How to remove permanent marker stains: complete guide for all surfaces

how to remove permanent marker (1)

Complete guide outlines how to remove permanent marker from skin, walls, wood, plastic, fabric, leather, laminate, metal, glass, screens, tiles and even books.

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Whether on clothing, plastic, glass or body skin: permanent marker is usually difficult to remove, unless you know what to use on each surface. 

What is a permanent marker?

A permanent marker is used to permanently label an object. Labeling is possible on numerous materials, such as paper, plastic, glass, metal, wood or leather.

The color of the permanent marker is both smudge-proof and waterproof. The color is also lightfast and quick-drying. The color of the marker consists of 1-METHOXY-2-PROPANOL, ethanol and polyphosphate. 

Of course, the permanent marker is a great idea because it sticks to almost all materials. The point “waterproof” in particular makes removing permanent marker stains difficult unless you know what to use. Too bad that the accidental splashes and stains if the pen is dropped or if handled carelessly turn out to be just as permanent.

Children often have a special talent for “decorating” all possible surfaces with particularly stubborn stains. This also includes spots from permanent markers such as felt-tip pens, or highlighters. However, permanent marker stains are not always as permanent as you might think. Below are a few quick and easy ways to remove permanent marker stains from walls, wood, plastic, leather, and other materials – so your things will look like new again soon.

The unwanted stains are not that easy to remove – at least not the conventional way with water. Because the pens do not have the addition “waterproof” for nothing. But there are home remedies and tricks that work. The most important thing is the surface. 

When removing stains, don’t forget to remove any stain remover residue. If you leave it on for too long, it could leave permanent marks on the treated material. Then clean surfaces with a suitable cleaning agent and wash clothes with a high-quality detergent. Please note the instructions for use.

How to remove permanent marker from all surfaces

How to remove permanent marker from clothes, fabric and upholstery

There are a few ways to remove permanent markers from fabrics. Try alcohol, hand sanitizer, hairspray, nail polish remover, WD-40, white vinegar, tartar, or lemon juice.

In many cases, you can use rubbing alcohol to remove the stain. But the use of a perfume or deodorant spray is also possible. With deodorant spray you should make sure that it contains alcohol. But you can also use hairspray. But be careful when using alcohol, not every piece of clothing can be treated with alcohol. Therefore, before treating the stain, a test should be carried out on the inner seam to rule out damage.

  • Place the affected area on kitchen towels.
  • Treat the stain with rubbing alcohol and dab the area vigorously with a clean cloth.
  • Change the kitchen towels and repeat the process until the stain is gone as much as possible.
  • Then wash the fabric as usual with a good detergent.

Try using a soap mixture with vinegar:

  • Mix one tablespoon of colorless dish soap or laundry detergent, and two tablespoons of white vinegar with two cups of water.
  • Use it to dab the stain. To do this, dip a sponge in the mixture and repeat the process as often as necessary.

Instead of the vinegar mixture, you can also try rubbing alcohol or a special stain remover.

  • Simply spray the stain here and let it work for about 15 minutes or use a towel to dab the product of your choice on the stain, do not rub.
  • Dabbing will help prevent you from working the stain further into the fibers.
  • Now put a few paper towels on the stain to absorb the marker.
  • Wipe with cold water.
  • Then wash the stain if you can. 

How to remove permanent marker on wood furniture and floors

Toothpaste is often gentle enough on painted, sealed, and even untreated wood. Rub white, gel-free toothpaste over the stain with a clean, damp cloth, then wipe with the cloth. You may have to repeat this process several times.

  • Apply rubbing alcohol to break down the pigments, then wipe with a clean, damp cloth.
  • If pen or other permanent marker adorns your beautiful wooden floor or furniture, also try rubbing with peanut butter.

Let the remedy of your choice take effect. Repeat this process until the stain is gone. Please test one of these methods first on an inconspicuous area to make sure you are not removing the varnish on the wood.

How to remove permanent marker on leather clothing and furniture

I was pretty sure that permanent marker on leather would kill the product. But I was taught better, it wasn’t the case. I didn’t have to dispose of my leather couch. Use aerosol hairspray, white vinegar, or sunscreen.

  • Spray hairspray on the stain, then wipe with a clean, damp cloth. Repeat this process as often as necessary.
  • Then apply a leather conditioner to prevent the hairspray from damaging the leather.

Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Dab or spray the solution on the stain, then keep dabbing until the stain is gone.

How to get permanent marker off walls

Walls are the preferred “canvas” for every child. Try using alcohol, aerosol hairspray, toothpaste, or a dirt eraser to remove the stain . You can also try lemon essential oil.

With porous walls, special care is required so that no stain remains.

  • For walls without a waterproof coating, it is best to use a special product.
  • For walls with a high-gloss or semi-gloss finish, spray on hairspray or apply white, gel-free toothpaste, but not both together. Then wipe with a clean, damp cloth.

Please be very careful when rubbing the walls. If you rub too hard, you can remove paint, especially that happened to me once with the dirt eraser. It is better to dab away the stain, this is much better and gentler for the respective material. So you cannot distribute the marker any further, but simply dab it away.

How to remove permanent marker from carpet

As I already mentioned, I’ve had great success with alcohol on the carpet – to remove the permanent market, of course 😉. You can also use white vinegar, aerosol hairspray or shaving foam on carpets . Instead of rubbing, dab the stain so you don’t rub the stain deeper into the carpet fibers. Use a damp rag to dab.

How to remove permanent marker from plastic and laminate furniture

For other furniture, such as plastic and laminate, you can try alcohol, nail polish remover, toothpaste (not gel), baking soda, erasers or WD-40. Don’t use a dirt eraser on glossy furniture, however. These will otherwise become matt in those places.

To remove permanent marker stains from smooth, pore-free surfaces, you have to break open the pigments and then wipe them off. Any of the following could work, but it’s best to start with the least aggressive.

  • Edit the stain with a special eraser and wipe with a clean cloth.
  • Treat the stain with hairspray or acetone nail polish remover and wipe with a clean cloth.
  • Treat the stain with a special stain remover and wipe with a clean cloth.

How to remove permanent marker from books

I’m pretty sure you have very good kids who would never scribble on your books, right? 😉. But if this ever happens, I have a solution for you. Dab a little nail polish remover on the stains. Be careful not to take too much or the paper will soak up it. Now you pick up the nail polish remover with a clean cloth and repeat this process until the stain is gone.

How to remove permanent marker from glass

For items made of glass, such as cups, dishes, windows, etc., you can use toothpaste in combination with baking soda to remove stains, alternatively WD-40, nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol. Keep wiping the stains with a paper towel until they’re gone.

How to remove permanent marker from skin

When I was a child, I once drew a “tattoo” on my friend’s skin. Her mother wasn’t very enthusiastic about it. Fortunately, you can get any permanent marker off your skin pretty easily: Try nail polish remover, lotion, shaving foam, sunscreen, rubbing alcohol, or hand sanitizer.

How to remove permanent marker from screens

Be extra careful on sensitive screens. Here you can use normal toothpaste (not gel) or baby wipes. I would approach the stain with baby wipes * first and wipe it off very carefully. If that doesn’t work, use toothpaste. You dab this on the stain and let it take effect. Wipe with a clean cloth. Repeat this process until the stain is gone.

How to remove permanent marker from plastic

You can use an eraser or sunscreen on plastic, but rubbing alcohol will also work, of course.

How to remove permanent marker from metal

If you have permanent markers on metal objects, you can use alcohol again or normal toothpaste. After applying, you should immediately wipe the materials off again.

How to remove permanent marker from tiles

Smooth tiles are relatively easy to clean, but textured tiles will likely require more force. Try using a toothbrush or cotton swab to get into the nooks and crannies. You can clean tiles with toothpaste, aerosol hairspray, or a dirt eraser.

How to remove permanent marker from laminate

Laminate is usually very smooth and should therefore be easy to clean. Use regular toothpaste (not gel) with a little baking soda, alcohol, or a magic eraser.

How to remove permanent marker from microfiber padding

Microfiber pads are surprisingly easy to clean. Use alcohol and a damp sponge on the stains. Hydrogen peroxide or nail polish remover also helps here.