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Permanent markers are great because they allow us to make notes or labels without worrying about the mark coming off like a dry erase marker. However, this same permanent ink isn’t as loved when accidentally staining clothes or shoes. Learning how to get Sharpie marks off shoes is crucial to keeping your shoes looking new after making an accidental mark.
Getting a stain on your shoes feels like the end of the world because shoes aren’t as easily replaceable as shirts or pants. Additionally, shoes come in various fabrics, not all of which clean as easily as a regular canvas shoe.
Shoes made of suede are more delicate than standard polyester sneakers, and leather shoes require a certain amount of care to keep them looking good for years to come.
How to Remove Sharpie Marks from Shoes
Because Sharpies are permanent markers and designed not to lift, it takes more than soap and water to remove stains from your shoes. Continue reading to discover many options for getting permanent marker ink off your shoes.
Getting a stain on your shoe can happen fast as you can drop a Sharpie, or if you mark your hands and touch your shoe, you could transfer color onto your white shoe. Without proper knowledge of how to remove Sharpie marks from shoes, you may never get the stain out.
Eliminate Sharpie Stains with Rubbing Alcohol
To remove marker stains on canvas shoes, use the dissolving power of rubbing alcohol to break down the stain and lift the ink. Despite how good a cleaner rubbing alcohol is, it’s gentle enough to use on many shoe materials.
Use your cotton ball and rubbing alcohol to clean the ink mark on your shoe and see the stain coming away. Wipe any remaining marker from the fabric using a damp cloth.
Note: Hydrogen peroxide is a suitable replacement for rubbing alcohol.
Is Hand Sanitizer a Good Stain Remover?
It might be odd to think of hand sanitizer as a tool for removing a black Sharpie mark; however, it does work. Hand sanitizer is made chiefly of alcohol to kill germs and bacteria, which means hand sanitizer can break down stains on the fabric of your shoes.
Use a cotton swab or your fingers to work a small amount of sanitizer onto the stain on your shoes. Clean the spot with paper towels or a sponge until all ink is gone.
Note: Because some sanitizers have a gel-like consistency and are not always liquid, do not use them on suede leather.
Getting Sharpie Marks Off Leather Shoes with Vinegar
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Vinegar is a household staple you should always have on hand for random cleaning jobs like getting permanent marker ink out of your favorite pair of shoes. Vinegar’s acidic properties make it ideal for breaking down build-up and stains, and it’s gentle enough to make getting Sharpie marks off leather shoes easy.
To clean paint off leather boots or eliminate permanent marker stains, mix equal parts vinegar and water, and use a clean rag to wipe at the permanent marker ink or paint. Keep wiping and using different parts of the rag until the stain is gone. Once your shoe is clean, use a leather conditioner to keep the shoe supple and moist.
Using Peanut Butter to Clean Marker Stains
If you’re trying to determine how to remove Sharpie marks from shoes, creamy peanut butter probably doesn’t come to mind. Like fabric markers, Sharpies are not water-soluble, and the oils in peanut butter help lift the ink from the fabric.
Apply peanut butter to the ink stain on your shoe and use a soft brush to gently work the peanut butter into the stain until it lifts. Wet a rag to clean your shoe until your shoe is free of ink and peanut butter.
Sunscreen as a Stain Remover
Sunscreen is a surprising tool to remove ink stains, but it works when sprayed onto a non-porous surface and practically melts ink away. Sunscreen may stain fabrics, though, so use it on nonabsorbent shoe materials like leather or the rubber parts of your shoes.
Spray a rag or cloth with sunscreen and use it to blot the ink stain on your shoe. You should notice the ink coming away onto the fabric; if not, spray a bit of sunscreen directly onto the stain and continue to blot until clean. Use a damp cloth to wipe away leftover sunscreen once the stain is gone.
Scrub Away Stains with a Magic Eraser
Melamine foam is used across numerous industries, but commercially it is the main component in sponges like the Magic Eraser. The foam is slightly abrasive and makes quick work of stains and other kinds of build-up with a bit of water.
Wet a Magic Eraser and scrub ink stains on your shoes. Due to the texture of the foam, don’t use a Magic Eraser for getting Sharpie marks off leather shoes. Due to the Magic Eraser needing water to work efficiently, it’s not the ideal tool for removing ink from suede either.
Remove an Ink Stain with Nail Polish Remover
We use solvents across many fields to remove acrylic paint and varnish from surfaces, and one of the most popular solvents is the acetone found in nail polish remover. Acetone nail polish remover quickly breaks down color on nails and works just as well when removing stubborn stains from your shoes.
Wipe the permanent marker stain with the swab covered in the polish remover. Continue to swab the area until the nail polish remover saturates the stain and lifts it onto the swab.
How to Remove Sharpie Marks from Shoes with Hair Spray
Hair spray is an unusual tool for removing Sharpie stains that you might not have thought about. Some brands of hair spray include alcohol in their list of ingredients, which is crucial to getting the stain out of your shoes.
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Coat a cotton ball with hair spray and press it into the ink stain, and as you saturate the Sharpie marker stain with hair spray, watch as the stain lifts and transfers to the cotton ball. To avoid restaining your shoe, switch cotton balls as one becomes dirty to continue lifting the stain.
This solution also works to get pen ink out of pants and fabric. Use dabbing rather than rubbing motions so you don’t damage the material.
How to Get Sharpie Marks Off Shoes with Toothpaste
The brightening power of toothpaste extends beyond your teeth as the grit toothpaste contains makes it effective for working a stain out of your shoe fabric. Some toothpaste brands also include baking soda in their formulas; this adds to the brightening power, though it may cause the colors in your shoes to fade.
For unwelcome stains and the best way to clean white mesh shoes at home, use white non-gel toothpaste and work the paste into the shoe using a rag. Leave the toothpaste on the stain for ten minutes before wiping it away. Use a wet rag to clean away remaining toothpaste from your shoe.
Remove Stains with WD-40
Although we typically use WD-40 to loosen metal parts by lubricating rust and grime, WD-40 contains alcohol which makes it helpful in removing stains. Because of its almost oily texture, test a small patch of your shoe before using WD-40.
Apply WD-40 to the stain and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with an old toothbrush. Once clean, wipe the area with a damp cloth.
You may find that WD-40 works for getting beach tar off shoes, as well. Scrape off as much tar as you can before applying the WD-40.
Cleaning Ink Stains from White Shoes
Baking soda is a household staple because of its versatility in deodorizing the refrigerator and its usefulness in cleaning. Baking soda also has slight whitening properties, making it ideal when you need to restore a white surface or fabric to its original condition.
Water and baking soda create a paste to spread across the stained portion of your shoe. To get pen ink off white leather shoes, scrub the stain with an old toothbrush until it lifts from the fabric. Wipe away the paste with a rag and reapply if needed until the stain is gone.
Removing Marker Stains from Suede Leather
Suede is a delicate fabric, but removing ink stains from suede shoes is still simple. To avoid damaging the texture of your suede, skip using water, and stick to rubbing alcohol to lift the stain.
To easily get permanent marker off leather or suede, dip your cotton swab into rubbing alcohol and press the swab against a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Once your swab is not dripping with liquid, gently blot the stained suede of your shoes.
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As you blot the stain, you’ll see the ink lifting onto the cotton swab. Use a towel to absorb leftover moisture on your suede once it’s clean. If the stain remains and rubbing alcohol does not lift it, use a nail file to scrub the stain gently. Use a suede brush to maintain the texture and feel of the suede.
Use Milk to Eliminate Ink Stains
The solution may be in the fridge if you need to remove black Sharpie stains or paint pen stains from your shoes. Because whole milk has a high-fat content, it effectively removes stains if given time to soak.
Depending on where your stain is on the shoe and how large it is, you may need to soak the entire shoe. Soak it for at least half an hour or overnight for darker stains. Thoroughly rinse your shoe after soaking to remove all traces of milk.
Scrub Stains with Lemon Juice
Lemons are acidic, and using lemon juice on stains is an easy way to dissolve color pigments in fabric. Like bleach and baking soda, lemon juice may discolor the fabric of your shoes, so test in a small area first if you’re cleaning colored shoes.
Mix the water and lemon juice well before dipping the toothbrush and applying it to the ink stain on your shoe. Allow the lemon juice mixture to sit on the stain for five minutes before scrubbing to remove the stain. Use a cloth to blot the stain until the ink is gone.
Try this remedy to get Sharpie off the wall, too. Test a tiny area first just like with your shoes to ensure the paint will not come off the wall.
Lift Ink Stains with Bleach
If you have a marker stain on white shoes, bleach is the ultimate way to remove discoloration. Because bleach fades the color of fabrics, so avoid using chlorine bleach on colored shoes. To clean colored shoes, try all-fabric bleach that does not bleed colors.
Add bleach to a cup of water and use a toothbrush to wet the ink stain on your shoes. Let the diluted bleach soak into the stain for a few minutes before scrubbing with the brush. Rinse your shoe in cold water. Repeat the bleach treatment if needed until the stain is gone.
Caution When Cleaning Shoes
Some of the best cleaning methods involve harsh cleaners like bleach and baking soda. When working with strong cleaners like hydrogen peroxide or bleach, always use them in a well-ventilated area. Because skin irritation may occur, wear gloves to protect your hands during cleaning sessions.
To avoid ruining the condition of your shoes, always perform a patch test in a small inconspicuous area to determine how a cleaner reacts to the fabric of your shoes. If there is no change in the color of the fabric of your shoes, the cleaner is safe to use on the stain.
You can often remove permanent marker stains from your shoes if you make a mistake or have an accident. The best method depends on the shoe you’re cleaning and what household items you have.
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