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8 ways to remove permanent marker stains

Here are 8 ways to remove permanent marker stains! Lil’ Duck and his friends have found the Sharpie permanent markers on occasion and boy can those make a mess! Thankfully, it can be removed, although I still need to work on the carpet. With this list, be careful as to the surface, as some of these things will ruin certain surfaces. I’d suggest spot-testing and using common sense (i.e. not putting bleach on carpet, not using chemicals on skin, etc. ;)). Now if only I could get red koolaid out of carpet…

  1. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (also works for crayons, but don’t use it on skin, of course)
  2. WD-40
  3. Anti-bacterial hand gel
  4. Hairspray
  5. Cooking spray
  6. Nail polish remover
  7. Bleach (depending on the surface)
  8. Goof Off

*Updated to add other suggestions….

Eagles Wings suggested acetone for taking sharpies right off of plastic or hard surfaces (keep away from children, of course).

Renee said that rubbing alcohol will also remove permanent markers from smooth surfaces.

Mz Jay had an incident where:

My daughter got her hands on a thick black permanent marker(sharpie) she drew on paper but quite alot of it got on the kitchen table that has a wood finish on top. I used toothpaste and a toothbrush and it removed all the marker on the table! I let the toothpaste sit on all the marks for about 5 minutes and got an old toothbrush and scrubbed away! My table does not have any marker left on it, and the best part is that the toothpaste did not ruin my wood table or the finish thats on it. I would suggest using the white toothpaste rather than the gel types that are on the market.

Comments, Questions or Reviews:


451 Responses

  1. mgb October 3, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    rubbing alcohol !!!

  2. Kevin Glover October 3, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    Rubbing Alcohol works good as well.

  3. Nikki October 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    The toothpaste works amazingly!
    Thanks for sharing the good tips!

  4. Cynthia October 1, 2012 at 12:56 am #

    Read somewhere after reading this article to use a dry erase marker. I was trying to take permanent marker off plastic… the fingernail polish remover leaves a dull spot. But the dry erase took it off like it was never there!!

  5. April September 29, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    If you don’t happen to have alcohol around, eyeglass cleaner and a bit of blotting and scrubbing will get sharpie out of carpet as well.

  6. Itworked!! September 28, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    I visited this link also in search of a method for removing permanent marker from a painter surface without removing the paint. I had tried alcohol which only rubbed the stain and left a white film on the surrounding paint. I was going to try the Mr. Clean Magic eraser, BUT I thought before I leave the house and go to the store, let me TRY this TOOTHPASTE thing out and sure enough IT WORKED!! Thank you Mz Jay for suggesting this quick and inexpensive solution.

  7. Joyce September 27, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

    Try Spray and Wash on your carpet to remove the red Kool Aid…I spilled it all over my couch and it worked! I sprayed, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rubbed the surface gently with a damp sponge! Took a towel and dabbed at it ….and it all came right out!

  8. Rupa Fitz September 26, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

    The toothpaste worked a treat. Thanks heavens! I am house sitting and my visiting grandson decorated the dining table with a small but obvious patch of space creatures in permanent marker. i thought it was going to be an expensive repair job but it came off in minutes. I seems like something in the toothpaste dissolves the marker rather than it being entirely a scrubbing thing. Perhaps it’s the essential oils?

  9. Nordino September 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    Thanks for the tip. Alcohol in gel worked perfectly on my magnetic wall table!

  10. susan September 9, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    Tech stain remover will take koolaid out of carpet….just rinse thouroughly with water

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