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10 Effective Ways to Remove Permanent Marker Stains from Clothes

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Ways to Remove Permanent Marker Stain from Clothes

Permanent marker, or a sharpie, is a very useful tool in labeling, marking, putting up important notices. So much so that these color markers are used everywhere- in classrooms, laboratories, shops, even kitchens. And that in turn means leaks and stains on shirts, or stains on the nice dress you are planning to wear to the party after work. Here are some ways to remove sharpie from clothes with ingredients you would get near about anywhere, even in your workplace.

Because sharpie ink is alcoholic, it works best with alcohol based removers. They act as solvents for the pen inks to dissolve in and come off the fibers. Before you get on with removing permanent marker stains though, you need to remember certain things:

    • Ideally, stain from permanent marker should be removed before it dries and takes a firm hold on the cloth fibers. Remember that it is called permanent ink for a reason – it is designed to resist the usual methods of removal. So to get permanent marker out of clothes, you should act fast.
    • It is always better to dab the thing you are applying on the stain instead of rubbing it hard. The latter involves the risk of the stain seeping in further into the fabric. Also, in case of a paper towel, there is always the risk of the paper fibers getting enmeshed in the clothing fiber.
    • Always put a paper towel or a clean old white towel on the other side of the clothing item before proceeding with stain removal from fabrics. This ensures that the stain is absorbed once it comes off loose from the fiber, and prevents it from seeping into any other part of the cloth.
    • Make sure that the piece of cloth you are using for rubbing the stain off is white and clean. Any other stain may make the clothing item dirtier.
    • Before applying any of the listed methods, go for a test run on a very small portion of the cloth you want to remove the stain from. This is to ensure that the clothing item is not damaged by the ingredients you would use.

Removing permanent marker stain from something like a carpet is easy. You can use any of the methods below meant for tough fabric to take off the stain from it. It is getting the stains of a marker off your clothes that is tricky, and requires special attention to the type of fabric. Follow the instructions carefully and you may have to use more than one method on a particular piece of clothing to clean that permanent marker spot.




Remove Permanent Marker Stains from Clothes

1.  Bleaching 

For white or undyed fabrics, you can use bleach to remove the stain. Dip the stained part of the cloth on bleach diluted with water. If the stain doesn’t come off immediately, soak the cloth in the solution. But be careful so that the fabric doesn’t start dissolving. Once you see that the stain has been removed, remove the cloth and wash it immediately.

2. Vinegar

For stain on satin fabrics, you need to use softer methods of removal. Mix 1 tbsp milk, 1 tbsp white vinegar, 1 teaspoon borax and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in a small cup. Then apply it directly on the stain. Leave it on for 10 minutes. Then with a clean piece of dampened sponge, gently dab at the soaked stain till the stain disappears.

You can make it simpler with just a tablespoon each of white vinegar and liquid dishwasher. Add 2 cups of water to it, and dab a soft piece of cloth on the stain after dipping it in the mixture every 5 minutes. Let it remain for around 30 minutes before washing it off with cold water. If there is any stain remaining, just sponge it with rubbing alcohol before washing it.
You can even put some vinegar and water in a spray bottle and sprinkle it on the stain.

3. Milk

Milk itself, surprisingly, can act as a great remover of stains from fabric. Just put some milk on a bowl and soak the stained portion in it. You will see that the milk starts acting by turning into the color of the marker ink. Once you see the milk has been saturated enough with the color, replace it some more fresh milk. Keep on doing this till the color disappears from the fabric completely. Then wash the clothing piece with water.

4. Rubbing Alcohol

In case the stain is on some sturdy fabric like those of towels and sheets, or carpets, put a little acetone or rubbing alcohol on a clean ball of cotton and dab it on the stain till it comes off. Then immediately wash the cloth.

You can also use some nail polish remover, which has is strongly alcoholic. Dab a little nail polish remover on the stain. Then scrub it with a clean piece of cloth. Wash the clothing immediately when the stain disappears.

5. Juice of Citrus Fruits

For removing permanent marker stains from a regular clothing item, you need gentle chemicals that don’t bleach or damage your clothes. You can use citrus juice for that. Squeeze some juice from lemon or lime on the stain and dab it with a cotton ball or clean piece of cloth till the stain comes off. For softer fabrics, you can dilute the juice with some water before applying. Once the stain comes off, wash the cloth piece immediately.

You can also use a mixture of tartar and lemon juice. Mix them equally on a bowl before applying it on the stain and the areas surrounding it. Let it remain for a few minutes before washing it off, preferably through the standard cycle wash of your washing machine.

Read here – How to Remove Stubborn Rust Stain Marks

6. Hairspray

For a stubborn stain, using hairspray can be a solution to the problem, though it can be a bit tricky and you need to be very careful while using it. Place a paper towel under the stained part by putting them on a hard surface for support. Now spray some hairspray on the stain. Dab the stain with a Q-tip. Ideally, the hairspray should transfer the stain to the paper underneath. But be very careful while using the Q-tip, else the stain will spread and complicate matters.

7. Toothpaste

Toothpaste too is one of the effective and easier ways to remove permanent marker stains from a piece of clothing. Put some toothpaste on a paper towel and scrub the stained area with it. Wash it off. Repeat the process if the stain doesn’t get off at once. However, take care not to use gel based toothpaste.

8. Baking soda

Baking soda is very helpful against removal of permanent marker stains, especially from tough fabrics. Make a paste by mixing baking soda and water. Dip a moist piece of cloth in it. Use it to rub the stain before scrubbing it gently. Wash it off once the stain disappears. You can repeat the process if you want to.

For the process to be more effective, you can even apply a little lemon juice over the stained area once you have rubbed it with the baking soda paste. Use a toothbrush for more effective spreading and rubbing. Let it remain for five minutes. Then wash it off with hot water.

You can mix toothpaste with baking soda. Mix equal parts of baking soda and toothpaste in a small cup. Apply this directly on the stain and let it be for at least a minute. Rub the mixture into the stain with a clean piece of cloth in circular motions till the stain comes off. Wash it off with water.

9. Salt

Perhaps the simplest way is to use some salt. Just add a cup of salt to the washing machine, without adding any detergent to the solution. Put it through the coldest cycle your washing machine supports. If the fabric is tough and heat-resistant, however, you can use the hottest cycle available. It is likely to remove the stain, and even if it doesn’t, it will lighten it considerably.

10. Hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer can be used not only to remove nail polish, but it can also help you in getting that stain off your clothing item. But the sanitizer must be alcohol based, because only then it can act as a solvent for the marker stain to dissolve in it. On a firm surface, put a paper towel beneath the cloth to facilitate blotting. Then put a little sanitizer on the stain. You can then rub it off gently with a clean, soft piece of cloth till the strain disappears. Once the stain is gone, wash and dry the clothing.

If none of these works, you can access any of the over the counter synthetic stain removers that are available at very cheap rates. Products like WD-40 can be used over a wide range of stains by spraying it directly on them and then scrubbing the area.




Any combination of the above listed ways is supposed to work against sharpie stains.

In case there is a permanent marker stain on your upholstery, couch, or cloth furniture, try any of the following methods. Again, don’t forget to try them out on a small bit of the material that is not easily visible to test compatibility.Before we wind up, here are some bonus remedies.

• You can try any of the above alcohol based methods like rubbing alcohol or toothpaste to remove that stain from any part of your furniture leather. Try not to use nail polish remover here, because many have reported that it is corrosive to furniture.

• In case the furniture wrap is made of delicate material, like satin, again refer to the above methods. You can even use some aerosol spray. Once the stain has been removed, clean off the residue and apply a little leather conditioner.

• You can use sunscreen to remove that stain if the fabric is non-porous. Just apply some sunscreen over it and gently rub it off with a clean piece of cloth. Your stain should be removed immediately.

• For microfiber upholstery, put some hydrogen peroxide on a clean towel and scrub the affected area for around 15 minutes. In a different towel, put some rubbing alcohol and repeat the process. Once the stain has come off considerably, clean the area with a third towel dampened with water. Then use a dry towel or a paper towel for blotting the area dry.

• You can always use synthetic products like Windex- just dab it on the stain with a piece of clean cloth. However, these are not environment friendly.It is hard to get marker stains out of clothes. But that shouldn’t discourage you from trying. It is highly unlikely that none of the above ways would work. But in the rare case it doesn’t, it would considerably lighten it.