Valerie asked: I need to remove black permanent marker from the brim of a baseball cap. My daughter made a small circle and blacked it out on the brim of my fiancé’s favorite baseball cap. I need to remove this stain immediately.
Permanent marker stains are difficult to tackle because there is no one single way to remove them. There are many factors that affect the chances of a successful removal. These include the type of fabric, the type of marker, the length of time the stain has been in place and any previous removal methods attempted. Washing the stain without treating it may set the stain, so it is always best to take some action first. Here are a variety of methods that have been used to successfully remove marker stains. Try one or try them all until your stain is removed.
You Will Need:
- Cleaning solution (choose one):
- Rubbing alcohol
- Nail polish remover
- Hand sanitizer
- Hair spray
- Cotton balls
- Soft cloths
Steps to Remove the Marker:
- If the marker is on a piece of clothing, place the clothing face down onto a towel. This will allow you to push the stain out from the surface of the fabric and onto the towel, rather than having to push the stain all the way through the fabric to remove it. If that’s not possible, such as for upholstery, use a lifting blot motion to work on the surface of the stain and pull it out.
- Moisten a soft cloth or cotton ball with a small amount of rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover. If you don’t have either of those, hair spray or hand sanitizer can be used instead as they contain a high amount of alcohol. Test the cleaning solution on a small hidden area of the fabric to look for any adverse reaction.
- If the cleaning solution is safe for your fabric, blot it on the stain (or pour a small amount through the fabric if it is lying face down on a towel).
- Allow the rubbing alcohol/nail polish remover to set for a minute, then blot with a clean cloth. As you see the marker transferring to the cloth, switch to a clean area of the cloth to avoid reapplying the stain.
- Continue blotting until no more marker transfers.
- Repeat applications and blotting until the marker is removed.
- Once the stain is gone, launder the piece as usual. If the piece cannot be laundered, rinse by blotting the area with clean water.
- Blot with a dry cloth and allow it to dry completely.
Additional Tips and Advice
- There are a variety of other stain treatments that people have had success with. These include Spot Shot, Dawn Power Dissolver, Mr. Clean Multi-Surface Cleaner, Tide and Spray ‘n Wash. Again, it may take several applications/soakings and washings to finally remove all of the ink.
- If using nail polish remover, choose a brand that does not have any added coloring. This will avoid adding dye to the fabric and causing another stain.
- Some permanent marker stains can be removed with no treatments. Simply add one cup of salt to the washing machine (do not add detergent) and run through a normal wash cycle. If the garment can stand hot water, use the hottest temperature available.
- WD-40 can be used for a variety of stain removal including permanent marker. Apply some WD-40 to the marker stain, let it set, then blot with a clean cloth.
- One site user wrote in to say they had success removing permanent marker by soaking the fabric in milk.
- If the stain absolutely cannot be removed with any of the above methods, you can always remove all dye from the item (along with the stain) using Rit Color Remover and re-dye the garment a new color.
- Natural Stain Removal Secrets by Deborah L. Martin
- Don Aslett’s Stainbuster’s Bible by Don Aslett