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How to Remove Permanent Marker From Car Interior? – 5 Ways

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

how to remove permanent marker from car interior

You might be alarmed if you find permanent marker smudges inside your car. It would be a good thing if you could wipe it off with soap and water. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

Car interior parts are often made from different materials such as leather, painted metal parts, vinyl, upholstery, fabric, and more.

So if you need to get Sharpie off a car interior and remove these permanent marker stains forever, you need to know the correct procedure for every part of your car.

Fret not, we have everything covered. As you read on, you will find detailed steps on how to remove permanent marker from car interior.

Ways to Get Permanent Marker Off Car Interior


There are various ways to get Sharpie off or any permanent marker stains from your car interior parts. Make sure you test the recommended products first on a small area of your car interior to check for any discoloration or damage.

Method 1: Use a Natural Cleaning Solution of White Vinegar, Dish Soap, and Water

Distilled white vinegar has become an all-around household cleaner, especially when removing stubborn stains.

When mixed with dish soap, it becomes a powerful marker stain remover that can remove Sharpie from car interior surfaces like fabric car seats, car ceiling, and carpets.

For this solution recipe, we will use distilled white vinegar because it contains 5% acetic acid content that breaks down stains effectively. Aside from that, it does not stain surfaces.

What to Prepare:

  • Distilled White Vinegar
  • Dish Soap
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • A cup or small bowl
  • Microfiber cloth
  • A soft bristle brush
  • A sponge
  1. Mix 2 teaspoons of distilled white vinegar, 1 cup of water, and 1 tablespoon of dish soap in a cup or small bowl.
  2. Pour it into a spray bottle for easy application. Then, shake the bottle to mix the solution thoroughly.
  3. Spray the solution all over the permanent marker stains. Allow the solution to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Use a sponge to blot the stain. Do it gently to prevent the stains from spreading out. You may also use a soft bristle brush to remove the stains thoroughly.
  5. Use a damp microfiber cloth to rinse and wipe off any excess solution from the surface.
  6. Leave the surface to dry.


Method 2: Apply Banana Boat Sport Ultra Sunscreen on Permanent Ink Stains on Leather Seats

For this method, we will use sunscreen, specifically the Banana Boat Sport Ultra Spray, because it contains Alcohol Denat (denatured alcohol) that works as a degreasing agent.

It is a spot cleaner that can remove stubborn permanent marker stains from upholstery surfaces, particularly leather car seats.

This agent can keep the surface smooth and shiny without leaving any white spots or discoloration.

What to Prepare:

  • Banana Boat Ultra Sport Sunscreen Spray
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Coconut milk shampoo
  • Leather protectant
  1. Use the Banana Boat Ultra Sport Sunscreen and spray it all over the stains. At this point, you will notice that the ink will start to smear.
  2. Let the sunscreen sit on the stain for 20 to 30 minutes, especially when the permanent marker has dried for a long time.
  3. Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe the stain off.
  4. For stubborn marker stains, spray enough sunscreen to cover any remaining stains. You may use a soft bristle brush to gently scrub the stains and speed up the process. Use a dry microfiber cloth to clean the surface.
  5. Repeat the process until the ink stain disappears.
  6. When the marker stain is gone, the next step is to condition the leather using coconut milk shampoo. Apply a small coconut milk shampoo on a microfiber cloth and wipe the surface.
  7. After that, use a leather protectant spray and spray it all over the surface. Use a microfiber or soft cloth to wipe the surface clean. This conditioning procedure helps keep the leather’s color, shine, and quality.


Method 3: Use Toothpaste to Remove Ink Stains off the Car Paint

This is probably the easiest and quickest way to get rid of permanent marker stains from car paint. The secret product is a common household item: toothpaste!

The toothpaste cleaning agents do the job of eradicating marker pen on car paint without a hitch, leaving the surface as if the stain was never there. This works great whether on car exterior parts or interiors.

What to Prepare:

  • Toothpaste
  • Microfiber or soft cloth
  1. Apply a dollop of toothpaste to the permanent marker stains from your car paint.
  2. Use your finger and rub it in gently.
  3. Use a microfiber or soft cloth to wipe the surface clean.
  4. Repeat the process until all the ink stains are gone.


Method 4: Use Rubbing Alcohol to Remove Ink Stains from Car Windows

Chemical properties of alcohol and permanent markers are pretty much alike. Therefore, rubbing alcohol is a quick and easy remedy for stains from vinyl car interior, car window ink stains, and almost every part of your interior.

This method is ideal for small marker stains, although you may need a bit of elbow grease if you are dealing with large-scale marker stains.

What to Prepare:

  • Rubbing alcohol (70% to 99% isopropyl)
  • Paper towel
  1. Apply the rubbing alcohol to a paper towel.
  2. As soon as it is damp, rub it gently in the marker stains. Do it in a circular motion to erase the ink stains thoroughly.
  3. Use a dry paper towel to wipe the surface clean.
  4. Allow the surface to dry.
  5. Repeat the process if the stains are still visible.


Method 5: Write Over Permanent Marker Stains Using Dry Erase Marker

If you have ever thought of writing over permanent marker stains using a dry-erase marker or whiteboard marker, go ahead and try it out because it works!

Besides car interior parts, this step is one of the easiest ways to remove pen ink from car exterior surfaces like painted metal, car door and car roof.

Meanwhile, this method works best on small marker stains, doodles, and scribbles on your car’s interior and exterior, including windows.

However, should the permanent marker stains be extensive on the surface, I recommend using rubbing alcohol or brake cleaner for fast cleaning. Then, wipe the surface clean with a microfiber cloth.

What to Prepare:

  • Dry erase marker
  • Microfiber cloth
  1. Use a dry-erase marker and write over the permanent marker stain. Make sure to cover the ink stains completely.
  2. Use a dry microfiber cloth and wipe it off.
  3. If the stains are still visible, repeat the process.


In a nutshell, we have learned in this article the best and easy ways on how to remove permanent marker from car interior parts using the products and tools that are easily available in every home. But before you head on to the actual cleaning procedure, take note of these reminders:

  • Determine the material of your car interior
  • Know how much permanent marker stain to remove
  • Always test the product first on a hidden or inconspicuous area of the surface

With all these in mind, you could identify which procedure to go for and get everything done correctly and effectively. Hope this helps!

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