How to Remove Marker Pen Stains from Carpet

Written by drue tibbits
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How to Remove Marker Pen Stains from Carpet
Marker pen stains can be removed with household ingredients. (marker image by AGphotographer from

Marker pens may permanently stain your carpet. Whether you dropped a marker on the carpet or your little ones got carried away while colouring, the sooner you clean the marker pen ink, the better your chances are of removing the stain. Several common household items are effective in lifting marker pen stains from carpet. Because different carpets are made of different materials, you may need to try several cleaning techniques before the marker stain is completely gone.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • White rags
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Hairspray
  • WD-40
  • Sponge
  • Liquid dish soap

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  1. 1

    After testing the rubbing alcohol in an inconspicuous spot, blot the marker stain using a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a clean, white rag. Blot lightly so you don't push the stain any deeper into the carpet.

  2. 2

    As the rag becomes soiled by the transfer of the marker stain, use another clean rag to continue to apply alcohol to the stain.

  3. 3

    Continue cleaning and blotting until the rag shows no sign of marker stain transfer.

  4. 4

    Remove residual cleaning fluid by applying a few drops of liquid dish soap to a wet sponge and washing the area. Work the sponge into the carpet until a lather forms. Rinse the sponge in clean water and sponge the area to remove the soap. Blot the area with a dry rag and allow it to air dry.

Tips and warnings

  • Use white rags when removing marker stains to prevent colour transfer from the rags to the carpet. You can use paper towels to blot the stains, but they do not hold as much moisture as rags and are not as effective.
  • If the rubbing alcohol does not remove the stain, try the blotting technique using a white rag and hairspray. Clean deeper marker stains by spraying the hairspray directly on the marker stain and quickly blotting it with a clean rag.
  • As another alternative method, apply WD-40 to a clean rag and blot the marker stain. Turn the rag often, or use another clean rag, and continue wetting the rag with WD-40 and blotting the marker stain until the rag remains clean.
  • Test each cleaning ingredient on a hidden area of your carpet before applying the ingredient to the marker stain. If your carpet shows a colour change during the test, do not use that cleaning ingredient.
  • Dispose of the rags used to remove the marker pen stains. Washing the rags can result in marker dye transfer to other items.

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