How to Get Permanent Marker Out of Clothes

Removing Permanent Marker from Couches, Walls or Carpet

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


Once again, rubbing alcohol is an excellent stain-removal choice. 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. Just pour some on a paper towel or wash cloth, then rub the affected area until the ink is gone. If that doesn't work, try nail polish remover, which is great at removing inks that aren't water-soluble.


Be it the couch or a favorite jacket, no one wants permanent marker to mar leather. Treat the area as soon as possible after the offense occurs by dabbing or lightly spraying the stain with distilled white vinegar, aerosol hairspray or even sunscreen. Then blot gently with a clean cloth to remove.


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, 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 greatly faded. Once that's made a serious dent, 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, instead. Just use the product sparingly and try not to scrub too vehemently, or else you'll take some paint right off with it.


Most of us have carpet-specific cleaner lying around, but in a pinch just hit the fridge and pantry to find the fixings for a homemade concoction. Milk mixed with cornstarch produces a very effective stain-removing paste. Simply apply it to the stained portion of the carpet and allow to set for several hours. Once dried, brush away the residue and vacuum any leftover bits.If that doesn't do the trick, try blotting it with a clean white towel and rubbing alcohol.

Last editorial update on Mar 26, 2018 03:37:00 pm.

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  • Aguirre, Sarah. "Does Hair Spray Really Remove Ink Stains?" The Spruce. Feb. 15, 2017 (March 26, 2018).
  • Edmonson, Robin. "How To Remove Permanent Marker from a Painted Wall." Den Garden. Oct. 20, 2015 (March 26, 2018).
  • Peterson, Christina. "Does Hairspray Remove Ink? A Cleaning Myth Busted." Good Housekeeping. July 23, 2010 (March 26, 2018).
  • Readers Digest. "How to Remove Ink Stains: 12 Household Solutions." (March 26, 2018).
  • Smith, Lauren. "How to Remove Permanent Marker Stains". Good Housekeeping. Dec. 12, 2017 (March 26, 2018).