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How to Remove Permanent Marker From Couch? – 4 Ways

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

how to remove permanent marker from couch

Couch stains affect the aesthetic appeal of your home as a whole. A messy couch will make the room look cluttered even if the rest of the furniture is tidy.

Among the most annoying smudges, ink stains and permanent markers on couch upholstery can be a bit challenging to remove. Getting these stains off will take some work if the fabric of your couch absorbs the ink.

Your furniture will look presentable again if you carefully follow the instructions. Anyone can use these straightforward techniques to successfully learn how to remove permanent marker from couch upholstery.

Read on!

4 Methods to Try: Removing Permanent Marker From Couch

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


The best way to remove Sharpie or any permanent marker stains from microfiber couch is a natural cleaning solution.

Referred to as a miracle solution, the mixture of vinegar, dish soap, and water does wonders on permanent marker stains on microfiber and suede couches. Not to mention, these are inexpensive and common household items!

Things you will need

  • White vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • A small bucket
  • A clean cloth
  • A sponge
Steps to remove permanent marker from fabric sofa:

Step 1: In a small bucket, fill it with water half full. Then, mix in 2 cups of distilled white vinegar and 3 tablespoons of dish soap. The acidity in vinegar helps dissolve and remove marker stains whilst disinfecting your couch.

Step 2: Take a sponge and dip it in the solution. Squeeze it lightly to keep the sponge with enough solution.

Step 3: Use the wet sponge and dab it on the marker stains carefully. Allow the solution to sit on the stubborn marker stains for 20 to 30 minutes.

Step 4: Dip the sponge into the solution and dab it on the stains from time to time.

Step 5: Take a clean cloth and dampen it with water. Dab it all over the area where the stains were to rinse any residues from the solution.

Step 6: Allow the couch to dry.

Method 2: Apply Nail Polish Remover or Acetone

Acetone or nail polish remover is one of the easiest ways to get Sharpie out of fabric couch. I recommend this procedure, particularly on small or fresh marker stains.

Although it is solely used to remove nail polish, the acetone or liquid solvent in this product can dissolve and eliminate other substances and stains from permanent markers.

Things You Will Need:

  • Acetone or nail polish remover
  • Cotton ball
  • Paper towel

Step 1: Apply nail polish remover or acetone on a cotton ball. Do not pour the acetone directly on the couch to prevent the ink from spreading and leave white patches on the couch.

Step 2: Dab the cotton ball all over the permanent marker stain.

Step 3: Use a dry paper towel to wipe the marker ink off the couch. Make sure to replace it every time the paper towel gets covered with ink stains to avoid ink transfers.

Step 4: Repeat the process several times until the stains are completely gone.

Method 3: Gently Remove Marker Stains with Rubbing Alcohol


When the ink has already dried for a couple of days, rubbing alcohol is one of the effective products to get permanent marker off suede couch or any fabric couches. This is due to the fact that ink and alcohol have similar chemical properties.

Although alcohol is generally safe on fabrics, it is still imperative to test whether it can cause any stains, fading, or white spots.

Do this by applying rubbing alcohol in an inconspicuous area of the couch. If nothing happens, you are all set for the actual cleaning procedure.

Things You Will Need:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • A clean white cloth

Step-by-step Instructions:

Using Spray Alcohol

Step 1: Make sure to spray 3 to 6 inches away from the couch. Do not oversaturate the couch to prevent the ink from spreading.

Step 2: Use a clean cloth to rub the stains off the couch. Do this rigorously in circular motions to ensure you get all the stains covered.

Step 3: It is important to let the couch dry before you repeat the process. This is to avoid oversaturation and ink smudging.

Step 4: As the cloth lifts the ink, fold it into the cleaner side or use a new cloth to avoid any color transfers.

Step 5: If the ink stains are still present, repeat the process to get Sharpie out of couch completely.

Bottled Rubbing Alcohol

Step 1: Apply the rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth. Do this until the cloth is damp and not dripping as you start cleaning the couch.

Step 2: Using the damp cloth, dab it all over the marker stains. It is important not to rub the stains harshly to prevent the ink stains from spreading.

Step 3: As soon as the cloth lifts the ink and becomes saturated, fold it into a cleaner side or replace it with another clean cloth.

Step 4: Use another clean and dry cloth to get permanent marker out of couch.

Step 5: Repeat the process for stubborn ink stains. Allow the couch to dry first before the next cleaning cycle.

Method 4: Form a Paste Using Baking Soda and Water


Baking soda has been a holy grail for DIY cleaning because of its versatility and effective stain removal properties. No wonder many homes always have this product on their kitchen shelves.

Mixed with water, it turns into a cleaning paste that can remove Sharpie from couch and other difficult ink stains.

Things You Will Need:

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • A small bowl
  • A clean cloth
Step-by-step Instructions:

Step 1: In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of water to form a paste.

Step 2: Apply enough paste to cover all the stains on the couch. Use your finger or a clean cloth and rub it in the stains. Do this gently until the ink stains disappear.

Step 3: Use a dry clean cloth to wipe the surface clean from any paste residues.

Step 4: Let it dry.

Step 5: If the stains are still visible, repeat the process.

Other Helpful Tips When Removing Permanent Marker Stains From Couch

  • Before you try any DIY cleaning projects for your couch, it is imperative to check couch labels for the recommended cleaning instructions.

Remember that the material for every couch varies and should be cleaned properly to preserve its quality and beauty.

  • Every time you get Sharpie out of furniture or couch, always test the products on an inconspicuous area first before applying it directly to the ink stains.

In this way, you can tell whether the product can cause stains, fading, and other damage to the fabric. If there are any changes, simply wash it off with water and soap.

  • Do not douse the couch with any liquid product or solution to prevent oversaturation.

Should you need to apply a cleaning product or solution, apply it on a clean cloth and use it to remove the stains on the couch afterward.


It is not the end of the world when you find awful permanent ink stains on your couch. Surprisingly, removing permanent ink stains is simple with everyday household products and a tad bit of elbow grease. 

Keep in mind that the effective methods will differ in the same way that materials do. Learning the techniques on how to remove permanent marker from couch upholstery in this article will definitely help you solve these problems should they arise.

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