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How to Get Markers Out of Couch?

how to get marker out of couch

If you are a parent of young kids, it is almost certain that you need to know how to get markers out of the couch. This is especially true if your kids are quite “artistic” like mine. All jokes aside, professional stain removal services can be quite expensive, especially if you have to hire them multiple times a year.

To at least make it easier on your household finances, you should learn how to get a sharpie out of the couch. This article will teach you some of the most effective and economical ways to make your couch look new again by removing marker stains.

There are many possible answers to the question, how to get permanent markers out of the couch and other upholstery. This means that if you failed to remove the stain using one method, you can try the others.

Using Rubbing Alcohol

Depending on the severity of the stain, you can either use a mild or stronger concentration of rubbing alcohol. For this tutorial, we will be using a 90% solution of isopropyl rubbing alcohol.

What to Prepare:

  • A bottle of 90% solution rubbing alcohol
  • A clean rag
  • A bit of clean water

Step 1 – Do the Initial Cleaning of The Stained Surface

Get a rag, dip it in some clean water, and use it to scrub the stained surface. This will make the alcohol’s job easier. It also means you won’t be using that much.

Step 2 – Test the alcohol in a hidden spot

In case the alcohol you’re using has a negative effect on the upholstery, you should test it out first. Pick a spot on the couch typically hidden from view, like the back or in between the cushions.

Dab a bit of the alcohol on the test spot and swirl it around. If it does not leave any visible marks, you can continue using it on the stained area.

Step 3 – Apply Alcohol to the Stained Area

Dip a clean rag in the rubbing alcohol and make sure to get it soaked. Press the rag onto the stained area and let it sit there for around 10 seconds. This will allow the alcohol to loosen up the ink and promote ease in removal later.

After letting the rag sit, continue rubbing the stained area using the rag, using small circular motions. You will know if it is working if the rag is getting discolored. It just means it is lifting the ink out of the upholstery.

Use a different part of the rag if the part you are using is already full of ink.

Step 4 – Rinse with a Bit of Clean Water

After removing the permanent marker stain off the couch, you should then wipe the area with another rag but this time, dipped in some clean water. This is to get rid of the excess alcohol left in the upholstery, which might discolor the area if left to sit for too long.

Afterward, wipe the area dry with a paper towel or point a hairdryer at the damp spot until it dries completely.

Using Toothpaste and Baking Soda

how to get expo marker out of couch

Sometimes, you will need a bit of abrasion to remove permanent ink stains off a couch. Regular white toothpaste and a bit of baking soda provide just enough abrasiveness to scrub out the stain, but without damaging the surface.

What to Prepare:

  • Regular white toothpaste
  • Baking soda
  • Small cup or container

Step 1 – Mix the Toothpaste and Baking Soda

You will need to combine equal parts of baking soda and regular toothpaste. Depending on the size of the stain, combine ample amounts of these ingredients. For treating stains that are the size of your palm, around 3 to 5 grams of toothpaste and baking soda would suffice.

You will need to use the regular white toothpaste because it also contains micro-abrasives that will help the baking soda work even better.

Step 2 – Apply the Paste to the Stain

Take a clean rag and dip it in the toothpaste and baking soda mixture. Apply it directly to the stain. Using small circular motions and firm pressure, scrub the stain until it is completely gone, or at least minimized enough that it is not quite as visible as before.

Step 3 – Wipe Away the Toothpaste-Baking Soda Mixture

After scrubbing off the stain, you will need to wipe the paste off the surface of the couch. Take a paper towel and wipe off the excess paste. You can also use a rag dipped in some water if you need to rinse off the paste.

Using Hairspray

Another way how to get expo markers out of the couch is to use hairspray. It might sound weird but it works. If you regularly use hairspray, you can also use it for removing stains on your upholstered furniture.

Step 1 – Test the Hairspray on a Hidden Part First

To ensure that you do not replace one stain with another, test the hairspray on a hidden part of the couch first. I usually first test any cleaning product on the back or in between the cushions. If the hairspray stained your couch, do not proceed with this method or change brands to see if it works better.

Step 2 – Spray the Stain with Hairspray

Hold the hairspray can 6 inches away from the stain and then squeeze the nozzle for 5 seconds, or until you completely saturated the stain. Let the hairspray sit on the stain for around 10 seconds so it can soften the ink and make it easier to remove.

Almost all hair sprays contain alcohol, and this acts as a solvent to dissolve the ink.

Step 3 – Scrub the Stain off Using a Damp Clean Rag

Once the hairspray has had enough time to soften the ink, help it further by scrubbing the stain with a damp cloth. This will help rub the ink off the surface of the upholstery. It will also pick up the dissolved bits of ink.

Repeat the steps if necessary.

Helpful Tips

  • If you want to prevent a water stain from replacing the permanent ink stain you just removed, dry the wet spot immediately – You can blot the area with paper towels to soak up the water. You may also use a hairdryer set in a cold setting
  • Use hand sanitizer to remove stains – A hand sanitizer contains alcohol, which can dissolve the ink effectively. Also, because a hand sanitizer is in gel form, it does not dry as quickly as liquid alcohol. It tends to sit longer on the stain. This means that the alcohol has more time to soften the permanent marker ink


There are many solutions on how to get markers out of the couch. This is good news for many who have young children. If they like to write on all the surfaces they can reach, knowing how to get rid of permanent ink stains will come in handy.

Reserve professional upholstery cleaning only for the nastiest stains, mainly because their services are quite expensive. You can save a lot of money by doing the stain removal yourself. The methods mentioned above not only use regular household materials but also only take minutes to complete.

So the next time that you encounter permanent marker stains on your beloved couch, these how to get permanent marker out of couch methods will help you a lot.

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