How to Remove Sharpie Ink From Clothing

by Kimbry Parker ; Updated September 28, 2017

Remove Sharpie ink from clothing promptly for best results.

marker image by Rich Johnson from Fotolia.com

If Sharpie ink gets on clothing, don’t throw out the garment without first attempting stain removal. Although Sharpie is considered a permanent marker, the stain on your clothing does not have to be. Remove Sharpie ink from clothing quickly and successfully with the proper products and methods. Common household products will remove Sharpie ink from clothing.

Dab the stain with clean paper towels. Blot the stain carefully and do not rub or the ink may spread. Continue blotting, switching to clean portions of the paper towel, until no more ink transfers to the paper towel. This part of the process is only necessary for fresh Sharpie stains.

Place the ink-stained part of the clothing face down on a layer of clean paper towels. This will allow you to work from the backside of the stain, forcing it out of the clothing.

Saturate a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol. Sponge the alcohol onto the area around the Sharpie stain. Apply more alcohol to the cotton ball and sponge it directly onto the stain.

Continue blotting the marker stain with the alcohol-soaked cotton ball. Switch to a clean cotton ball with more alcohol as one becomes soiled with marker. Repeat this step until no more marker is transferring to the cotton balls.

Rinse the clothing with plain water. Apply a laundry pre-treatment spray, and launder the clothing as usual. Inspect the clothing for any traces of the marker prior to placing it in the dryer. Do not dry the item if any stain remains. The heat from the dryer will set in the stain.

Apply a lubricating spray if the marker stain is still present. Lay the stained area of the clothing face down on paper towels. Spray the marker stain liberally with the lubricating spray. Blot the area with a clean paper towel until no more marker transfers. Launder the clothing as usual. Repeat this process if the marker is still present after washing.


  • Always test the product you are using on a small, inconspicuous area of the clothing prior to applying it to a more noticeable area. If you do not have rubbing alcohol, use hairspray instead.

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About the Author

Kimbry Parker has been writing since 1998 and has published content on various websites. Parker has experience writing on a variety of topics such as health, parenting, home improvement and decorating. She is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication.