How to Remove Magic Marker from Leather Upholstery


Fred asked: How do I clean magic marker from white leather? My kids were marking plastic cups and got the red and green permanent marker on the leather couch. Can you help?

Permanent marker on leather is enough to make any homeowner cringe. Fortunately, permanent marker isn’t completely permanent and can be removed with the right applications. Here are several products that can be used to remove the marker from the leather surface.

You Will Need:

  • Spray on sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Acetone (nail polish remover)
  • Cotton swabs or cotton balls
  • Soft cloths

Steps to Remove the Marker:

  1. There are a variety of cleaners that will remove permanent marker. Try one from the list or work your way down until the stain is gone.
  2. Be aware that some of these products may affect the color of the leather. Test a small hidden area first to ensure the color does not fade.
  3. Spray a small amount of the chosen cleaner on the marker or apply it using a cotton ball or cotton swab.
  4. Allow the cleaner to sit on the stain for 10-15 seconds.
  5. Wipe away with a clean cloth.
  6. Repeat as necessary until the stain is completely removed.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • Some leather upholstery has a coating on it that may be affected by the cleaning products. Again, test a small, hidden area first.


  1. William says:

    Among the list of great materials to try removing the marker stain, I’d add almost any of the hand sanitizers, such as “Purell,” “Lysol Hand Gel,” “Germ-X,” etc. Use of any of these; will sanitize your hands at the same time. I find the gelled alcohol is a great solvent and easy to control where it is applied. But sure to test in an inconspicuous spot first, just as advised on the original list.

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