How to Get Permanent Marker Out of Clothes

How to Get Permanent Marker Out of Clothes

Permanent marker stains on clothes can be frustrating, especially when you accidentally mark your favorite shirt or pants. However, with the right techniques, you can effectively remove these stubborn stains and restore your clothes to their original condition. In this article, we will explore various methods to get permanent markers out of clothes and provide you with helpful tips for successful stain removal.

When dealing with permanent marker stains, it’s important to act quickly and follow the appropriate steps to prevent the stain from setting permanently. By using the right materials and techniques, you can tackle these stains effectively and salvage your clothing items.

Understanding Permanent Marker Stains

Permanent markers contain pigments and dyes that are designed to adhere to various surfaces, including fabric. This makes removing permanent marker stains a bit challenging compared to regular ink stains. The key lies in breaking down the ink and lifting it from the fabric fibers.

Precautions before Removing Permanent Marker Stains

Before you begin the stain removal process, there are a few precautions to keep in mind:

  • Test a small, inconspicuous area of the garment to ensure the chosen method doesn’t cause any damage or discoloration.
  • Place an absorbent cloth or paper towel underneath the stained area to prevent the ink from spreading to other parts of the garment.
  • Avoid using excessive force or rubbing vigorously, as it may push the ink deeper into the fabric.

Methods to Remove Permanent Marker Stains from Clothes

Using Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is an effective solvent that can dissolve permanent marker ink. Follow these steps:

  1. Dampen a clean cloth or cotton ball with rubbing alcohol.
  2. Gently blot the stained area, being careful not to scrub.
  3. Continue blotting until the ink starts to lift.
  4. Rinse the garment with cold water and launder as usual.

Using Hairspray

Hairspray contains alcohol, which can help break down the ink. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Spray a small amount of hairspray directly onto the stain.
  2. Blot the area with a clean cloth or sponge.
  3. Repeat the process until the stain fades.
  4. Wash the garment as usual.

Using Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer contains alcohol, making it another effective option for removing permanent marker stains. Follow these steps:

  1. Apply a small amount of hand sanitizer to the stain.
  2. Gently rub the stain using a cloth or sponge.
  3. Rinse the garment with cold water.
  4. Launder the item as usual.

Using Vinegar

Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent that can help eliminate permanent marker stains. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Create a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water.
  2. Soak the stained area in the vinegar solution for 15 minutes.
  3. Blot the stain with a clean cloth or sponge.
  4. Rinse the garment with cold water and wash normally.

Using Dish Soap and Baking Soda

Dish soap and baking soda form a powerful stain-fighting combination. Follow these steps:

  1. Make a paste by mixing dish soap and baking soda.
  2. Apply the paste to the stain and gently rub it in.
  3. Let the paste sit for 15 minutes.
  4. Rinse the garment with cold water and wash as usual.

Using Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a natural bleaching agent that can help fade permanent marker stains. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto the stained area.
  2. Gently rub the stain with a cloth or sponge.
  3. Allow the garment to sit in direct sunlight for a few hours.
  4. Launder the item as usual.

Using Commercial Stain Removers

There are various commercial stain removers available on the market specifically designed to remove ink stains. Follow the instructions provided with the product for best results.

Additional Tips to Remove Stubborn Stains

  • If the stain persists after one attempt, repeat the chosen method or try an alternative method.
  • Avoid using heat, such as a dryer, as it may set the stain permanently.
  • Consider seeking professional help for delicate fabrics or valuable clothing items.


Removing permanent marker stains from clothes can be challenging, but with the right techniques, it’s possible to restore your garments to their original state. Remember to act quickly, test methods on a small area, and follow the outlined steps for the best results. By taking proper precautions and using effective stain removal methods, you can save your clothes from the clutches of permanent marker stains.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use rubbing alcohol on all types of fabrics?

Rubbing alcohol is generally safe for most fabrics. However, it’s always recommended to test a small, inconspicuous area before proceeding.

Will vinegar bleach or discolor my clothes?

Vinegar is considered a natural bleaching agent, but when used in moderation, it should not cause discoloration. Again, testing on a small area is recommended.

Can I remove permanent marker stains from dry-clean-only clothes?

It’s best to leave the stain removal process to professionals when dealing with delicate or dry-clean-only fabrics.

What if the stain doesn’t come out completely?

If the stain persists, repeat the chosen method or consider seeking professional assistance for stubborn stains.

Are there any preventive measures to avoid permanent marker stains?

To prevent permanent marker stains, exercise caution while using permanent markers and place a protective layer between the fabric and the surface where you’re working.

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