As a parent of small children, it is inevitable that one day you might find more than scatter cushions on your couch.
If your little ones have been left alone with their coloring-in pens, you may have found their wonderful artworks have graduated from the paper to your beloved couch.
Finding a marker pen mark on your cushions or couch doesn’t spell the end for your living room, as many everyday household items can easily lift a pen stain without too much effort and in the case of a permanent marker pen, there are many ways to erase all evidence that a marker ever touched your couch.
When you discover a pen ink stain on your couch or sofa, time is of the essence as the longer you leave it, the longer the ink has to set into the fabric of the upholstery, and the harder it will be to remove the stain. Many everyday household items can quickly lift or reduce a stain such as baking soda, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and even nail polish remover.
When using a new stain-removing method on any fabric or upholstery item, always check an unseen area to ensure that it doesn’t affect the fabric of your couch.
You should also check the material composition of your couch before proceeding with any cleaner which can be found on the label of your couch (usually hidden underneath the couch) or on the manufacturer’s website.
Try using one of the following methods to erase unwanted stains from fabrics and upholstery.
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Sodium Bicarbonate or baking soda is an everyday household item that can be used for more than just baking. Baking soda is effective due to its mild abrasive nature and it can dissolve organic matter, lift grease and break down stains.
Using baking soda you can remove the marker pen quickly and effectively by following these steps:
- Before using baking soda on your couch or other upholstery, test an inconspicuous area by rubbing a small amount of baking soda on the fabric and testing that it does not affect the fabric.
- Next, sprinkle a generous amount of dry baking soda over the stain, and with a soft-bristled brush gently rub it over the ink stain. Make sure not to rub too hard otherwise you may damage the fibers of your couch.
- Once you have treated the stain use your vacuum to pick up the loose baking soda powder and check on the ink stain. The ink should have dramatically faded, if not completely disappeared.
- If it is still there you can use the baking soda again or move on to a different method.
White vinegar is very effective at cleaning stains as it is a diluted solution of acetic acid. As it has been diluted it is safe to use around the house and of course, many people have it in their homes as a condiment.
You can use white vinegar intended for food use in two ways as outlined below.
Pour a small amount of white vinegar onto a cleaning cloth and dab or gently wipe the ink stain. You should see the ink start to lift and transfer to the cloth.
However, if the ink stain has set into the fabric and the vinegar alone is not working you can try using the following vinegar solution.
- Prepare the vinegar solution by mixing 2 cups of cold water with 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 tablespoon of dish soap.
- Gently dip a cleaning cloth in the solution and apply it directly to the stain.
- You can leave a small amount of the solution on the stain to work for a few minutes before wiping it away with a clean dry cloth.
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Rubbing alcohol is also very effective at removing stains from a couch or any other upholstery item pesky ink stains have found themselves. Rubbing alcohol can also be found in many everyday household items such as nail polish remover, hand sanitizer, and hair spray.
When using liquid rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover:
- Using a cotton swab take a small amount of the rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover and carefully dab at the stain. A cotton swab will help prevent the stain from transferring to other areas.
- Once the cotton swab has absorbed the ink, swap for a new one and continue dabbing the stain until the ink has been removed.
- Don’t overwork the stain as this can push the ink further into the fabric, and make sure you use dabbing motions rather than rubbing so the ink lifts away from the fabric.
When using hair-spray
Hair spray is great at treating larger stains as you can spray it on and leave it to work its magic. When using hair spray make sure you use one that contains alcohol otherwise you will just be left with a damp sticky stain.
- Spray the hairspray over the stain making sure that it is fully covered.
- Leave the hairspray to break down the ink for a few minutes before using an absorbent cleaning cloth to dab at the stain.
- The hairspray should have broken down the ink stain making it easy for you to dab it away. If it is a particularly stubborn stain you can gently rub the fabric with a soft-bristled brush while dabbing in between.
A Magic Eraser sponge is a white rectangle sponge that you can buy in most hardware stores, Target, Walgreens, and dollar stores. It has many uses around the house to remove stains on fabrics, walls, and shoes.
You can use the sponge wet or dry depending on the type of surface you are cleaning.
- For ink stains on a couch or sofa, the best way to use the Magic Eraser Sponge is to dampen the sponge first with a little cold water.
- Carefully dab the affected area with the sponge and hopefully, the ink will lift onto the sponge and leave your couch looking spotless again.
Magic Eraser Sponges are great to have around the house and can be used to remove small scuffs on paintwork and stubborn scuffs on the tops of white shoes.
The majority of children’s coloring pens are water-based allowing them to easily be cleaned away from clothes, couches, and walls. However what happens if they have managed to get their hands on a permanent marker pen and have decided to decorate your couch with it?
Fear not, a permanent marker pen isn’t as permanent as you may think.
Using a solution of baking soda and white toothpaste you can lift the ink of a permanent marker pen by following these steps:
- Mix together 1 teaspoon of white toothpaste with 1 teaspoon of baking soda and mix well to form a paste.
- Apply the paste over the stain and using a soft-bristled brush, like a toothbrush, gently scrub the paste over the stain.
- Leave the paste to sit on top of the stain for a few minutes as this will give the agents in the toothpaste and baking soda time to break down the ink.
- Clean away the paste with clean cold water and allow the area to dry. The stain should have lifted or become a lot lighter.
- If the stain is still visible but has become lighter you can apply more paste and follow the above steps again.
Stain Removing Products
There are many stain-removing products on the market designed to remove everyday stains from the household.
Products such as Tide To Go pens, Goo Gone, and Lift Off Stain Remover are designed specifically for removing ink stains from a variety of fabrics and are available in supermarkets and hardware stores.
When using store-bought products make sure you read the label before you buy them to make sure they are suitable to be used in the fabric of your couch and then make sure to follow the instructions listed on the back of the product for the best results.
Many of these methods are brilliant for removing tough pen and ink stains from couches, cushions, curtains, and even carpets and many of the methods include using everyday household items most people have in their cupboards and pantry.
These tips are also great for removing or reducing other everyday stains such as ketchup, red wine, chocolate, and water-based paint from upholstery and furniture, so if you have found this article helpful it might be worth saving for treating other stains around the house.
To protect your couch from future stains you can also treat the fabric with an upholstery fabric stain repellant that will stop stains from setting into the fibers of the fabric and make it easier to clean.
Buying a couch that has stain repellant built into the fibers is also a great idea for preventing everyday accidents from ruining your expensive furniture and will make it easier to clean if there is a spillage or an ink stain appears.
Last update on 2023-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API