For some reason, children seem particularly attracted to permanent markers. I’ll never forget the time my daughter drew with permanent marker on our couch or the time my son wrote with permanent marker on the neighbors’ house siding. Another time, my other son wrote with Sharpie permanent marker all over my husband’s brand new wooden organizer.
Most parents have experienced the same types of permanent marker incidents. Fear not! Permanent marker can be safely removed from most items. Here are some amazing ways to get permanent marker off almost anything. (Disclaimer: I offer no guarantees of removal or that your item will not be stained by the solutions used).
- Fabric — Use a sponge or cloth and try one of the following solutions: WD40, rubbing alcohol, regular (non gel) toothpaste, vinegar, or aerosol hairspray. Be sure to test a small amount on the edge of the fabric first to make sure it won’t stain the fabric. For white fabrics, you can use bleach. Once you scrub the permanent marker out, be sure to use stain remover on the spot, then launder as you normally would. If the item is silk or satin or something that would normally be dry-cleaned, take it to the dry-cleaner and see if they can remove it.
- Upholstery —Scrub the stain with hydrogen peroxide, using a clean towel. It make take 10-15 minutes. After you have scrubbed, use rubbing alcohol to continue to remove the permanent marker. When it is finished, spray with Oxyclean and go over the spot again. Dry any remaining liquid with a damp cloth.
- Leather Furniture –Spray with aerosol hairspray and wipe until the stain is removed. You may need to apply the hairspray and repeat several times. Follow up with leather cleaner and leather conditioner to preserve the furniture.
- Carpeting — Spray with aerosol hairspray and scrub. Another option is to use WD40 or rubbing alcohol. Scrub until permanent marker is removed, then follow up with carpet cleaner.
- Hard Surfaces — There are many options to try for hard surfaces. One option is to use a magic eraser. Make sure it is damp before you start scrubbing. Toothpaste, dry erase marker (color over the permanent marker, then wipe with a cloth), WD-40, and vinegar are other options to try on hard surfaces.
- Dry Erase Boards — Scribble over the permanent marker with a dry erase marker, and then wait for 10-15 minutes. After that time, wipe with a regular dry erase board eraser. Follow up with dry erase board cleaner.
- Skin — Rubbing alcohol is probably the best way to remove permanent marker from skin. You could also try hand sanitizer and aerosol hairspray. Scrub with these products, then wash and rinse the area of skin.
Do you have any other tips for getting permanent marker off surfaces? Feel free to share in the comments below!