How to Remove Sharpie Marker

Sharpies are the perfect go-to marker for labeling moving boxes, long-term storage containers and even clothing tags. Specifically formulated dyes and surfactants go into the coloring of a sharpie which make it fade-resistant and extremely adherent. However, that same permanence can become a nightmare within moments if the ink gets onto a surface that it shouldn’t such as your clothes, blankets, the walls, your furniture etc. It happens to the best of us, we drop a sharpie without its cap and it hits your sleeve or your brand new shoes leaving a very obvious stain. But, the permanence of these markers can be debated as long as you know which stain remover to use and how.

Here’s how best to remove Sharpie marks from your clothes. 

First off, you always want to dab the area gently with your remover and be patient! Hard rubbing and scrubbing will only force the ink deeper into your clothing.

Rubbing Alcohol – a robust household cleaner you can use on everything from leather furniture to granite countertops.

  • Dip a clean sponge in rubbing alcohol, wring it out so it doesn’t drip and dab the area gently from the outside in, this helps prevent the stain from spreading.
  • Use the whole sponge, switch which part of the sponge you’re using frequently so you don’t transfer the ink back to your clothes.
  • Rinse your sponge and use fresh rubbing alcohol after a while to ensure potency.

Hairspray – alcohol based, aerosol hairsprays can break down sharpie stains the same way rubbing alcohol can.

  • Keeping the hairspray a few inches from the stain, spray liberally over the entire stain (you really want to soak the stain so don’t be shy about it!)
  • Let it set for about 5-7 mins and then gently dab with a paper towel to absorb the spray and ink stain.
  • Repeat this process until the ink has been removed, when you’re done simply throw your clothes in the washer.

Nail Polish Remover – the secret ingredient here is the acetone, which is a powerful stain remover and can quickly attack marker stains on many fabrics.

  • Dip a cotton ball in nail polish remover and squeeze out the excess, dab the ball directly on the stain, switch out for a clean cotton ball as often as needed.
  • Repeat until the stain is removed, wash your clothes when finished to remove the acetone residue.

Recommended for thicker fabrics and light jackets because of the strength of acetone, avoid light linens.

Hand Sanitizer – there’s no shortage of sanitizer lately thanks to the pandemic and fortunately it has more uses than just cleaning your hands. In a pinch, it’s likely going to be the most prevalent cleaner you can find.

  • Liberally cover the stain in sanitizer and gently spread to cover the stained area, but no scrubbing!
  • Let it sit for about 15 minutes to allow sanitizer to dissolve the stain, then dab away the excess.
  • Repeat until the stain is no longer visible.

Even though the sanitizer will evaporate, other ingredients will stain your clothing. It’s best to rinse or wash your clothing immediately after.

Distilled White Vinegar– this all natural, eco-friendly cleaner contain robust natural enzymes that make it one of the best all-around cleaning, sanitizing and stain removing agents available.

  • Mix 1 tbsp. of dish soap and 1 tbsp. of DWV with 2 cups of cold water.
  • Using a clean sponge, dab the marker stain with your cleaning solution. Let it rest for 1-2 minutes before starting again.
  • Repeat until the stain is gone.
  • Use a paper towel to soak up excess cleaner and through your clothes in the washer when finished.

Thanks so much for reading! If you’ve got additional cleaning tips you’d like to add then drop them in the comments below! Find us on Facebook! If you’ve ever thought about using a cleaning service, give us a call at 321-348-7474 and we’ll be happy to give you a free, no obligation quote!