10 Tips to Remove Permanent Marker Stains Throughout the Home
Get Those Marker Stains Gone

There are all sorts of reasons why you might end up with permanent marker stains somewhere that they shouldn’t be. You might have overly creative kids, an unsteady hand or it might even just be an accident, and those pens can end up just about anywhere. Fortunately, just because they might say ‘permanent’ on the label does not mean that those marks and stains are there to stay. Indeed, there’s often a solution for everything. So, before you consign something to the bin or head online for a replacement, give one of these 10 great tips a go.

1. Try Vegetable Oil on Countertops

Countertops rank surprisingly high on the list of places that end up with permanent marker on them that perhaps shouldn’t have. It can make for a stressful situation too, as the kitchen counter surface isn’t something that you can just change or replace on a whim. Fortunately, permanent marker and laminate do mix, and water won’t do the trick – but vegetable oil just might. Apply some of it to a kitchen towel and place it over the stain, and leave it for a few minutes. Use a separate sheet of kitchen paper to wipe the stain in a circular motion, and finish it off with a wet cloth.

2. Use an Alcoholic Hairspray on Clothing Stains

Cleaning might not necessarily be the first thing to come to mind when we think of alcohol, but it has made its presence known within various features throughout the site that have something to do with cleaning or stain removal. If you end up with a permanent marker stain on an item of clothing and happen to have a hairspray that contains alcohol to hand, give it a go to treat the stain directly. Let the hairspray sit on the stain for a few minutes and then wash the item of clothing as normal. It is not a sure-fire hit, but it is worth a try if you’d rather avoid throwing out the item of clothing.

3. Use Baking Soda on Upholstery

Baking soda is just as popular as alcohol in our cleaning features, if not more so, and it is worth keeping in the cupboard for the purpose of stain removal even if you never use it for cooking. You’ll have a great chance of success if you leave baking soda on any stains on upholstered furniture for a few minutes, before scrubbing it away with an old toothbrush. If it doesn’t work immediately, then repeat the process as the stain will soon be gone.

4. Grab Lemon Oil for Painted Walls

We mentioned that kids could be the reason why permanent marker stains end up where they shouldn’t be, and they seem to have a habit of seeing walls as a blank canvas. It can be hugely frustrating to come in to unexpectedly, but there is no need to panic. Grab some lemon essential oil and wipe down the stains – the cleaning properties get the job done without any impact on the paint.

5. Vinegar Works on Leather

If you have a leather sofa rather than an upholstered one, or indeed any other leather items in the home, then white vinegar is your friend when it comes to stain removal – permanent markers included. The vinegar works best when left to treat the stain for a few minutes and then you’ll just need to use a damp cloth. Wipe it off with circular motions and the stain will come away with the vinegar.

6. Fix Whiteboard Mistakes

If you’ve ever used a whiteboard and never been in the unfortunate position of using a permanent marker rather than its whiteboard equivalent, then you can count yourself lucky! Fortunately, the whiteboard doesn’t need to go in the bin if you do something a little too permanent, and this is actually potentially the easiest clean-up process of all. Simply colour over the permanent marker stain with a whiteboard marker and wipe it off – the added ink should pull both from the surface.

7. Use Makeup Removal Wipes on Skin

You’ve probably got permanent marker on your hands at some point in your life, and you’ll know by now that it is anything but permanent – although it can take a good few days to wear off completely. If you’d prefer to get rid of it in a more timely manner, standard makeup removal wipes will get the job done with minimal fuss.

8. Get Marker Off Carpets with Nail Polish Remover

You’ll have noticed throughout this feature and beyond here at 10 Tips that we’re big fans of using household items potentially for purposes other than those for which they were intended, and nail polish remover will get the job done if you happen to get marker on your carpets. Use a cloth to dab the polish remover on the stain – under no circumstances should you pour it on or smear it in any way and it is hugely important to be careful on this one to protect the carpet. When the stain appears to be on the way out, switch to a clean, damp cloth to remove any residue.

9. Hand Sanitizer will Remove Marker from Plastic

Unlike many of the other tips in this feature, it may not be an accident when you get marker pen on plastic. They are handy to label tubs and containers, but you might not want to commit to keeping the same things in a tub every time. Fortunately, hand sanitizer will remove anything that you have written on the tubs with a marker pen, and you’re then free to relabel them as you see fit.

10. Use Toothpaste on Wood

Our final tip covers any finished or painted wood surfaces in the home. If you find yourself with permanent marker stains on wood, you’ll need to reach for the Colgate or any other favourite brand. Crucially, you need to avoid any funny business with your toothpaste of choice – no gel, whitening, triple-action or anything like that – just standard, white toothpaste. Apply it to a cloth and use the trusty circular motion to draw the stain out of the wood, and it will look as good as new in no time.