 5: Lemon Juice and Toothpaste

Toothpaste With Lemon Juice

If using the methods above is not an option for you, try using lemon juice and toothpaste. They’re easily accessible, and every household has it for sure. This duo works magically as stain remover. Even this method is very popular to use on crayon stains.

However, in this regard, take a small bowl and mix a few drops of fresh lemon juice with toothpaste. It’s an easy solution to remove ink stains.

Now, put enough of it to cover the stain, and then rub it using enough strength. After rubbing a while, let it sit for some time.

Then wash off the fabric using cold water. These ingredients work as one of the best methods to remove Sharpie stains from clothes.

Method 6: Nail Polish Remover

Nail polish remover is an old-school favorite for removing stubborn permanent marker stains from wood. The reason is, it has acetone in it. Due to the acetone compound, it works in an identical manner to rubbing alcohol. That’s why it can dissolve any type of marker stains from fabrics.

So, first of all, pour a generous amount of the nail polish remover on a rag to damp it. Then use that damp rag over the stain and use it for blotting up Sharpie stain. Try to blot up as much liquid as you can.

If needed, use more nail polish remover over the stain and continue the blotting process. Then follow up with a swipe of a paper towel. While doing this process, you will see that the permanent marker stain is getting faded.

So, to get permanent marker ink out of clothes for good, give those clothes a wash using laundry detergent. If not, then repeat the process until no more trace remains.

This process may take multiple tries if done correctly but will pay off in the end!

Important Tips and Advice

Regardless of the method, there are a couple of tips and advice that everyone should follow before attempting to remove permanent marker from fabric. These tips are the following:

  • Use a disposable item below the marker stain before starting to rub. Paper towel works great to get Sharpie stain absorbed, and you can dispose of it later.
  • If you decide to use chemicals to remove the permanent marker, make sure to wear gloves. Also, keep the chemicals far away from the children.
  • Washing your clothes at hot temperatures will help to remove permanent ink stains. But you must need to make sure that what temperature the fabric can resist
  • You have to be careful while using any chemical over the stains as it can damage other areas if you make any mistake.
  • I recommend to use regular detergent and heavy soil cycle for washing the clothes after stain removal. 
  • If you are planning to use bleach make sure to dilute it with water and don’t mix ammonia into it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Does vinegar remove permanent marker stains?

Vinegar is a very powerful natural stain remover. But for removing permanent markers from fabrics, you will need some distilled white vinegar.

So, take some vinegar on a cotton ball and use it in the same way as nail polish remover method mentioned above. White vinegar also works amazingly to get dry erase marker and glitter glue out of clothes.

Q: How to get washable markers out of clothes?

Washable markers are the easiest ones to remove from fabrics. As soon as you notice the stain, wash it simply with hot water to loosen out the stain.

Then throw the clothes into the washing machine and add some laundry detergent into it. Now, using a heavy soil cycle, wash the clothes to remove the marker stains.

Q: Does hydrogen peroxide remove Sharpies?

Hydrogen peroxide is actually an unusual way to get Sharpie off the fabric. But it actually works and is one of the safest methods. It’s really safe for clothes and works as a gentle cleaning solution.

You can use this in the same way as nail polish remover method. But i would recommend to use it in a small amount on delicate clothes.

Final Thoughts

Permanent marker stains happen for many reasons and can be quite difficult to get out of fabric because it is so sticky. But don’t worry, with the methods mentioned above you can remove them successfully.

Remember to act quickly if an ink incident occurs. Hope this article has helped you.

Loard Eva

Hi there! I’m Eva, artist, designer, photographer and mom of three little gentlemen altogether. When I’m not playing with my kids, you’ll find me researching and writing for ChooseMarker.

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