Permanent marker isn’t necessarily permanent – and sometimes that’s a good thing. If you or your family accidentally mark one of the surfaces in your home with this supposedly indelible ink, you may be able to erase the damage. Here are some ways to remove permanent marker from common household surfaces.


For marred walls, give rubbing alcohol, aerosol hairspray, regular toothpaste (non-gel), a Magic Eraser or lemon essential oil a try. Dab on the product to remove the stain. Be careful with rubbing walls as it can spread the ink around or even remove the paint.

Fabric and upholstery

There are many options for removing permanent marker from fabric. Rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, aerosol hairspray, nail polish remover, WD-40, distilled white vinegar or regular toothpaste are all good candidates. Begin by placing a clean rag or some paper towels under fabric so the stain doesn’t spread. Then, apply some of the product onto a clean rag and dab rather than rub the stain. Dabbing helps ensure that you don’t rub the stain further in to the fabric. It’s best to test the product on an inconspicuous part of the same fabric first to ensure it won’t damage the material. Delicate fabrics like silk or satin are best taken to a dry cleaner.

Wood floors and furniture

Rubbing alcohol, peanut butter or regular toothpaste can all remove permanent marker from wood. Test your product of choice on an inconspicuous part of the surface first to make sure it won’t take off the stain or varnish. Then, use a rag to blot the product onto the stain and allow it to work for several minutes. Wipe away the product and repeat until the stain has disappeared.

Leather furniture and clothing

You’ll need to treat leather as soon as possible for the best chance of removing permanent marker. Distilled white vinegar, aerosol hairspray and even sunscreen can be used. Spray or dab on the product, and then blot it away to work out the stain.


Rubbing alcohol is a great solution for getting permanent marker out of carpet fibers. Distilled white vinegar, aerosol hairspray or shaving cream can also be used. Dabbing the stain rather than rubbing it is the best approach. Once the stain is gone, use a clean, damp rag to blot the stain remover from the area.

White board
Has someone used the wrong kind of marker on a white board? Try scribbling over the permanent marker with a dry erase marker, then everything should wipe away easily.


If you need to remove permanent marker from glass windows, cups or dishes, try regular toothpaste combined with baking soda. Nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, WD-40 or a dry erase marker may also work. Rub your chosen product over the stain with a paper towel, and repeat until the marks are gone.


Self-expression can take a messy turn when kids draw on themselves with permanent marker. Thankfully, several household products can help remove it. Give hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, lotion, shaving cream or sunscreen a try. Take care not to get any products in sensitive areas such as eyes and mouths. Wash the affected area clean with water when done.

To avoid any unwanted marker stains in the future, keep markers where young children can’t find or reach them, and work on a bleed-proof backing when using them yourself.

  • By: Draper and Kramer Mortgage Corp.
  • In: DIY, How To, Tips
  • Under: