Ahh, the permanent marker: hated by moms everywhere for its ability for mass destruction. One rogue flip of the cap and your carpet, upholstery, clothes, toys and even vehicle looks like it’s been destroyed. But fear not! There is hope if you’ve had a run in with a permanent marker. Before you go having a panic attack, try some of these simple cleaning tips for getting that marker off your stuff, hopefully permanently.


1. Wood Floors Or Furniture

If you’ve got a rogue artist who can’t stay on the paper, much less the lines and somehow they’ve decided the permanent marker is their marker of choice, you may have found some on your nice wood table or floor. Use some non-gel toothpaste and spread over the markings, then scrub off with a cloth after it’s marinatedย for a few minutes. This may take several applications but I can personally attest that it works! You can also try rubbing alcohol or peanut butter, and be sure to move those permanent markers up high!


2. Walls

Most children think your walls are a canvas at least one point in their lives. When that happens, try using some toothpaste (non-gel), some aerosol hairspray (try a test spot to make sure it doesn’t remove your sheen if you have it) and even a Mr. Clean Magic eraser. For the toothpaste and hairspray, let them penetrate the area before using a cloth and scrubbing off. This may take several applications.

3. Clothing

Hate stains on your clothing? Marker is the worst because it was probably avoidable! Before attempting to remove a stain, put a towel between the two sides of your garment, so the stain doesn’t bleed onto the other side during the removal process. Then lightly dab one of these potential stain removers onto your fabric: hand sanitizer, WD-40, aerosol hairspray, white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, cream of tartar or lemon juice. Be sure not to rub in because your fabric will absorb the stain even more, just blot on then use a clean rag to blot off before washing in your machine.

4. Plastic (Such As Toy Baby Dolls)

Sometimes kids get their hands on a marker and proceed to draw a new mustache on baby dolls or other action figures. Try spraying with Lysol and letting it sit before wiping off. You can also use some baking soda and water, make a paste and smear on. Then scrub off. Other potential cleaners? Sunscreen (I know, right?!), rubbing alcohol, pencil eraser, Goo-Gone and rubbing alcohol.

5. White Erase Boards

It’s totally understandable that one could accidentally grab the wrong marker when rushing to write down a message on the family white board. Before you do anything, take your dry erase marker and then write over the permanent markings. Then erase as usual. If you have a really stubborn marking, then try using nail polish remover. Use in a small spot, in case it ends up removing some of the finish.

6. Carpet

As if your carpets aren’t stained enough, now you have permanent marker on them! Never fear, white distilled vinegar is here! Or rubbing alcohol or aerosol hairspray. Follow the same method of blotting as you do for clothing, and your stain should come up after a few applications.

7. Computer or Flat Screens

I can think of few more expensive uh-oh’s than “coloring” on a TV or computer screen. Try a baby wipe to gently remove marker, and if that doesn’t work then give good ole toothpaste a try, wiping off with a clean cloth.

8. Stainless Steel

Don’t cry over your pretty refrigerator being ruined just yet. Try some dry erase markers, toothpaste or rubbing alcohol to get rid of those permanent marker stains!



Karly Wood

Karly Wood

Editor at HomeLife Media
I'm a born and bred Southern California native and currently the editor of both LifeAsMama.com and TheDailyPositive.com. I get to share my life with my husband of 12 years and our beautiful, 4-year old daughter. In my free time you'll catch me cheering for the Dodgers, cooking, baking, reading, crafting and probably watching a little HGTV!