How to Clean “Permanent” Marker

pink permanent marker on a white shirt.

Last Updated: May 2, 2024

Permanent markers have gotten very popular because they can be used on a variety of surfaces. To that end, it is no surprise that permanent marker stains can be found on virtually any surface! Don’t let the word “permanent” scare you away from cleaning any permanent marker stains, though! There are several different ways to clean permanent marker off of various surfaces, and Molly Maid will tell you how!

How to Clean Permanent Marker Off Of Various Surfaces

White Fabric

Permanent marker stain on white fabric.

This one is simple. Wash it with bleach or rub bleach on the stain. Voila!

Other Fabric (Non-White Clothing, Furniture, etc.)

There are several products for removing permanent marker stains from fabric. Most of which you probably already have in your home. Try citrus fruit (lemon, orange, or lime), rubbing alcohol, distilled white vinegar, or hand sanitizer. But pick one; don’t mix them all together!

When using any of these options, pick just one and apply it to a cotton ball or a clean cloth (preferably microfiber). Pat and dab until the stain is gone. Easy!


Walls are one of the most common areas for permanent marker stains! Hello, got kids? To clean walls, try using either aerosol hairspray or toothpaste (non-gel, the white pasty kind). Apply to a clean cloth and rub it gently on the stain. Warning, don’t rub too hard or you’ll risk removing paint from the wall.

Leather (Clothing or Furniture)

Permanent marker stain on leather couch.

Cleaning leather is a two-step process. First, apply a cleaner to the surface as soon as you identify the stain. Distilled white vinegar or aerosol hairspray could be used to clean leather surfaces. Get a clean cloth and dab the solution onto the stain. (If you are using aerosol hairspray, you can spray it directly onto the stain.)

Secondly, after cleaning the stain, use leather conditioner on the cleaned area. This is very important as distilled white vinegar or aerosol hairspray can dry out (and potentially crack) your beautiful leather.


Permanent marker stains on carpet can be removed with either a non-oil based hairspray or rubbing alcohol. Apply either to the stained carpet and blot with a clean cloth. Once the stain has been removed, apply water to the area to remove any remains of the stain remover.

Microfiber Furniture

You would think getting permanent marker stains out of microfiber furniture would be difficult but not with this two-step process! First, pour a bit of hydrogen peroxide onto a dry cloth and scrub the stained area. Secondly, take some rubbing alcohol on a separate dry cloth and scrub the stain again. This one-two punch should be able to knock that stain right out!

Plastic (Toys, furniture, etc.)

Person in blue rubber gloves cleaning marker stains off plastic toys.

There are a variety of different ways to remove permanent marker stains from plastic. You can try either a dry-erase marker, rubbing alcohol, or even a pencil eraser! This comes in handy when toys get marked up!

Contact Your Local Molly Maid for Professional Cleaning Services

For more tips, feel free to check out other permanent marker cleaning ideas on Pinterest. Removing permanent marker stains may be a pain, but cleaning the house shouldn’t be. Contact your local Molly Maid for to request a free estimate for our professional cleaning services