Home Remedies for Cleaning Marker Stains

Unless you’ve purchased washable Crayolas, the rainbow of colors on your wall and upholstery will remain unless you find a remover that does not damage. You may think it’s a lost cause with permanent marker, but there is still hope. To salvage your belongings, consider using the magic of home remedies for market stains.

About Marker Stains

The trouble with removing marker stains is that the colors and associated components are usually made to last – especially if you are dealing with permanent marker. However, depending on the material you wish to clean – getting rid of marker stains is not an impossible task. At the very least, you can significantly lighten a marker stain to the point that it is hardly visible.

When cleaning marker stains, keep in mind that fresh stains are easier to remove than old ones. Time and heat are two of the most damaging factors to consider. Therefore, until you have exhausted all of the possibilities for removing a marker stain, avoid drying or ironing any garments.

Marker Stain Home Remedies

When using a marker, it’s inevitable that a slip of the hand can produce an ugly blemish on clothing or furniture – especially when it comes to children. To remove noticeable blunders and accidents, consider some of the following home remedies for marker stains:

a) Q-Tip:

The small size of a Q-tip allows you to apply and absorb stains that only need a small amount of remover.

b) Nail Polish Remover:

To treat a marker ink stain from clothing, try using nail polish remover. Apply a small amount to a cotton ball, and then apply to the marker ink. Rub the cotton ball over the stain a couple of times to encourage removal of the ink. You can also use nail polish remover to eliminate marker stains from your skin. After the stains are gone, wash your skin with soap and water[1].

c) Eye Dropper:

An eye dropper allows you to apply a small amount of stain remover without compromising any other portions of a garment [2].

d) Rubbing Alcohol:

To remove a felt tip marker stain, place the spot facing down on clean paper towels. Sponge rubbing alcohol into the area around the stain, and then apply it directly to the stain. Continue sponging the stain with the alcohol – making sure to change the paper towels underneath on a frequent basis. Thoroughly rinse the garment, and then put in the laundry as usual.

e) White Vinegar and Liquid Hand Dishwashing Detergent:

To remove felt tip marker from your upholstery and carpet, start by mixing one tablespoon of liquid hand dishwashing detergent and one tablespoon of white vinegar. Use a clean white cloth to sponge the stain with the remedy. Let the solution sit on the stain for at least 30 minutes – making sure to blot it with a clean white cloth every five minutes. Flush the stain with cool water, and blot until the liquid has absorbed. Sponge the stain with rubbing alcohol, and then blot to remove the stain. Sponge with cold water, and then blot the liquid until it is absorbed.

f) WD-40:

Remove marker stains from walls by spraying a bit of WD-40 on the spots. Use a clean rag to wipe away the stain. WD-40 is effective because it will not damage paint or most wallpapers. You can also use this remedy to remove marker stains from appliances and furniture.

g) Spray Bottle:

Fill an empty spray bottle with your homemade stain removal solutions so that you can apply to your clothing when you need a quick fix. This will help prevent stains from setting in.

h) Toothbrush:

Treat stains that have reached the soft fibers of clothing by using a soft-bristled nylon toothbrush to work your stain remover into the material.

i) Hair Spray:

To remove ink from furniture and walls, you may want to try hairspray, which is known to remove some permanent marker stains. Saturate the stain, and let stand for a couple of minutes. Wipe away with a soft cloth and rinse the area with clear water.

j) Lysol:

Use Lysol disinfectant spray on walls and furniture with permanent marker stains. Spray a nice amount of the disinfectant on the stain, and leave on for a few minutes. You can then wipe away the stains. You may need to repeat the process to treat remaining stains.

k) Lemon Juice:

To increase the strength of your stain removal solution (like dishwashing detergent or hair spray), add lemon juice. You could squeeze fresh or bottled lemon juice directly on the stain, and then scrub with a sponge or brush[3]. Rinse off the juice, and make sure it dries completely.

l) Salt:

Salt adds an abrasive quality to any permanent marker home remedy that is effective on porous materials or older stains that have set. Some helpful combinations include salt and lemon juice, salt and dish detergent, or salt and hairspray.

m) Vinegar and Water:

Add vinegar and water to a spray bottle, and apply to marker on your walls, and wipe clean.

n) Oil:

When you’ve gotten marker on your hands, use baby oil or vegetable oil to remove the stains. If the stain is stubborn, you can sprinkle salt on your palms while rubbing them together.

o) Toothpaste:

Try plain white toothpaste to remove permanent marker stains from furniture and other hard surfaces. Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste onto the area, and scrub with a damp cloth. Use a circular motion for the best results. The toothpaste helps to lift the stain away, but could take more than one application. To remove the toothpaste residue, rinse with clean water.

p) Baking Soda:

Moisten a clean cloth and dip in a small amount of baking soda. Rub the soda on permanent marker stains, and then gently scrub away. This remedy works well on most furniture and hard surfaces.

q) Dry Erase Marker:

As odd as it may seem, but a dry erase marker when written over permanent marker stains can help remove offensive marks. Allow the marker to completely dry. When you wipe away the dry erase marker – the permanent marker should wipe away with it. Repeat the process to get the best results.


[1] http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-permanent-marker-remover/

[2] Stain Rescue by Good Housekeeping Research Institute; pg. 39.

[3] http://www.wikihow.com/Remove-Permanent-Marker