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How to Remove Permanent Marker From Clothes

Updated on September 26, 2012
Don't panic. You CAN remove permanent marker from clothes.
Don't panic. You CAN remove permanent marker from clothes. | Source

Typical scenario:

You look up and realize your kid has a permanent marker and is decorating his clothes, your clothes and possibly, the furniture too. You panic, take the marker away, and search the internet for ways to remove permanent maker from clothes. Here is a quick solution that is very effective, takes just a few minutes, and most people have the materials to remove the stain in their homes.


  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Paper Towels or White Cloth Towels
  • Cotton Balls (or more paper or cloth towels)


  1. Lay the stained clothing flat on a counter. Place several paper towels or a white towel under the portion of the clothing with the offending stain. Make sure that the stained clothing does not overlap any other part of the clothing because the stain will seep down as it comes out of the cloth.
  2. Thoroughly soak cotton balls, paper towel, or a white rag with rubbing alcohol and press down on the stain. Do not rub because you will smear and spread the stain.
  3. Continue adding more alcohol to the cotton balls and pressing the stained clothes. Move the towels under the clothing around or replace them. You will see the stain has soaked down into the towels and you don't want to accidentally stain another part of your clothes with the permanent marker that has come out of the initial stain.
  4. Hopefully the permanent marker will be completely gone at this point. However, if it isn't don't despair. Rinse the clothing in cold water and the rest of the permanent marker stain should disappear completely. If you still have a faint stain you can try repeating the process with diluted white vinegar or use a commercial spray-and-wash to finish removing the permanent marker stain.
  5. Wash the clothing as you normally due in your washing machine, but check to make sure the permanent marker stain is completely gone before placing the clothing in the dryer. If there is still a faint stain repeat the process of pressing the stain with rubbing alcohol or diluted vinegar until it is completely removed.


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