Erase these stubborn stains

Whether you have a budding artist with a wandering hand or a pile of dress shirts with ink stains claiming the corner of your closet, there is no reason to start repainting surfaces or throwing out clothes. Some common household items can remove marker or ink from any surface.

So you just found a little masterpiece on your bedroom wall or an "I love you" note written on your favorite tablecloth? No need to panic. Follow these steps to remove marker or ink from just about anything it touches.

Step 1: Don't rub it in

Whether it is on the floor, the wall or your clothes, do not rub at the stain in an attempt to remove it.

Step 2: Get to work right away

As soon as you notice the stain, gather your materials according to what the stain has affected:


White vinegar and a bath towel

Wall or flooring

Whitening toothpaste, hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle, plus a hand towel


Hand sanitizer and a hand towel

Step 3: Start removing your stain


This may be scary (and a little smelly), but drench the stain in white vinegar. Once you have thoroughly soaked the stain, cover it with your bath towel and blot by pressing firmly onto the stain with your towel -- do not rub! You should see the ink or marker from your carpet begin to lift and seep into the towel. Repeat and repeat and repeat until the stain is fully lifted.

Wall or flooring

Try toothpaste first, as it will be most gentle on your surfaces. Apply directly onto your hand towel and gently rub stain in a circular motion. If this is not working, turn to the hand sanitizer and do the same. The hand sanitizer works on most surfaces, but if it does not, lightly spray with rubbing alcohol and dab out stain.


Try soaking your clothing in ice-cold water first. If this does not work, head for the hand sanitizer. Squirt some sanitizer onto a hand towel and begin gently rubbing into your clothing in a circular motion. It may take a while, but the stain should slowly lift. Make sure to rotate your hand towel, continuously using clean portions; be careful not to spread the ink or marker you have already removed back onto your clothing.

Step 4: Finish up


Now that the stain is gone, your carpet will be damp and likely not smell strongly of vinegar. If you have a steam vacuum, this is your best option for removing the vinegar and dampness. If not, try a wet/dry vac. You can use cold water with a bit of lemon juice to dampen the area again and suck up the moisture with the wet/dry vac. If you don't have a steam vacuum or wet/dry vac, spray water with a bit of the juice from a lemon mixed in over the area and continue to soak up the excess moisture with a towel, then face a fan towards the area until dry.

Wall or flooring

If you used toothpaste, your wall or floor may be left with a bit of a film -- just wipe it clean with a warm cloth. If you used hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol, you should not see any remnants of either, but it wouldn't hurt to run a warm cloth over the area.


Once you are sure the stain is completely removed, you can wash as usual. Just to be safe, spray a bit of your favorite stain spray on the area to make sure you haven't missed a mark.

More on stain removal

How to remove wine stains
How to remove oil stains
How to get crayon stains out of washable fabric



Comments on "How to remove marker and ink"

Nathan August 20, 2013 | 10:20 PM

This saved my life i spilled ink all over my wall right before bed im 12 so got school it was blue and it was all over my wall and my dad was outside my door but didnt see the ink yet so siad goodnight and turned off my lights and closed my door then when he left i turned the lights on and looked at it and it would not come off so i looked up stuff on my ipad and found this so i had hand sanatizer right next to my bed (dont know why) and i tried it and it worked i thought that that was my last night being alive THANKYOU!!!!

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