How to Remove Dry-Erase Marker From Clothing


Dry-erase markers, made for whiteboards and glass and ceramic surfaces, erase easily from those. But the same qualities that keep the markers' ink from sticking to nonporous surfaces make them tough to get out of fabrics, because the pigments become trapped in the clothing fibers. In short, they're not really washable, but that doesn't mean you can't try a few solutions.

Step 1: Act Fast

Most stains set over time, so move quickly. Check the clothing label, and if it's dry clean only, take it to the cleaners and tell the cleaner the stain is from a dry-erase marker and not a washable one. If your garment is washable, though, test any cleaning solution you decide to use on a small, unobtrusive part of the garment before you proceed further.

Step 2: Consult the Experts

Amodex, a stain remover, is often recommended for marker stains on fabrics as well as for whiteboards. The company's website says to apply the stain remover directly to the fabric -- don't wet it first -- and then scrub with a small brush or rub it in with a fingernail, moving out from the center of the stain to the surrounding area. Then wash the garment as you normally would with your usual detergent.

Crayola, which makes dry erase markers, suggests rinsing the fabric with cold water, placing the garment stain-side down on paper towels, and then blotting the stain with alcohol, using a cotton ball.

However, Expo, another maker of dry erase markers, says the marker stains do not wash out of clothing.

Step 3: Home Remedy Trial and Error

If the stain is prominent and you don't want to part with your garment, a few home remedies might be worth a try. Suggestions include:

  • Turning the garment inside out and dabbing, then scrubbing, with Murphy's Oil Soap

  • Blotting with rubbing alcohol

  • Spot cleaning with dish soap 

  • Swiping with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

Then wash your garment in the machine as usual. Try the process again if it doesn't work the first time.

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