How to Remove Permanent Marker From Skin, Furniture, Walls and More!

Emily Cooper

February 17, 2020

How to remove permanent marker

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Would you know how to remove permanent marker if your child scribbled on the walls, or coloured in the couch? No, we didn’t either – and it is inevitably what will happen as soon as you turn your back! Discover how to remove permanent marker from a variety of problem areas, including skin, furniture, walls and fabric with these top tips.

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Not many parents are in the fortunate position of being without a “hilarious” tale about when their child got hold of a Sharpie. It is also rare to find any incident in which the dismayed parent was quite as impressed with their little one’s handiwork as they were.

Since we know only too well the consequences of a marker mishap, we have compiled a list of what works and what won’t so you can learn how to remove permanent marker from almost anything.

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Genius Tips on How to Remove Permanent Marker

The good news is that so called “permanent” markers are water insoluble. They are almost all able to be removed with a non-water based solvent. Remember, where possible you should test the stain remover on an inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t further damage the fabric or material in question.

No matter what sort of item or material has fallen victim to that tricky stain from a permanent marker, we hope that you will find a way to rescue it in the list below!


Whether it is as a result of some accidental penmanship, some overly enthusiastic colouring or a deliberate homemade tattoo, permanent marker on skin is an inevitable mishap.

Luckily, permanent marker comes off skin relatively easily with makeup remover wipes or micellar cleanser. Simply rub the wipes in a circular motion over the stain to lift the mark off of the skin.

You can also try nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, or hand sanitiser to remove the marker.

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clean wooden floor

If your expensive wood furniture or wood floor is carrying the calling card of a little visitor, it is always a good idea to test any cleaning method on an inconspicuous spot first to make sure that it won’t damage the wood or leave its own mark.

You can try using isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, nail varnish remover or toothpaste (not the gel kind). Blot your treatment of choice onto the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Dab it with a damp cloth to remove the treatment and the stain, and continue dabbing until the stain is gone.


Ahhh, the horrors of a pale carpet and a black Sharpie…! But what if you could save yourself the expense of a professional carpet cleaner?

Removing permanent marker from carpet is simple with a little nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol. Be sure to dab (not rub) it over the stained area with a clean, damp cloth to lift the alcohol, and swap out for a clean cloth as you go so you don’t put marker back into the carpet you have just cleaned.

Fabric and Upholstery

If the new and unwanted design on the fabric has just happened, work fast to prevent the marker stain from spreading or transferring further. Put an old cloth, towel or sheets of kitchen paper under the stain so that it can’t seep through to the other side of the item of clothing or fabric.

To remove the stain, dip a cloth or clean sponge in rubbing alcohol. Start by dabbing first around the stain, then directly on it. Avoid rubbing, and stick to dabbing to avoid creating a deeper stain or ruining the pile of the fabric.

Make sure that the old towel or cloths behind the stain remain in place, as the stain should start to transfer through. Continue dabbing until the stain is removed and then wash the fabric as normal.

While rubbing alcohol is the stain remover of choice, there are several other products that parents swear by to remove permanent marker from fabric or upholstery, including WD-40, nail polish remover, hand sanitiser, and white vinegar. However, this will entirely depend on the fabric in question.

It is important to note that delicates like wool, silk, satin, chiffon or lace should not be treated in the same way as sturdier fabrics. Expert advice from a dry cleaner is a good idea for delicates.

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car seats

If you can, it is advisable to treat permanent marker stains on leather items as soon as possible. Again, if it is possible, test on a small inconspicuous part of fabric first.

Permanent marker can be easily removed from leather surfaces using distilled white vinegar. Let the vinegar sit on the stain for a few minutes to ensure that it penetrates, then wipe off the stain with a damp cloth using circular motions.

You can also use aerosol hairspray or sunscreen. Dab or spray your stain remover of choice onto the stain, then blot with a damp cloth to remove. Do not use nail polish remover on leather as it is more likely to remove the colour than the stain!


You’re not alone if your child sees your lovely walls as a giant space to decorate in their own way!

If you have discovered some scribbles that you would rather not get attached to, you can use rubbing alcohol to remove them.

If your walls are painted with an ‘easy care’ or washable paint, you may find that a regular kitchen cleaner or rubbing alcohol works well. Word of warning – take care with rubbing too hard on painted walls, especially with anything too abrasive, as it may remove the paint (this is why testing is so important).

Use a circular motion to help lift the mark off the wall, then wipe with a damp cloth to remove any residue.

Aerosol hairspray or a magic eraser may also have success removing the marker stains from your walls.

Laminate Floors or Counters

Laminate is usually quite smooth, making it relatively easy to clean – also incredibly easy to notice a big old scribble!

To remove permanent marker from laminate surfaces, try vegetable oil, rubbing alcohol or a magic eraser.


Has your child drawn all over a doll’s face, across the front of their toy kitchen or another plastic surface? Removing permanent market from plastic is doable if it is a light stain, but take care as some of the solutions may remove the top coating on the surface.

Rubbing alcohol is, again, a go-to choice for many, as well as hairspray, glass cleaner, dry erase marker or a combination of baking soda and toothpaste.


For smooth tiles, try a magic eraser to remove any scribbles. Ridged, patterned or otherwise textured tiles may require using a light scrub to clean.

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Do you have any other tips to share on how to remove permanent marker? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!

How to Remove Permanent Marker From Skin Furniture Walls and More! - Mykidstime

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Published On: February 17th, 2020 / Categories: Lifestyle / Last Updated: March 13th, 2020 / Tags: , /

About the Author: Emily Cooper

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Emily is a multi-tasking mum of two who swaps a morning aimlessly yelling words like "shoes!" and "teeth!", for the soothing sounds of the keyboard. Relishing her warm cup of tea and unaccompanied toilet trips, she has a passion strong business content, as well lifestyle and parenting blog posts.

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