How To Remove Marker Stains
As common as colored crayons were a few years ago, boxes of colored markers are gaining quickly in popularity for children. In my opinion (been there, done that), wet ink markers in the hands of toddlers and even older children are a recipe for lasting mistakes!
A few weeks ago, I had a couple of little nephews visiting with their parents. Each was given a color book and a box of markers. My folding oak “TV trays” were hauled out and the children were set up with impromptu desks.
After they were gone, I discovered these kids were still coloring outside the lines. In fact, there were several stains on the surfaces of my tables.
In all cases of unwanted stains, the faster you are able to attack the stain, the better. Get at it before the stain has a chance to soak into the wood, Formica, or fabric.
Everyday Things To Remove Everyday Stains
- Hair Spray
- Nail Polish Remover
Having A Bad Stain Day? Try Hair Spray!
I ran for the hairspray and saturated the stains with the spray then quickly wiped it off with paper towels. The stains were visibly lightened but there was still some remaining so I repeated the process. Now, you need to read on!
WD-40 – Not Just For Removing Rust
My final success in totally removing the stains was applying WD-40. As a matter of fact, while writing this helpful tip in removing marker stains, I applied the WD-40 to the remaining stain, covered it with plastic food wrap, and let it sit for about five minutes. Then I moistened a household sponge with warm water and a few drops of dish liquid detergent and rubbed the stain. The red marker stain is gone! Best part is, WD-40 did not affect the surface of my table. The tables are old and show signs of needing to be refinished but the WD-40 did not harm any of the existing varnish and I do not need to refinish the trays immediately.
There’s an ink stain from a ball point pen on my dryer that has been there for about five years. When I learned the trick with the WD-40, I applied it to the baked in stain on the enameled surface. The stain is still there but, to my amazement, when wiping the WD-40 off, I found a significant amount of blue pen stain on the paper towel.
I will reapply the WD-40, cover it with plastic food wrap, leave it on overnight, and then check it in the morning. I don’t expect the stain to be completely removed, but even a little lighter is an improvement.
Marker Stain Removal Using Nail Polish Remover
Creative and desperate people will try just about anything to remove stains from clothing, skin and other tangible goods. This is especially true if the clothing is new, the paint is fresh, and the furniture is old.
I’m amazed at the tips I’ve received on removing marker stains. It’s not just the youngsters who are responsible for the stains. One woman discovered a marker pen with the cap removed on the sofa – the ink “wicked” or bled into the upholstery before it was discovered.
In this case, the owner was able to slip a paper towel under the fabric of the cushion and daub the stain repeatedly with non-acetone nail polish remover. Working quickly, most of the color was removed. Then she followed up with a regular household sponge moistened in warm water with a few drops of liquid dish detergent. This removed the nail polish remover and took the loosened ink pigments, too.
Don’t Forget The Toothpaste!
Toothpaste is not just for teeth anymore. In fact, the more I get into this stain remover topic, I find that toothpaste is right up there with duct tape and WD-40 for just about everything!
For fresh marker stains on clothing, apply regular white toothpaste as soon as possible. Work the stain between your fingers, rinse and, if the stain is still there, repeat. When the stain is gone, launder the garment according to manufacturer’s instructions.
The best toothpaste for stain removal is white paste – not gel. The best time to remove stains is while they are fresh. However, some people report significant improvements using tooth paste, even after stains have set.
Don’t Iron Marker Stains
If you’ve tried to remove the stain but you can still see it, be sure you don’t dry the fabric in the dryer and don’t iron the garment. Sometimes, especially with kids, you just don’t throw out t-shirts, blouses, or other little clothes because they will get stains, no matter what.
Always, the first thing to try is to run cold water on the stain as soon as possible. If that doesn’t work, try tooth paste. If that doesn’t work, blot out as much water as possible and allow the fabric to “air dry.” Then try WD-40, hair spray, or non-acetone nail polish remover.
After you’ve laundered and dried the clothing, if the stain remains, do not put a hot iron where the stain is. That will surely set it fast.
Removing Stains With Spirits of Turpentine
In researching removal of markers, I found a reference to successfully removing marker stains with “white spirit”. “Spirit” actually refers to “solvent” as in turpentine, spirits of ammonia – a rather archaic term which has mostly been dropped from use in conjunction with the actual product.
According to the encyclopedia, “white spirit” is a term for Stoddard solvent which is found in common wax and refers to the fact that the solvent is transparent or clear. It is also used for thinning oil based paints — spirits of turpentine.
“White spirit” is the most commonly used solvent in wood preservatives, paints, aerosol products, and varnishes today.
Sometimes, the antidote or cure for a problem or condition is, as they say, the “hair of the dog.” In essence, this means that the best way to remove something with a petroleum base is applying a cleaning product with the same common denominator. By soaking the marker ink with a chemical that is found in the ink itself, you tend to soften and break up or dissolve the marker stain and ink making it possible to blot it out.