Most classrooms and workspaces use dry-erase markers on whiteboards to write temporary notes. And if you spend your days in a school or office where dry-erase markers are used, you might come home one day with a marker stain on your clothes.
Dry-erase markers, unlike permanent markers, are relatively easy to remove from almost any surface, like a wall, skin, desk, glossy notebook cover, etc. But dry-erase markers tend to leave a stain when it comes to clothes. And if the stain is not fresh when you notice it, it can become a real problem.
But fret not! There is a way to tackle that problem as well.
What’s in a Dry Erase Marker?
Although dry-erase markers are used popularly among many institutions and workplaces, few people know what they are made of and what makes it so easy to wipe them in one swipe. If you want to know how to easily get rid of them, you’ll first have to understand how dry-erase markers work.
Dry-erase markers consist of three main ingredients: color pigments that make up the ink, a chemical solvent, and a polymer, also known as a release agent.
Release agent or polymer is where the main difference occurs between dry erase and permanent markers. While permanent markers use acrylic polymer that allows the pigment to stick to the surfaces, dry-erase markers use oily silicone polymer, which makes it easy to come out in a single wipe.
That said, dry-erase markers only easily come out if it’s the clothes we consider a surface. That happens because when the color pigments and polymer in dry-erase markers come in contact with the clothing fibers, they grit and get trapped in the fibers, unable to come out quickly. And that is what we call a stain.
But anything is possible, and removing dry-erase marker stains from your clothes is not an exception to this. Ensure you act on the cleaning solutions as soon as you notice the stain. The more time you give the stain to settle in your cloth, the more difficult it will be for you to get it out, and the more time you will have to spend cleaning the stain.
As for the cleaning methods, there are 5 for you in this article. The great thing is that each method uses products and supplies already in most households, like soda, toothpaste, white vinegar, hand sanitizer, etc. You don’t need to go out and get a unique product to get your stain out, making these steps much easier to perform. Additionally, all of these methods are pretty effective. If one doesn’t work particularly well for you, try switching up to another one mentioned here.
Keep reading for five ways to get a dry-erase marker stain out of clothes.
1. Laundry Detergent
Usually, you don’t need anything other than your good old laundry detergent to get a dry-erase marker stain out from your fabric. Although washing your cloth, as usual, might not get the stain out, applying just the laundry detergent on a fresh dry-erase marker stain will do the job.
This method is also the most feasible one because you, if not anything, will have a laundry detergent sitting around your washing area. Just take it out and follow the steps below.
- First, set up a flat surface where you can place your garment and which can get wet safely. We recommend setting up a plastic tablecloth or a shower curtain.
- Spread out a towel over this surface. It would be good if this towel is old because it might catch an ink stain you are removing from your garment.
- Set up your garment over the towel so that only the stained layer is resting on the towel. If the stained garment is pants or shorts, you can place the towel between the pants’ laps. The same goes for the sleeve of a shirt.
- Dampen the stain a little bit using a water gun spray.
- Take a teaspoon of laundry detergent and pour it right onto the stain in a way that completely covers it.
- Use a sponge or a cotton ball to rub the laundry detergent smoothly over the stain. Keep rubbing for a minute, no matter the froth.
- Pause periodically between the rubbing and wipe away the foam to see if the ink is fading. You will stop rubbing once you no longer see the ink.
- When that happens, rinse the garment under cool water, ensuring that the inky water does not get on other parts of the cloth.
- The process isn’t over yet. Launder the garment in the machine as you usually would. This will thoroughly remove the stain and any remaining detergent.
If this method doesn’t work for you somehow and the stain is still there, you have a more challenging stain on your hands. For that, there are some remedies involving other household items. Chances are, you probably have all the required items stocked up in your house already, so feel free to explore some of these options!
2. White Vinegar and Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol and white vinegar usually removes dry-erase marker stains pretty easily. However, some people report that the combination doesn’t work.
What has the most chance of working is if you rub the alcohol on the stain and then soak the cloth in white vinegar.
The rubbing alcohol will weaken the stain enough for the white vinegar to remove it entirely from your cloth.
Below are the steps you can follow to carry out this process.
- First, lay down paper towels behind the stain. The towels will catch the pigment that will come out while cleaning the stain.
- Second, use the alcohol-dipped cotton ball on the stain. Keep wiping, and this will get the ink out gradually.
- Take a bucket and fill it with warm water, adding one cup of distilled white vinegar.
- Put the stained cloth in the bucket and swish it for a minute or two.
- Let the cloth soak in the mixture for about 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, take the cloth out and rinse it with cool water.
- Check if there’s still any color there. If not, congratulations. If yes, repeat the process or try out other methods. The stain might be more complicated than we had anticipated.
3. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is often used in households to get almost all kinds of the stain out, except on clothing. While it may not remove the stain from your cloth, it will remove the ink, making the stain colorless and appear transparent, like a water stain. This basically means that even though a stain would technically exist, it wouldn’t be pretty visible – making this a viable option to exercise if you’re trying to remove dry-erase marker stains.
Hydrogen peroxide is also the main ingredient in most oxygen-based bleaches, which makes it a perfect choice for decoloring stains. It works by changing the chemical structure in the stains and making them appear clear or white.
That said, hydrogen peroxide can bleach clothing that is not colorfast. If you don’t know whether or not your garment is colorfast, you can do a spot test on a hidden area with a drop of hydrogen peroxide.
Once you are sure that your cloth is colorfast, do the following steps:
- Put the garment in the washing machine and add cold water and your usual detergent. Set the device on a regular wash.
- Add one cup of hydrogen peroxide to your bleach dispenser.
- Turn on the machine and run the cycle.
- Once the wash is over, check to see if the stain remains. If not, then our work is done. If yes, try out different methods.
5. Baking Soda and Toothpaste
If, by chance, you don’t have cleaning products like rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or white vinegar on your hands. You can try this method. It requires two of the most basic things in every household: toothpaste and baking soda.
Although toothpaste is a toiletry and baking soda is a kitchen ingredient, both can do wonders with cleaning stains. Baking soda and toothpaste can latch onto the fabric and remove the color stains. Baking soda is more often than not used as a cleaning agent in households.
Follow the steps below to remove your stain using toothpaste and baking soda.
- Use cool water to dampen the stained area of your cloth.
- Take a cotton ball, add a little toothpaste, and smudge it over the stain. Toothpaste can usually do this alone, but for additional effect, add half a teaspoon of baking on the stain to make the substance grittier.
- Now, leave the stain for two hours.
- After two hours, take a clean and wet paper towel to wipe the baking soda and toothpaste from your cloth.
- Now, rinse the cloth under cool water. Your stain will be gone. If it is still there, you can try out different methods.
6. Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is another cleaning agent and bacteria killer found in most households, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is used to clean your hands of germs and bacteria, it can also be used to clean stains, especially if you have no other option.
This method is usually for people with a dry-erase marker stain on their garment in public and who need to get it off urgently. Hand sanitizers can help you best in such situations.
Hand sanitizers are made with alcohol, and alcohol can dissolve many stains, especially if they are ink stains. However, hand sanitizers primarily work if the stain is fresh and you act quickly.
To remove a fresh dry-erase marker stain with hand sanitizer, follow the steps below.
- Take a hand sanitizer and squirt some drops directly on the stain. Make sure the drops cover the surface of the stain.
- Use a clean towel, paper towel, or even cotton ball to rub the sanitizer on the stain. Keep massaging in a circular motion for a minute or two.
- Let it sit for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, rinse the stain under cold water, making sure that the inky water does not get on other parts of the garment. That could create a bigger problem, and we don’t want that to happen.
- Check if any dry-erase marker ink is still there. If it is, it would mean that the stain was not fresh enough to be removed with the hand sanitizer, and you need to follow different methods to get it out. In that case, revert back to the ways described previously.
While dry-erase markers are generally easy to wipe from most surfaces, they can leave a stain on the fabric. This tends to happen because the dry-erase marker gets trapped inside the fabric of a cloth. Usually, a fresh stain can quickly be taken out with water. But if it is too late when you notice it and the stain is not new, it can be a real problem getting it out.
Although a simple, regular wash does the job most of the time, in some cases, it does not. That is why we have explained to you five methods, step-by-step, you can follow to get a dry-erase marker stain out of your cloth.
Performing these methods is easy and convenient and will definitely get the stain out because most of them are generally-used household items and also work as cleaning agents to some extent. I hope this article helped you in getting a dry-erase marker stain out of your garment.