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How to Remove Permanent Marker from Almost Everything

We've compiled a go-to guide for marker stain removal from almost any type of material.

By: Scott Waldyn, Editor,
How to Remove Permanent Marker from Almost Everything
How to Remove Permanent Marker from Almost Everything
This image courtesy of

We’ve all been there. One of the kids got into the permanent markers and decided to make a beautiful mural on the wall. A family member was coloring with markers and accidentally dropped one onto the table. A friend was carrying a marker with the cap off, and it fell to the floor. These pesky problems happen, and though marker stain removal may seem impossible, we’ve found solutions for almost every issue that may arise. In How to Remove Permanent Marker from Almost Everything, we’ve listed out techniques and tips for successfully removing marker stains from your walls, floors, furniture, fabrics, and more! In each section, we break up these techniques by material and type.

In the lists below, you’ll learn how to remove marker from wood, leather, microfiber, cotton, and virtually anything else you can think of. The best part is, there is more than one solution for each material, and we’ve made sure to include as many techniques as possible. 


Project TypeLearn a Technique

Materials List

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Melamine foam (Magic Eraser)
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Aerosol hairspray
  • Acetone
  • Citrus juice
  • Bleach
  • Baking soda and toothpaste

How to Remove Permanent Marker from Fabric

Each one of these steps describes how to remove permanent marker from a different type of fabric. Whether you're looking to remove pesky marker stains from clothes, towels, or sheets, the steps in this section should have your fabric looking as good as new! 

  1. How to Remove Permanent Marker from White Fabric: The best way to remove permanent marker from white fabric is to pour a small amount of bleach into a bucket of water. Dip the affected area of your fabric into the mixture. If the permanent marker doesn't wash out right away, let it soak for a minute or two. Don't let it soak too long, however, as bleach can potentially dissolve the fabric.

    Please note: When handling bleach, use caution. It's advised to wear rubber gloves as bleach can damage skin. To dispose of bleach, slowly pour it down the drain with the water running. 

  2. How to Remove Permanent Marker from Clothing: This technique applies to clothes made of cotton or cotton blends. To remove permanent marker from clothes, the first step is to try squeezing citrus juice onto the stain. After spraying the surface of the stain with lemon or lime juice, dab the affected region with a cotton ball, paper towel, or a clean cloth. Repeat this process a few times until the stain disappears. If the citrus juice isn't working, you can try applying rubbing alcohol to a cotton ball and dabbing the stain. 


  3. How to Remove Permanent Marker from Satin or Silk: The best solution for removing permanent marker stains from satin or silk is to bring the stained materials to professional cleaners, as these materials are sensitive. However, a mixture of sodium borate, white vinegar, milk, and lemon juice can make marker stains disappear. Simply mix one tablespoon of each ingredient into a small container. Then dip a sponge into the solution and dab at the stain until the stain is gone. 

  4. How to Remove Permanent Marker from Towels and Sheets: Towels and sheets are sturdier fabrics that typically require something stronger than just citrus juice to remove permanent marker stains. For these heavier fabrics, pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol or acetone (active ingredient in nail polish remover) onto a cotton ball. Dab the cotton ball on the stain until it disappears. You may need to repeat this process a few times to make a stain completely vanish. 

    Please note: Acetone is a skin irritant that can cause redness and inflammation. When working with acetone, wear latex gloves. 

How to Remove Permanent Marker from Walls, Floors, and Furniture

Each one of these steps will teach you how to remove permanent marker from your walls, floors, and furniture. Whether someone made a small stain or a child turned a hallway into a magnificent work of abstract art, these techniques will have you restoring your home to the way it was before the accident. 

  1. How to Remove Permanent Marker from Walls: There are a few solutions to removing permanent marker from your walls. One of the easiest solutions is to gently rub your walls with melamine foam. Be careful not to rub too hard, as you can rub off paint. 

    Aerosol hairspray and lemon essential oil also work wonders on damaged walls. Simply spray the hairspray or drip a few drops of the lemon essential oil into a clean cloth or paper towel, and dab the affected areas on the wall. You want to dab gently, so as to avoid rubbing the paint off. 

  2. How to Remove Permanent Marker from Wood Furniture and Floors: There are a variety of ways to remove permanent marker from wood. The first way is to pour a little bit of rubbing alcohol on the stain. Let the alcohol soak for a few minutes, and then blot the area until dry. If the stain isn't completely removed right away, try this tactic again. 

    A mixture of half toothpaste and half baking soda can also be used to remove marker from wood. Simply apply the combined ingredients to the stain. Let the mixture sit for a couple of minutes, and then rub the area with a slightly dampened cloth. With the cloth, rub in a circular motion, so you can rub evenly across the stained wood. The stain should start to disappear. 

    Gently rubbing the wood with a slightly dampened melamine foam is another solution. With this technique, make sure you are rubbing carefully and slowly. You don't want to take any varnish with the stain. 

  3. How to Remove Permament Marker from Carpet: There are three materials you can use to dab a permanent marker stain on carpet. Dab the stain with either rubbing alcohol, distilled white vinegar, or aerosol hairspray until the stain disappears. After removing the stain, blot the area with a clean dampened cloth to remove any lingering chemicals. 

  4. How to Remove Permanent Marker from Leather Furniture: The best solution for leather furniture is to spray or dab either distilled white vinegar or aerosol hairspray onto the stain. The sooner you can apply these removers to the stain, the easier the stain will come off. Once the stain is removed, wipe the area with a clean dampened cloth to remove the vinegar or hairspray. 

  5. How to Remove Permanent Marker from Microfiber: This technique requires more time to remove the stain, but it should keep your furniture looking clean and free of stains. To start, apply a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to a clean cloth. Scrub the stain with the cloth for a few minutes. After you've scrubbed for at least five minutes, switch to a different cloth that has rubbing alcohol applied to it. Scrub with the rubbing alcohol until the stain disappears. Once the stain has been removed, wipe the affected area with a clean dampened towel. 

How to Remove Permanent Marker from Skin

Soap, water, and scrubbing work when it comes to removing permanent marker from skin, but this technique takes several minutes to complete. For a quicker cleaning of the skin, apply rubbing alcohol to a towel or cloth. Rub this towel or cloth on the stain until it disappears. Once the stain is gone, clean the area with soap and water. 

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If you have kids or babysit kids then you know your walls and floors get painted on with almost anything. I never imagined that a can of hairspray would come in handy for those scribbled messes on walls and furniture. I love how inexpensive this craft it and it covers almost all the surfaces.


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