You may have encountered the problem of a Sharpie stain. Sharpies are a common and popular brand of permanent markers, and you may find that your children use them at school or you use them at work.
Simple and effective, they are great for use on moving boxes and jars, to notes and even dyeing clothes on purpose. They are great for posters and notes, but what about removing them from clothes?
Removing permanent marker ink or Sharpie ink from clothes can be difficult, especially if stains are aged or on light-colored clothing. There are many specific products on the market that claim to remove Sharpie stains, but many people find they don’t work or are overpriced.
Is it necessary to throw out the garment, or can they be rescued?
For those who have suffered an unfortunate spill, the good news is that many Sharpie stains can be easily rectified or at least addressed with solutions that are not only doable, but cheap and may involve ingredients you already have at home.
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What are Sharpies?
While you may have come here looking for a solution to a stain mishap, Sharpies are an example of a common brand-name usage for any permanent marker.
While you may be thinking of an actual branded Sharpie from Newell Brands, there are many permanent markers that have a similar look and feel that are colloquially called “Sharpie” or “Sharpies”. This is particularly common in the United States, but less common outside of it.
As permanent markers, Sharpies come in a very wide variety of colors, and there are numerous specialized ranges offered by the brand. Although you may be thinking of the most common black Sharpie, there are all sorts of color ranges, that are rainbow-colored but also metallic, to even glow-in-the-dark colors.
They offer a variety of nib shapes and sizes, with the range offering ultra fine, extra fine, fine, brush, chisel and retractable tips for their traditional permanent markers. They are supposedly the first permanent markers to adopt a “pen-style”, with many similar brands donning a thick rectangular base or a thicker pen that is harder to hold in an everyday setting.
Sharpie pens have even been touted as the writing utensil of choice for the ex-Commander of the International Space Station Chris Hadfield, because of the pen’s unique ability to work in zero gravity.
How to get sharpie out of shoes?
If your shoes have unfortunately gathered some Sharpie or other permanent-marker stain on them, there are a number of solutions you can try. Common household items that might help are rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, a clean cloth and cotton swabs or cotton wool balls.
Apply the rubbing alcohol gently onto the area with a cotton swab or cotton wool ball, being careful not to press the Sharpie ink through to the other side and careful not to spread the stain further.
Then dampen your clean cloth or rag, and then dab that area again with to remove the rubbing alcohol, and ideally the ink as well. Repeat this as many time as needed.
If you find the marker is still present on your shoes after a few attempts at this, then instead of applying rubbing alcohol, use some nail polish remover. Be very careful with this, as acetone can be dangerous in large amounts.
Be sure to apply it with a cotton wool ball or swab, and stay firmly away from any open flames or potential ignition sources. Gently dab the area with a wet clean cloth after you have applied the acetone, and your Sharpie stain should be firmly removed.
The acetone is a toxic and potentially dangerous chemical however, so be careful with what shoes you apply this on.
How to get sharpie out of rubber?
This applies to shoe soles, often made out of rubber too.
This one is particularly salient for anybody who purchases used shoes online or from a local store: it is common for stores to write prices or sizes on the bottom of a shoe in permanent marker or Sharpie, which can be an unattractive look for anybody conscious of this feature.
If you are just feeling embarrassed of this addition or you are planning to resell your shoes, use a unique combination to remove this from rubber.
Nail polish remover, with acetone and alcohol, is safe to use with rubber here. Gather acetone-based nail polish remover, a dryer sheet, and a cotton ball or swap.
Apply nail polish remover to the swab or cotton ball, and dab this on the applied Sharpie.
As this is rubber, and a harder material, there is less concern about rubbing the Sharpie or permanent marker ink further into the material, so you can safely apply more pressure to the material without worrying about further rubbing the ink into the surface.
Wet a dryer sheet with additional nail polish remover, being careful not to expose your hands to too much acetone (as this can have negative health effects).
Use a dryer sheet to wipe the Sharpie or permanent ink from the surface, which should come away with ease. If not, simply repeat this process, and the permanent ink should come loose over time.
How to get sharpie out of clothes?
If you have gotten Sharpie or some other permanent marker ink onto your clothes, there are some precautionary steps you should take before beginning any remedial work.
Put either an old towel, paper towels, or absorbent material you are not concerned about staining between the stain and any other layers the stain could transfer to during cleaning. For instance, if you lift the stain, it may transfer with pressure from the front pocket of a jacket to the back of a jacket during cleaning if you don’t add an absorbent layer to prevent transfer.
An important aspect of stain removal is also timeliness.
It is best to address stains as soon as possible for the best possible chance of removing the stain completely, which is why using home remedies can work best: going out to purchase or waiting to order specialist cleaning products takes time that can be used ensuring that your stain comes out as well as possible.
Additionally, avoid putting your clothes into a dryer unless you are sure the stain is totally removed, as the heat is liable to set the ink permanently into the material.
Acetone is a suitable agent for cleaning permanent ink from sturdier fabrics, so avoid using this on delicate ones like cotton. Soak a cotton ball or cotton swab in acetone, soaking it but avoiding over-logging it with the liquid.
Acetone is the main ingredient in nail polish remover, but ensure to check for other ingredients as they can interfere in the ink removal process. Alcohol, a common component, will help and is fine to include.
Dab this onto the stained area, avoiding rubbing as this can push the ink further into the material. Remove the nail polish remover from the stain with a gently dampened cloth, and then begin to add more nail polish remover and repeat, never rubbing and just dabbing the ink off.
Add more remover as needed until the stain has lifted, and after you have completed this process, flush it with water. Be sure all the ink is gone before you throw your garment into the laundry.
This can be repeated with alcohol-based hand sanitizer for materials that cannot tolerate acetone. Hand sanitizer is often diluted with water and designed to be gentle on the skin, so it can be used on materials that are less tolerable to harsh chemicals and hard alcohol-based products.
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Squeeze a small amount of alcohol onto the stain, ensuring there is an absorbent buffer behind the piece. Let a dime-sized blob sit on the stain for about 15 minutes after gently spreading it across with a cotton swab.
Dab it from the stain with a dry cotton ball, and repeat until the stain appears to be gone. After the stain and permanent marker ink is removed, flush the stain with cold water or put it in the wash.
Avoid putting it in the drier until you are certain the ink is gone, as it will set the stain permanently.
For cleaning a Sharpie stain from cotton fabrics, avoid using acetone. This step can be great for thicker and more sturdy fabrics, but for thinner and more delicate ones like cotton, it can irreparably damage the material and is not recommended.
How to clean sharpie out of leather?
For leather items, use cotton wool or swabs, an absorbent layer to prevent transfer, and a clean cloth.
There are three commonly recommended methods for removing sharpie or permanent marker from leather: distilled white vinegar, aerosol hairspray, or sunscreen. Apply your choice cleaning agent to the cotton ball, dabbing it onto the stain gently.
Use delicate force when dabbing the agent on and removing it, because too much force can work the stain further into the fibers, making the stain set in further. After it has been gently applied, blot it with a damp clean cloth to remove it.
Repeat this as many times as necessary. If the stain is not removed after a few attempts, it can be a wise decision to see a dry cleaner or professional leather worker, as untreated leather in particular can absorb stains particularly well.
Hairspray is an ideal choice for this method, but it is less suited to other thinner or more delicate fabrics than leather.
Suede leathers are generally softer and fuzzier, and are untreated which makes them more delicate to treat. Smooth, treated leathers can be treated with rubbing alcohol provided it is gently rubbed into the marker.
A magic eraser, a commonly used abrasive cleaning tool, can be useful to clean these surfaces if utilized to gently remove the marker. With treated leathers, this can potentially remove the treated coating, so use carefully and gently.
When using rubbing alcohol, only dampen a rag, avoiding too much alcohol as this could potentially hurt the hands or damage the leather. Gently dab at and wipe the Sharpie ink or permanent marker ink, lifting with a clean dry rag occasionally to avoid spreading the ink to other parts of the leather.
Continue until the marker has been removed. Once the bag is fully clean however, ensure that you retreat the leather either professionally or with a home-applied leather coating or conditioner to ensure that the health of the leather is maintained.
If you are trying to remove sharpie from suede leather, the issue is more delicate as this untreated type of leather absorbs stains readily and can be much harder to clean. Rubbing alcohol is generally helpful here, for saturating the stain and blotting it.
This is not a guaranteed method, as suede is liable to absorb the ink in a potentially permanent manner. It may spread out during cleaning, but applying rubbing alcohol gently may help.
Be sure to apply it with cotton, and gently dab so as not to encourage the ink to enter deeper into the material and fibers. As with other materials, ensure to put layers between the suede and other potentially stain-able layers if possible.
Avoid acetone, as the material being delicate means this is much more likely to destroy the material.
If you find yourself unable to remove the stain, seek professional help, as suede can be very difficult to remove from.
How to clean Sharpie out of synthetic fabric?
Synthetic fabrics benefit from the usage of the vinegar and dish soap method of removing stains. To remove a Sharpie or permanent marker stain from a synthetic fabric, you can use dish soap, white vinegar, cold water, a bowl, a clean sponge, and clean paper towels.
You should also use an absorbent layer if the garment is likely to come into contact with other materials while it is being cleaned.
Lay the absorbent material between the garments sides, and be sure that it will not become too water-logged during use so as to transfer the ink to the other side of the material during cleaning. Apply multiple layers if necessary.
Mix together a tablespoon of dish soap, a tablespoon of white distilled vinegar, and 2 cups of cold water. Stir well, and be sure not to use any other variety of vinegar, as many will impart a stain and smell that is undesirable for cleaning.
Use the clean sponge to absorb the solution, dabbing it onto the stain gently to ensure the stain is not pushed further into the fibers of the material. Apply with more solution from the sponge for a few seconds, and then apply a clean paper towel.
Wait five minutes before re-applying the solution, and repeat up to 6 times over 30 minutes, waiting 5 minutes in-between applications. Once you have completed this, flush the area with cold water, and the ink should flow freely away, resulting in a stain-free surface.
If you can wash the garment in a washing machine, be sure to check it is machine washable and run it through the laundry with your everyday detergent.
If you are cautious of any remaining ink, you can avoid washing it or wash it with no other items, a color catching material, and avoid hot water as it may cause the ink to stain permanently. Use a cold wash if possible.
Last update on 2023-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API