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How to remove felt tip pen from carpet

Updated February 21, 2017

Big construction paper projects are easiest to work on when spread out on the floor, but this can lead to ink stains on carpet. These are tough stains to get out, requiring quick treatment and solvents. Carpets are hard to treat because you can't soak them or throw them in the washing machine. Find out what type of material your carpet is made from so you can treat it properly. Wool carpets need to be cleaned by professionals, while synthetic and organic fibres respond to various treatments.

Dab some rubbing alcohol on a rag and rub it into an inconspicuous area of the carpet to test for colour fastness. If the colour holds, put more alcohol on your cloth and rub it into the stain. As the colour comes off, move to a clean area of the rag so you are not smearing the stain. Keep applying alcohol and rubbing until the rag comes back clean and the stain is gone. Let the area air dry. Organic fabrics can respond well to this method.

Apply dry-cleaning solvent to felt tip pen stains on wool-blend carpets. It is gentle enough not to affect the fibres in the carpet. Blot the solvent on with a clean, dry rag and use a fresh spot on the rag with every reapplication of solvent. It will take numerous applications to clean the stain.

Pour 946 ml (4 cups) of warm water in a bowl and add 59 ml (1/4 cup) of oxygenated bleach, which is safe for most colours and not as damaging as chlorine bleach. Test a hidden corner of the carpet to make certain it doesn't fade. When you are sure the colour will stay bright, dip a rag into the solution and rub it into the pen mark. Rub from outside to the inside so the stain doesn't smear. Continue to rub and rinse until the spot has been removed. Blended synthetic carpet is a good candidate for this method.

Spray lubricant on the stain. The oil will attract the oil in the marker. Then you can use washing up liquid dissolved in water to remove the colour left behind. This method can be tried on any synthetic carpet. The oil may stain natural fibres and is not recommended for cotton, silk or other organic carpets.

Use a carpet steam cleaner on almost all carpets. Fill the reservoir with water and the recommended amount of cleaner. Pre-treat the spot on the carpet with a carpet spotting treatment and rub it in. Allow the pretreated area to sit for half an hour, then shampoo the spot.

Things You'll Need

  • Alcohol
  • Clean, dry rags
  • Dry-cleaning solvent
  • Bowl of water
  • Oxygenated bleach
  • Lubricant such as WD-40 spray
  • Washing up liquid
  • Carpet steam cleaner
  • Steam cleaner
  • Carpet pre-treatment
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About the Author

Bonnie Grant began writing professionally in 1990. She has been published on various websites, specializing in garden-related instructional articles. Grant recently earned a Bachelor of Arts in business management with a hospitality focus from South Seattle Community College.