How to Remove Permanent Marker Stains from OilCloth Vinyl


Maria asked: How do I remove permanent marker stains from oilcloth? We have an oilcloth covering our kitchen table. It’s mostly white and our son drew on it using permanent marker. How can I get it off? Thanks!

Today’s oilcloth is a vinyl material on top of a cotton mesh. To remove the stains, we follow the same procedures as removing permanent marker from vinyl.

You Will Need:

  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Plain white toothpaste
  • Nail polish remover
  • Mild detergent
  • Soft cloths or sponge
  • Cotton balls

Steps to Remove the Marker:

*Always test a small hidden area first to ensure the cleaning product does not remove any color or designs on the oilcloth.

  1. Begin with the easiest fix, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, if it is available. Simply moisten the sponge and gently scrub the area.
  2. If the stain still remains, moisten a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover. Rub it over the stain until it is removed.
  3. If another method is needed, try spreading plain, white toothpaste over the stain. Let it set for a few minutes and then wipe away.
  4. This may require a couple of repeated applications before the stain is completely gone.
  5. Once the stain is gone, clean the area using a soft cloth moistened with water and a mild detergent.
  6. Rinse with clean water and soft cloth.
  7. Allow the area to dry completely.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • Some have had success using WD-40. Simply spray it on the marker and wipe it away. Clean the area with a mild detergent and rinse with clean water.
  • Ensure that all cleaning products are completely removed before using the oilcloth again (especially if it is used as a tablecloth).


  1. Mum driven mad by graphite pencil stains says:

    My son sharpened a pencil that left dust from the sharpenings completely ingrained in our oil cloth tablecloth… I scrubbed with hot soapy water to no avail (probably making it go even deeper?). The magic marker had no impact and as the WD-40 was in the garage, I tried some plain vegetable oil, which lifted the stain completely and quickly… Amazing! – Not something I would have thought to try! He also got the same grubby smears all over a plastic table mat – I even used neat bleach on that to get the stain off and there was no difference. Vegetable oil rose to the challenge again – we were amazed!

  2. I used the ail varnish remover tip above for stamper ink on my oil cloth and it worked a treat! Thanks! Still can’t get the plastic bag ink off of it though. The bag was wet when I put it on the oil cloth and now I have the brand of a famous supermaket on my oil cloth! Any tips?

  3. In past times, weavers would leave cloth out in the sun to whiten it. Sunlight is a very effective bleach for most organic stains. I have successfully used it to remove curry stains (cummin) and ball point pen marks from an oilcloth table cover.

  4. Chris G. says:

    I tried all above methods for curry on oil cloth. Finally found success by combining Crest Tarter Protection Regular Paste with the light from my iPhone since it was night. I rubbed right away.

Leave a Comment