black dry erase marker on clothes

How to Remove Dry Erase Marker from Clothes

Dry erase markers are fantastic tools for jotting down ideas, organising schedules, and making important notes on whiteboards.

However, accidents happen, and those colourful markers might occasionally find their way onto your clothing.

Don’t panic! While removing stains can be a bit tricky, it’s not impossible.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through effective methods to remove dry erase marker stains from clothes without causing further damage.


Understanding Dry Erase Markers and Stains

dry erase markers

Dry erase markers, also known as whiteboard markers, are designed to be easily wiped away from smooth, non-porous surfaces like whiteboards, glass, and plastic.

The markers use specialised ink that can be erased with a dry cloth or eraser. However, when they come into contact with fabric, the situation changes.

The ink in dry erase markers contains pigments and solvents that can adhere to fabric fibres, making it a bit more challenging to remove compared to non-porous surfaces.

As with any stain, it’s essential to address it promptly for the best chance of complete removal. But remember, patience and the right techniques are key to avoiding permanent damage to your clothes.


A Guide to Removing Dry Erase Marker Ink from Clothing

black ink stain on clothes

Materials you’ll Need

Before you begin the stain removal process, gather the following materials:

  • Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol – This is a powerful solvent that can help break down the marker stain.
  • Cotton balls or clean cloth – To apply the rubbing alcohol.
  • Washing-up liquid Washing-up liquid can help lift the stain from the fabric.
  • An old toothbrush – For gentle scrubbing.
  • Clean towels – To blot and dry the treated area.
  • Stain remover – Optional, but can be helpful for stubborn stains.
  • Laundry detergent – For washing the clothes after stain removal.
  • Warm water – For rinsing and treating the stain.
  • White vinegar – An alternative to rubbing alcohol.

Follow these steps to effectively remove dry erase marker stains from your clothes:

Step 1: Act quickly

As soon as you notice the dry erase marker stain, take action. The longer the stain sits, the more challenging it becomes to remove.


Step 2: Blot the stain

blot ink stain with paper towel

Place a clean towel underneath the stained area to prevent the marker from spreading to the other side of the fabric.

Use another clean cloth or paper towel to gently blot the stain from the outside in.

Avoid rubbing, as this can push the stain deeper into the fabric.

Blotting the stain with a dry towel will pull up any wet ink on the fabric. If the ink has already dried, consider skipping this step and moving on to the next.


Step 3: Apply rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol

Moisten a cotton ball or clean cloth with rubbing alcohol. Dab the stain gently, working from the outside toward the centre of the stain.

The alcohol will help break down the ink pigments. Remember to test the alcohol on a hidden seam or inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t damage or discolour the fabric.


Step 4: Use washing-up liquid

washing up liquid for ink stain

After treating with alcohol, apply a small amount of washing-up liquid to the stain. Gently rub the fabric together to work in the soap.

Alternatively, you can use a soft-bristled toothbrush to lightly scrub the stained area. Avoid using a toothbrush on delicate fabrics. Instead, use a paper towel or a microfibre cloth instead.


Step 5: Rinse with warm water

Thoroughly rinse the stained area with warm water. And then, go over it with a cloth or paper towel once more. Again, make sure to blot and not rub the fabric.

Throughout the process, more and more ink will be removed from the fabric. This step ensures that any remaining ink will be removed.


Step 6: Repeat if necessary

If the stain persists, repeat steps 3 to 5 until you see improvement. Some stains may require multiple treatments.

You’ll likely need to repeat these steps if the ink was already dry when you started.

However, some colours are also trickier to remove than others, so repeat where necessary.


Step 7: Wash the clothes

laundry in the washing machine and detergent powder scoop

After successfully removing the stain, wash the clothing according to the care instructions on the garment’s label.

Use a good-quality laundry detergent to ensure the fabric is thoroughly cleaned. If the stain has completely gone, you can throw the item in the wash with other clothes as normal.

Of course, if you’re worried about ink transfer onto other items, wash it separately.


Alternative Methods

white vinegar for ink stain

If rubbing alcohol isn’t readily available, you can try using white vinegar as a substitute. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which can help break down the marker stain. Follow the same process as outlined above, substituting rubbing alcohol with white vinegar.


Dealing with Stubborn Stains

Vanish Gold Oxi Action stain remover

For particularly stubborn stains, consider using a commercial stain remover.

Apply a small amount to the stain, following the product’s instructions, and then proceed with the steps outlined above.

Vanish Gold Oxi Action is a proven commercial stain remover that works wonders on most stains that a household can create. It can be used as a pre-treat as well as in the washing cycle and prevents colour transfer during a wash.


Preventing Future Stains

To avoid future mishaps with dry erase markers and clothing, consider the following tips:

  • Cover up: When using dry erase markers, wear an apron or an old shirt to protect your clothing.
  • Quick action: The sooner you address the stain, the easier it is to remove.
  • Test first: Always test any stain removal solution on a hidden seam or inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t cause damage or discolouration.
  • Read labels: Follow the care instructions on your clothes’ labels when washing and treating stains.

whiteboard marker


In Conclusion

While accidental dry erase marker stains on clothes can be frustrating, they’re not impossible to remove.

By acting quickly and using the right materials and techniques, you can effectively lift these stubborn stains and restore your clothing to its former glory.

Remember, patience and a gentle touch are essential to ensure that you don’t damage the fabric during the stain removal process.

For more help removing other pesky stains from clothing, carpets and a great deal more, check out In The Wash further. We have loads of articles that can help you keep stains at bay all around the home.