How to Remove Sharpie Pen Ink From Clothing

Sharpies leave permanent marks on a variety of materials, and the marker can be a challenge to remove or hide. In order to remove the stain, you need to treat it as soon as it is noticeable. If you allow the stain to set into the fabric, it may not come completely out. Once you feel like the stain is no longer noticeable, you will need to place it in the washing machine to clean the fabric. You do not need to throw your clothes away due to a Sharpie stain, but you will need to take the right precautions to avoid allowing the stain to permanently set into the fabric.

Treat the Sharpie stain as soon as possible. Fresh stains are easier to remove than older ones.

Examine the label on the clothing. Notice any special instructions concerning cleaning the fabric.

Lay the stained clothing on paper towels. This will absorb the Sharpie ink. You may need to place paper towels inside trousers or a shirt to prevent the marker from bleeding through and staining the clothing more.

Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol. Carefully blot the marker stain.

Moisten a cloth with water. Blot the area with the moistened cloth.

Repeat this process until the marker stain vanishes. If the stain is still present, wipe the area with nail polish remover or hairspray, then wipe it with water and a cloth to rinse the area.

Wash the clothing in the washer. Do not place it in the dryer if the stain does not come out. Simply repeat the process, or take the clothing to a dry cleaner for more complex treatments.


Do not iron the stained clothing or put it in the dryer or the ink stain will become more permanent. Test the stain removal solution on a hidden part of the clothing. You will need to ensure that no colour loss or additional damage will occur on the clothing.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels
  • Cotton swab
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Wash cloth
  • Nail polish remover
  • Hairspray
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About the Author

Angela LaFollette holds a Bachelor of Arts in advertising with a minor in political science from Marshall University. LaFollette found her passion for writing during an internship as a reporter for "The West Virginia Standard" in 2007. She has more than six years of writing experience and specializes in topics in garden and pets.