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How to Remove Permanent Markers from Carpet?

how to remove permanent markers from carpet

If you have young kids at home, you will need to know how to remove permanent markers on the carpet. This will happen sooner or later, so learning how to do it now will give you a head-start.

Getting your stained carpet professionally cleaned can sometimes get quite expensive. If you want to save some money, you should try the following methods on how to remove black permanent marker from the carpet first to see if you can handle them yourself.

Step-by-Step Guide

Using Acetone

using acetone

What to prepare:

  • Acetone
  • Cotton balls/pads

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Do a test spot

Before you use the acetone or nail polish remover on the stain, you should do a test spot first. This will let you know if the acetone would not make things worse rather than help it. Dip a cotton ball in the acetone and then dab it at a part of the carpet that is not visible.

One place that you can consider is a small part of the carpet that is underneath your furniture. Dab the acetone-soaked cotton ball on the test spot and wait around five minutes to check if it will cause any kind of discoloration. Once you learn that the acetone will not discolor the carpet, you can proceed.

Step 2 – Apply the acetone on the ink stain

Dip another cotton ball into the acetone and then press it firmly onto the ink stain. Do not rub the stain as you might smudge and spread the stain even more. The acetone should be able to soften the dried ink, which will then be absorbed into the cotton ball.

Step 3 – Repeat as much as necessary

If the cotton ball has gotten quite dirty, you should replace it with a new one. Continue blotting and pulling out the stain from the fibers of the carpet.

Using Rubbing Alcohol

using rubbing alcohol

If you do not have acetone on hand, you can also use rubbing alcohol. However, rubbing alcohol is not as potent as acetone, so you will have to use a bit more rubbing alcohol to get the same result.

What to prepare:

  • Rubbing alcohol – You should use rubbing alcohol that’s at least 70% solution.
  • Cotton balls/pads

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Apply alcohol on the test spot

To make sure that the rubbing alcohol will not be causing any discoloration, you should apply it on an area that is not visible. It could be a corner placed under furniture or a section under the carpet. Although rubbing alcohol is not likely to discolor or fade the color of your carpet, it is still best to tread on the side of caution.

Step 2 – Blot the stain with alcohol

Douse a cotton ball or pad with rubbing alcohol and then press it on the permanent marker stain. Blot the entire ink stain until the cotton ball cannot pull out any more ink. If the cotton ball is saturated with ink, replace it with a new one so you will not spread the ink even more. Repeat until you have removed all of the ink from the carpet.

Step 3 – Allow the spot to dry completely

Rubbing alcohol dries quickly so you do not need to wait that long. However, you should avoid stepping on the recently cleaned area. Also, if the cleaned area is significantly cleaner compared to the rest of the carpet, then you should consider getting the entire thing cleaned.

Using Gel Hand Sanitizer

using gel hand sanitizer

You most likely have gel hand sanitizer in your home or your EDC (everyday carry) bag. Hand sanitizer contains alcohol, so it could potentially work on your carpet stain. However, because of its thicker consistency, it should be easier to work with compared to regular rubbing alcohol.

What to prepare:

  • Gel hand sanitizer, preferably unscented and not containing any color
  • Cotton balls/pads

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Do a test patch

If you only have hand sanitizer that is colored and scented, it would be best to do a test patch first just to be on the safe side. The coloring agent might just add more stains to your carpet.

Try applying a bit of hand sanitizer on a hidden patch of carpet, like the underside of a corner. If you find that your hand sanitizer does not stain or discolor the carpet, then you can continue with the following steps.

Step 2 – Apply the gel hand sanitizer

Grab your bottle of hand sanitizer and then squirt a liberal amount of it on the stain. Rub the hand sanitizer into the permanent ink stain. You will know that the hand sanitizer is working if the gel is starting to change color.

Step 3 – Dab off the hand sanitizer

Before the hand sanitizer starts to evaporate, grab a couple of cotton balls and pick up the residue. You will need to act quickly because the stain will spread out if you do not pick up the hand sanitizer immediately.

Continue dabbing the hand sanitizer until the area has dried. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you’ve gotten rid of all traces of the stain.


If you know how to remove permanent markers from the carpet, then you have one more thing that you will no longer be surprised about. Even if your kids, or you, accidentally wrote on the carpet with a permanent marker, you already know how to deal with it without having to spend a lot of money on professional stain removal.

You will be saving quite a lot of money by using regular household items, which means you do not have to spend anything at all. However, if you find that the methods above did not help, then you have to get your carpet professionally cleaned or else risk ruining it further.