How to Remove Permanent Marker From Fabrics

Kathryn Hatter

Instead of panicking when you find a permanent-marker stain on clothing or upholstery, turn to your household-cleaner cupboard to find a solution.

Although permanent marker can be a challenge to remove, with a little tenacity and effort you should be able to lift out the stain, or at least minimize it to the point where it is hard to detect.

Remove Permanent Marker from Fabric

  1. Place a double layer of paper towels on a flat surface.

  2. Spread the fabric with the permanent-marker stain on the paper towels, with the stained area positioned over the paper towels.

  3. Saturate the sponge with isopropyl alcohol and begin to apply the alcohol to the fabric around the stain. Move the sponge with alcohol to the stain, and sponge at the stain with the alcohol.

  4. Dab at the stain with the sponge and check the paper towel beneath the fabric. You should see the permanent-marker stain transferring to the paper towel. Remove the paper towels when they have permanent marker on them, and replace them with new ones.

  5. Continue blotting at the stain with the isopropyl alcohol until you have transferred as much of the permanent marker to the paper towels as you can.

  6. Rinse the fabric in cool water and wash it in the washing machine. Assess the stain after laundering it. If it's still there, do not dry the fabric in the dryer. Wash the fabric again to try to remove more of the stain. Once the stain is gone, dry the fabric as usual.

Remove Permanent Marker from Upholstery

  1. Measure and pour 1 tbsp. of dishwashing detergent and 1 tbsp. of white vinegar into a small bowl. Add 2 cups of cold water, and mix the ingredients well.

  2. Saturate a clean cloth with the cleaning solution and blot at the stain with the cloth. Saturate the stained area with the cleaning solution, and allow it to soak in for 30 minutes.

  3. Add additional cleaning solution in to the stained area every five minutes, using a clean cloth each time to avoid spreading permanent ink back onto the upholstery.

  4. Rinse the stained area with clear, cool water. Dry the area with a dry cloth to absorb as much of the liquid as possible.

  5. Apply isopropyl alcohol to the stained area and blot at the stain with a clean cloth. Rinse the area with clear water and dry the area as much as possible.

  6. Measure and pour 1 tsp. of dishwashing detergent and 1 tbsp. ammonia into a small bowl. Add 2 cups of cold water, and apply this cleaning solution to the stained area. Leave the solution soaking on the stain for 30 minutes, adding more solution every five minutes.

  7. Rinse the stained area with cool water and dry it as much as possible with a dry cloth.

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