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How to Get Permanent Marker Out of Carpet? – 3 Ways

Written by Robert S. Brown / Fact checked by Helen B. Harris

how to get permanent marker out of carpet

Removing permanent marker stains on any surface can be pretty challenging. Much more so on hard surfaces like carpets. When ink stains get into their fibers, you will need more than just a rag and soapy water to get rid of permanent marker stains.

Cumbersome as it may seem, the best ways on how to get permanent marker out of carpet require only some common household products and a tad bit of elbow grease. But the most crucial tip is to blot or gently rub the ink stains to avoid them from spreading even more.

As you read on, you will find proven and effective tips to get permanent marker off carpet regardless of the ink type and condition.

Effective Ways to Get Permanent Marker Out of Carpet

</p> <h3><strong>Tip #1: </strong><strong>Use Rubbing Alcohol and Oil-Free Hairspray for Fresh Marker Stains</strong></h3> <p>

Rubbing alcohol and hairspray have been widely used against fabric stains. When used together, these products make strong cleaning agents to get Sharpie out of carpet or any fresh permanent marker stains.

Both products contain alcohol, which is the primary reason why they work effectively as ink stain removal. Just make sure to use oil-free hairspray; otherwise, it will leave oil stains on your carpet. 

What to Prepare

  • Rubbing alcohol (70% or 91% alcohol)
  • Oil-free hairspray
  • Paper towel
  • Soft-bristle toothbrush
  • Clean and dry cloth

Step-by-step Guide

  • Step 1: Pour some rubbing alcohol onto a paper towel.
  • Step 2: Use the wet paper towel and blot the stains gently to get marker out of carpet fibers. It is important not to rub the stains outwards to prevent smears.
  • Step 3: At this point, the paper towel will lift the marker stains. When the paper towel is all covered with marker stains, replace it with a clean one to avoid any ink transfers to other parts of the carpet.
  • Step 4: Use the oil-free hairspray and spray all over the stained area.
  • Step 5: Get a clean paper towel and blot the stains again. You may also use a soft-bristle toothbrush to help the stains come off.
  • Step 6: Repeat the process until the stains disappear. 
</p> <h3><strong>Tip #2: Use WD-40 and Soapy Water for Any Ink Stains</strong></h3> <p>


WD-40 has a myriad of uses other than an automotive lubricant, degreaser, and rust remover.

No wonder many have found ways to maximize the versatility of this product, making it an all-around cleaner even for the toughest stains like permanent markers.

With just a few sprays and dabs, it can remove Sharpie from carpet or get smudged fabric marker off of fabric surfaces.

What to Prepare

  • WD-40 spray
  • Soft sponge
  • Soapy water
  • Damp cloth or rag
  • Dry and clean cloth or rag

Step-by-step Guide

  • Step 1: Spray WD-40 onto the stained area on the carpet. Let the formula sit for around 20 to 30 seconds to help the permanent marker stains come off easily.
  • Step 2: Wet the sponge into soapy water, and use it to lift the stains on the carpet. Start rubbing it in the stains gently and carefully, allowing the formula to dissolve the stain bonds.
  • Step 3: As you rub the sponge in the stained area, the permanent marker stains will come off easily.
  • Step 4: Use a damp cloth or rag to rinse off any residues.
  • Step 5: Use a dry and clean cloth or rag to wipe the area clean.

</p> <h3><strong>Tip #3: Homemade Solution and Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner for Tough Permanent Marker Stains</strong></h3> <p>


It can sometimes get difficult to remove marker stains from carpet surfaces, especially when it has already dried on the carpet for hours or even days. Perhaps, your other dilemma is to get rid of a large and dark marker stain on your carpet.

It may seem impossible to get permanent marker off fabric fibers of wool or polyester carpets with this stain condition. Fortunately, a homemade solution made of common household products will do the trick.

Since this procedure is for the hardest and most stubborn permanent marker stains on your carpet, you will need to use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner for the best results.

Follow the steps carefully and you can remove permanent marker from carpet surfaces and deal with any stains like a pro.

What to Prepare

  • A spray bottle
  • A small bowl with a spout
  • A funnel
  • Rubbing alcohol (91%)
  • A spoon
  • Wet and dry vacuum cleaner
  • A clean and dry cloth or rag

Step-by-step Guide

1. Homemade Solution

Mix 1 cup of warm water, ½ teaspoon of dish soap, and 2 tablespoons of 91% rubbing alcohol. Stir the mixture gently.

  • Important note: Do not add more dish soap to the mixture. Otherwise, the solution will get foamy, which will be difficult to rinse out and wipe off the carpet.

Pour the solution into a spray bottle. If your bowl does not have a spout, you may use a funnel to transfer the mixture into the bottle. Now, you are ready for the cleaning process.

2. Removing the Marker Stains

  • Spray the homemade solution directly onto the stained area.
  • Use the spoon to tamp down the solution, allowing it to get into the carpet fibers and break down the stains. Make sure that you use a spoon that you do not use anymore.
  • For heavily stained carpet, you can pour rubbing alcohol onto the marker stain. Tamp down the solution and alcohol into the carpet fibers using the spoon.
  • Important note: Follow this step ONLY if you have the equipment or the means to extract the solution out of the carpet. In this case, a wet dry vacuum cleaner should do the job.

Do not try to rub it in with a towel or rag because the ink stains will spread even more.

Aside from that, you will not be able to extract the solution and alcohol effectively. Without proper extraction, rubbing alcohol can potentially damage the backing of your carpet.

  • The next step is extracting the stains out of the carpet. Turn on your wet dry vacuum cleaner and go over the stained area. At this point, you will notice the stains have already faded.
  • If the permanent marker stains are still visible, repeat the steps.
  • Allow the carpet to dry.

Important Tips to Remember When Removing Permanent Markers From Carpets


  • The best time to clean permanent marker stains is when they are still fresh.
  • Blot or gently rub permanent marker stains to avoid inks to spread or smearing. This also preserves the quality of the carpet. Harsh rubbing can fray the carpet fibers.
  • It is a prerequisite to test the products on an inconspicuous area first to determine whether there would be any changes in color or damage on the carpet. Should there be any significant changes, rinse it out with water immediately.
  • You can douse the stained area of the carpet with the homemade solution or rubbing alcohol as long as you have a wet dry vacuum cleaner to extract it.

Never do this without any means to extract the solution or alcohol; otherwise, it will cause more damage than removing permanent marker stains completely and quickly.


Permanent marker stains can be a usual occurrence, whether you did it accidentally or you have kids doodling every surface they find. However, do not fret over these permanent ink stains. There are easy and effective solutions on how to get permanent marker out of carpet without spending on professional carpet cleaners or expensive products.

Whether the permanent marker stains are still fresh or have already dried for hours or days, the cleaning tips mentioned above can help restore the beauty of your carpet. Just make sure to follow the instructions carefully and get rid of permanent marker stains like they were never there.

Additionally, Each material goes with a different method. You can learn more about our guides, such as getting the marker out from couch, countertop, and even leather.

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