How to Remove Permanent Marker From Leather Furniture

Updated February 21, 2017

If you've got children, you have probably cleaned marker, crayon or pencil off of your floors, walls and furniture. Most of these products are simple to remove, but permanent marker can permanently damage some items. Luckily, permanent marker can be removed from leather furniture. Clean it as soon as possible to prevent it from settling into the leather. Use one process for unfinished leather, such as suede or nubuck, and another for finished leather.

Dab rubbing alcohol on the stain with a clean cloth until the permanent marker has been removed. Alternatively, dab high alcohol cologne if you don't want to smell rubbing alcohol. Do not rub the stain as this could spread it.

Rub nail polish remover on the permanent marker if the stain is still visible. Continue to apply and rub the stain with a clean cloth until it has been removed.

Dampen a clean cloth with clear water and rub it over the surface of the leather to remove the spot-cleaning residue. Do not soak the leather as this can ruin its condition.

Dry the finished leather completely with a clean cloth. Do not let it air dry as this can cause watermarks to form.

Rub an eraser over the permanent marker stain until it has been removed. This will likely work on light stains on dark unfinished leather furniture. It will also work if the marker wasn't pressed into the leather.

Gently rub a nail file over the marker stain if it is still visible. This will remove the top few layers of the leather, so be careful not to rub too vigorously.

Gently rub the marker stain with fine sandpaper. The sandpaper will remove the next few layers of the leather and the stain along with it.

Brush the entire surface of the leather furniture with a suede brush. Suede brushes have stiff bristles that raise the nap of the leather and remove dust or dirt particles.


Always test your cleaning method and solution on an inconspicuous area of your furniture to test for colour fastness.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cologne
  • Cloths
  • Nail polish remover
  • Water
  • Eraser
  • Nail file
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Suede brush
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About the Author

Kaye Wagner has been working in the fields of journalism and public relations since 2006 and is a recipient of a National Hearst Award. She is particularly interested in home-and-garden projects, as well as beauty and fashion writing. An avid traveler, she also writes travel reviews and guides. Wagner earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brigham Young University.