How To Get Sharpie Out of Clothing

Sharpies, or permanent markers, are in almost every house and are used for so many reasons. My own house is littered with them (I just counted 9). However, one place you don’t want your Sharpie to end up leaving its mark is on your clothing. So how to get Sharpie out of clothing? If a Sharpie stain does end up on your clothes, there are a few ways to get it off.

To get Sharpie out of clothing, first, consider what kind of material your clothing is. Based on the material, use rubbing alcohol, milk, hand sanitizer, hairspray, or nail polish remover to lift the Sharpie stain. You can also use a spot remover made specifically to remove Sharpie.

Read on to explore a variety of methods that you can use to get sharpie out of clothing. Be careful to match the method you choose to the clothing material to avoid damaging your clothes! 

How To Get Sharpie Out of Clothing Method #1 Rubbing Alcohol 

Materials this method works on: silk, polyester, cotton, and linen. You should avoid using rubbing alcohol on leather as it may be too harsh and break down the material.

You likely have rubbing alcohol in your medical kit. Reach for it when you find a Sharpie stain on your clothes. To get sharpie out of clothing using rubbing alcohol, follow these steps:

  1. Lay your clothing out flat with the stain facing upwards.
  2. Lay some paper towels over the stain.
  3. Dip a sponge or clean cloth in rubbing alcohol. 
  4. Gently dab at the stain over the paper towel. You will see the stain transfer to the paper towel as you dab. 
  5. Change the paper towel and continue to dab until the stain is gone. 
  6. Wash the clothing in a washing machine or per the manufacturer’s directions. 

how to get permanent marker out of clothes Method # 2: Nail Polish Remover 

Materials this method works on: silk, polyester, cotton, and linen. You should avoid using rubbing alcohol on leather as it may be too harsh and break down the material.

If you don’t have rubbing alcohol on hand, you can try using nail polish remover to lift the stain as an alternative. Because of its acetone content, nail polish remover can be used to remove a variety of stains on several surfaces. 

Simply immerse a cotton ball in nail polish remover and use it to dab at the stain. Switch to a new cotton ball once the stain begins to transfer. 

how to get permanent marker off fabric Method #3: Milk 

Fabrics this method works on: You can use this method with most synthetic fabrics, including nylon, polyester, and rayon. You can also use milk to remove stains on cotton. However, you shouldn’t use the milk method with more delicate materials like silk or leather. 

You can also find a powerful weapon against Sharpie stains in your fridge! Enzymes in milk break down the stain while also being gentle on the cloth. Here’s how to use milk to get Sharpie out of clothing:

  1. Place the garment in a large bowl. 
  2. Fill the bowl with milk and gently immerse the garment in it. 
  3. Cover the bowl and leave the piece of clothing to soak overnight. 
  4. If the stain remains after an overnight soak, refresh the milk and leave the clothes to soak another night. 
  5. Gently wring out your garment and run it under cold water. 
  6. Then, launder your garment as advised. 

This is an excellent way to lift other stains from your clothing and soften the fabric. 

Don’t forget to discard the milk after you use it—you don’t want someone drinking it by mistake! 

Method #4 Distilled White Vinegar

Another stain remover most people have in their kitchen is distilled white vinegar. White vinegar is an excellent cleaning agent for cleaning cloth, floors, and counters. Here’s how to use it as a stain remover: 

  1. Immerse a clean sponge or cloth with vinegar. 
  2. Gently dab at the stain until it begins to lift. 
  3. Allow the garment to dry, and then gently dab at it with a damp cloth to clean off any vinegar residue.

You can use distilled white vinegar on almost all materials, including the following:

  • Leather
  • Polyester
  • Cotton
  • Satin 

Instead of using a cloth, you can also spray white vinegar directly onto the material. 

Method #5: Toothpaste and Baking Soda

Baking soda is another great household cleaning agent. Baking soda can dissolve various organic and inorganic compounds and is especially effective at removing dirt and grease. When you combine baking soda with a non-gel toothpaste, you can use it to lift Sharpie stains. 

Here’s how to use baking soda and toothpaste to get Sharpie out of clothing:

  1. Mix the baking soda with toothpaste, folding in enough baking soda to create a thick paste. 
  2. Dab the mixture onto the Sharpie stain. 
  3. Allow the paste to sit on the stain for a few minutes. 
  4. Clean the paste using a damp cloth. 
  5. Dab the stained area with water. 
  6. Launder the garment. You can also add an extra cup of baking soda to the washing machine.

This method is best applied to durable materials like leather, corduroy, and wool. 

how to get Sharpie out of clothing Method #6: Hairspray

If your kitchen fails you, turn to your bathroom for tools instead. If you have an alcohol-based hairspray, you may be able to use it to lift many stains. To remove a Sharpie stain with hairspray, here’s what to do: 

  1. Spray the hairspray directly onto the stain.
  2. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Dab at the stain with a cloth soaked in water. 
  4. Put the garment in the washing machine and run it on a short cycle. 

Using hairspray on synthetic materials like polyester and rayon is best. You should also use hairspray only on thick materials, as it can damage delicate fibers.

Method #7: Spot Removal Treatments

You may also choose to use a made-for-purpose spot removal treatment. These are specially designed to remove stains from fabric. Some excellent spot removers for Sharpie stains are: 

  • Amodex Ink & Stain Remover (available on Amodex can treat and remove any ink and dye-based stains. Its chief advantage is that it can be used on various fabrics. While it’s a robust and concentrated solution, it does not harm your skin.
  • Emergency Stain Rescue. This is a non-toxic stain remover that is made with a pH-neutral formula. It is highly versatile and can be used on various stains, whether they’re from food, permanent markers, dirt, or grease.

Tips To Remember When Treating Sharpie Stains

As well as choosing the right method of stain removal, a few additional tips will help you get rid of that Sharpie stain. Here’s what else you should keep in mind.

Test the Method

If your Sharpie stain is right at the front of your favorite jacket or on the knees of a pair of trousers, it’s best not to go straight in with the method of your choice. Instead, use the rubbing alcohol, milk, or other solution in an inconspicuous area first.

If the method doesn’t damage the material, go ahead and use it on the stain.

Dab, Don’t Rub

When implementing most methods, it’s important that you don’t rub at the stain. Instead, gently dab at it. Rubbing may make the stain go deeper and become harder to get out. You may also end up spreading the stain across the material. 

Dabbing will allow you to lift the stain and prevent the garment from getting ruined.

Don’t Wash the Garment Before Treating It

While it may be your first instinct to throw your clothes into the wash the minute you notice a stain, resist the temptation. Washing clothes with a regular laundry liquid and water can cause the stain to set in further. You should only wash your clothes after treating them with one of the methods above. 

Try To Treat the Stain As Soon as Possible

One of the golden rules of cleaning is to deal with all mishaps as soon as possible. This tip applies to stains as well; try to treat a Sharpie stain as soon as it happens. This allows the cleaning to break down the stain before it begins to set in.

Final Thoughts 

I hope I answered your question on how to get Sharpie out of clothing. If you accidentally get sharpie on your clothing, don’t panic. Assess the material type and use one of the methods outlined above to treat the stain as soon as possible. By following these methods, you’ll no longer have to worry about Sharpies causing your clothes permanent damage.

Joe Carrow

Reno addict, keen gardener, and baker. I  started blogging in 2012 and have been hooked ever since!

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