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There’s something heart-stoppingly terrible about seeing a pair of little hands drawing on your walls or floor. It just gets worse when you notice that they’re not using the kid safe textas you gave them – but the permanent marker they found goodness knows where. But never fear, there is a solution to this problem – here are ways to remove permanent marker from just about anything. Not so permanent anymore, is it?


If you have a synthetic carpet, dampen a cloth with a solvent like acetone-free nail polish remover. Lightly dab the stain with this cloth and then leave for about 15 minutes. Then dab the stained area with warm, soapy water and wait for another quarter of an hour. Blot the area dry with a clean cloth or towel, and then blot once more with warm water. Dry again. If there’s still stain remaining, let it dry and repeat the process one more time.

If your carpet is made of natural fibres, the process is very similar, but you need to use a consumer-grade dry-cleaning solvent. Make sure you read the instructions carefully before you begin.


Use warm, soapy water and your favourite all areas cleaning spray to have an initial pass at the stain. If that method doesn’t work, get out your trusty rubbing alcohol and dab the stain with a cotton ball or paper towel. Use a little water to clean the area once the stain is gone, and then pat dry with paper towel.

Ceramic tiles

You want to start by wiping the stained area with warm, soapy water and then apply some rubbing alcohol with paper towel or a cotton ball. Wipe the alcohol off with more soapy water, then rinse and dry the tile.

If the stain persists, try drawing over it with a whiteboard marker and then rubbing it off.

Stainless steel

Just like with tiles, you can use a whiteboard marker to draw over the permanent marker before wiping it off with a soft, dry cloth. Failing that, use a little rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball or paper towel.

Cotton upholstery

If marker has stained your cotton upholstery, gently blot the affected area with rubbing alcohol until it has completely come up. Make sure to test the alcohol in an area that can’t be seen in case the colours of the fabric run.

Cotton fabric

Place the stain face down onto a couple of layered paper towels. Use a small sponge to apply rubbing alcohol to the back of the stain and you should see it leaching out onto the paper towel. Rinse the fabric with cold water when you’re done to make sure the residue from the marker and the alcohol is gone.

Do you have a great cleaning tip for removing pesky stains? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.