how to get dry-erase marker out of clothes

how to get dry erase marker out of clothes

Dry-erase markers are incredibly useful in classrooms, offices, and homes, but they can become a nightmare when they accidentally stain your clothes. Unlike regular markers, dry-erase markers contain pigments, solvents, and resin that can make removing stains tricky. However, with the right techniques and a bit of patience, you can successfully remove these stains.

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to get dry-erase markers out of clothes, along with some frequently asked questions to help you keep your wardrobe looking pristine.

how to get dry-erase marker out of clothes

Before jumping into removal techniques, it’s important to understand what you’re dealing with. Dry-erase marker stains consist of pigments that provide color, a solvent that keeps the pigment in liquid form, and a resin that helps the marker adhere to surfaces. When these elements combine on fabric, they can create a tough stain that requires specific methods to remove effectively.

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Dry Erase Marker Stains

1. Act Quickly

The sooner you address the stain, the better your chances of removing it completely. As soon as you notice the stain, start the cleaning process. Immediate action prevents the ink from setting deeper into the fabric fibers, making it easier to remove.

2. Blot the Stain

Begin by blotting the stain with a clean, dry cloth to remove any excess marker ink. Avoid rubbing the stain, as this can push the ink deeper into the fabric and spread it further. Gently dab the stained area to lift as much ink as possible before applying any cleaning agents.

3. Use an Alcohol-Based Solution

One of the most effective methods for removing dry-erase marker stains is using an alcohol-based solution. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Materials Needed:
    • Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol)
    • Cotton balls or a clean cloth
    • Mild detergent
    • Warm water
  • Procedure:
    1. Place the stained fabric on a clean towel, stain side down. This setup allows the ink to transfer to the towel instead of spreading on the fabric.
    2. Dampen a cotton ball or cloth with rubbing alcohol. Ensure it’s adequately soaked but not dripping.
    3. Blot the back of the stain, pushing the ink into the towel underneath. This method helps lift the ink out of the fabric fibers.
    4. Rinse the area with warm water to remove the alcohol and loosened ink.
    5. Apply a small amount of mild detergent to the stained area.
    6. Gently rub the detergent into the stain using your fingers or a soft brush, then rinse thoroughly.
    7. Launder the garment as usual, following the care instructions on the label.

4. Try a Vinegar and Baking Soda Solution

If alcohol doesn’t completely remove the stain, you can try a vinegar and baking soda solution. This method works well on delicate fabrics and is a great alternative to harsher chemicals.

  • Materials Needed:
    • White vinegar
    • Baking soda
    • Water
    • A soft brush
  • Procedure:
    1. Mix one part white vinegar with one part water to create a diluted solution.
    2. Apply the solution to the stain and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Vinegar helps break down the ink particles.
    3. Sprinkle baking soda over the vinegar solution on the stain. The reaction between vinegar and baking soda can help lift the stain.
    4. Gently scrub the area with a soft brush in circular motions to avoid damaging the fabric.
    5. Rinse thoroughly with water to remove any residue from the vinegar and baking soda.
    6. Launder the garment according to the care instructions.

5. Use Commercial Stain Removers

There are various commercial stain removers designed to tackle tough stains like dry erase marker ink. These products are formulated to break down the ink and remove it from fabrics effectively. Follow the instructions on the product’s label for the best results.

  • Popular Products:
    • OxiClean: Known for its powerful stain-fighting capabilities.
    • Shout Advanced Gel: Effective on set-in stains and easy to apply.
    • Zout Stain Remover: Targets protein stains and other tough marks.

6. Repeat if Necessary

Sometimes, it may take more than one attempt to completely remove the stain. If you notice any remaining ink after the first wash, repeat the process until the stain is gone. Persistence is key when dealing with stubborn stains, so don’t be discouraged if it takes several tries.

Tips for Different Types of Fabrics

Different fabrics require different care when removing stains. Here are some tips for specific types of fabrics to ensure you treat them correctly:

Cotton and Polyester

  • Alcohol-Based Solution: Safe and effective for most cotton and polyester garments. These fabrics are generally durable and can handle the rubbing alcohol method without damage.
  • Vinegar and Baking Soda: A gentle alternative that works well on these fabrics, especially if you’re concerned about using harsh chemicals.

Wool and Silk

  • Vinegar and Baking Soda: Use a diluted vinegar solution to avoid damaging the fabric. Wool and silk are delicate and can be sensitive to harsh treatments.
  • Professional Cleaning: For delicate fabrics like wool and silk, consider taking the garment to a professional cleaner. They have specialized methods to handle delicate materials without causing harm.


  • Alcohol-Based Solution: Effective for removing dry-erase marker stains from denim. Denim is a sturdy fabric that can handle the alcohol method.
  • Stain Removers: Commercial stain removers work well on tough denim stains. Follow the product instructions carefully to ensure the best results.

Preventing Future Stains

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some tips to prevent dry erase marker stains on your clothes:

  • Wear Protective Clothing: When using dry erase markers, consider wearing an apron or old clothes to protect your regular wardrobe.
  • Be Mindful: Be aware of your surroundings and avoid accidental contact with markers. Keeping markers capped when not in use can also help.
  • Use Water-Based Markers: If possible, switch to water-based markers, which are easier to remove from clothing. They offer a similar writing experience without the same staining risks.

Read more… How To Get Paint Out Of Clothes


Q1: Can dry-erase marker stains be removed after they have been set?

A: Yes, it is possible to remove set-in dry-erase marker stains, but it may require multiple treatments and more effort. Using an alcohol-based solution or commercial stain remover can help lift the stain over time. Be persistent and patient, and consider professional cleaning if home methods don’t work.

Q2: Are there any home remedies for removing dry-erase marker stains?

A: Yes, home remedies such as rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, and baking soda can be effective in removing dry-erase marker stains from clothes. These methods are often as effective as commercial products and can be done with items you already have at home.

Q3: Can I use bleach to remove dry-erase marker stains?

A: Bleach is not recommended for removing dry-erase marker stains as it can damage the fabric and may not effectively remove the ink. It is better to use alcohol-based solutions or commercial stain removers. Bleach can also cause discoloration, making the stain even more noticeable.

Q4: What should I do if the stain persists after several attempts?

A: If the stain persists after several attempts, consider taking the garment to a professional cleaner. They have specialized tools and solutions that can effectively remove tough stains. Professionals can often achieve better results with less risk of damaging your clothing.

Q5: Is it safe to use rubbing alcohol on all types of fabric?

A: Rubbing alcohol is safe for most fabrics, but it is always a good idea to test it on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it does not cause any damage or discoloration. Some fabrics, especially delicate ones, can react negatively to alcohol, so always test before applying widely.


Removing dry-erase marker stains from clothes can be challenging, but with the right techniques and a bit of patience, you can successfully restore your garments. Act quickly, use effective solutions like rubbing alcohol or vinegar and baking soda and follow up with thorough washing. By understanding the stain and using the appropriate methods, you can keep your clothes looking clean and fresh.

Whether you’re dealing with a fresh stain or a set-in mark, this guide provides you with all the information you need to tackle dry-erase marker stains effectively. Keep these tips handy, and you’ll be prepared the next time you encounter an unexpected stain.

Remember, the key to successful stain removal is persistence and using the right methods for the fabric type. With this comprehensive guide, you can confidently remove dry-erase marker stains and maintain your wardrobe’s pristine condition.

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