How to Get Dry Erase Marker Out of Fabric and Leather Couches

Updated April 29th, 2024
cleaning dry erase marker ink from couch

Dry erase markers, ideal for whiteboards, can end up marking couches accidentally, especially when you have kids. But don’t worry, there are methods to get dry erase marker out of couches, whether they are made of fabric, microfiber, or leather.

Understanding Dry Erase Marker Ink

Dry erase marker ink differs from permanent markers in its composition. It includes an oily silicone polymer designed not to adhere to non-porous surfaces like whiteboards. Unfortunately, this type of ink can penetrate porous materials such as couch fabrics, where it leaves a visible mark. The ink’s mixture of pigments and solvents requires specific products to dissolve these pigments effectively.

Get Dry Eraser Marker Ink Out of Fabric Couches

Cleaning Preparation

When tackling a stain on fabric couches, you must understand the material you’re dealing with, as couches can be made from linen, cotton, wool, polyester, microfiber, acrylic, nylon, or chenille.

The first step is always to conduct a spot test on an inconspicuous area to ensure that the cleaning method won’t damage the fabric. This simple test takes only a few minutes and could save your couch from further damage.

Rubbing Alcohol or Acetone

For removing marks from fabric couches, rubbing alcohol or acetone is often effective. Begin by testing a small, hidden section of your couch with rubbing alcohol or acetone using a soft cloth or cotton balls. If there’s no fabric discoloration, apply the cleaner to the stain using a fresh cotton ball or another section of the cloth. Let the cleaner sit for no more than 20 seconds before gently wiping it away. Repeat as needed, and use a cool blow dryer to help see if the stain persists. If remnants of the stain remain, continue the process until it’s gone, then clean the area with upholstery or carpet shampoo to remove any residual cleaner.

Murphy Oil Soap

Another option is Murphy Oil Soap, traditionally used for cleaning wood but also effective on fabric couches. After a spot test, apply a small amount of Murphy Oil Soap with a soft cloth or a clean toothbrush. Work the soap gently into the fabric and periodically check if the marker is lifting. Clean the area with a damp cloth afterward and dry it with a hairdryer on a cool setting.

Hair Spray

Hair spray can also be an alternative cleaning solution, especially if it contains alcohol. After testing on a small patch, spray it directly onto the stained area and wipe clean with a soft cloth.

Cleaning Dry Erase Marker Ink from Leather Couches

For leather couches, which are more durable but also sensitive, choose a cleaning product carefully. Effective options include rubbing alcohol, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, spray-on sunscreen, acetone-containing nail polish remover, or insect repellent. Test your chosen product on a hidden area with a soft cloth. Once you’re sure the cleaner is safe for the leather, apply it to the cloth and then to the stain, allowing it to sit briefly before wiping it away gently. Repeat until the marker is fully removed and pat the area dry with a clean towel.

person cleaning leather couch

Cleaning dry erase marker stains from couches, whether fabric or leather, requires careful selection of cleaning agents and methods. A quick response is ideal for easier stain removal. If your couch is old and the stains persist, it might be a good opportunity to consider a new couch that could revitalize the look and feel of your living room.

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