Easy Trick to Remove Permanent Marker from Clothes with Hand Sanitizer

Have you ever accidentally gotten permanent marker on your favorite clothing or your child’s school uniform? It’s frustrating when mistakes happen, but it’s even worse when the stain won’t come out no matter how much you scrub. Luckily, there is a solution that you may not have thought of before: hand sanitizer. Yes, that’s right, the same product you use to keep your hands clean can also remove permanent marker from clothing.

Why Hand Sanitizer Works

The reason that hand sanitizer is effective at removing permanent marker is due to its high alcohol content. Many hand sanitizers contain 60% or more alcohol, which acts as a solvent that can dissolve the ink and break it down. Additionally, the consistency of hand sanitizer makes it easier to work with on fabric and less daunting than using bleach or other harsh chemicals.

How to Remove Permanent Marker with Hand Sanitizer

Before you start, it’s important to know that hand sanitizer can discolor certain types of clothing, such as silk or delicate fabrics. Always test a small, inconspicuous area of the clothing first to make sure the sanitizer won’t cause damage. If the test area looks fine, you can proceed with the following steps:

  • Saturate the stained area with hand sanitizer and let it sit for 15-30 seconds.
  • Blot the area with a clean cloth or paper towel. You should see the ink transferring onto the cloth.
  • Rinse with cold water.
  • If the stain is still visible, repeat the process until it disappears completely.
  • Wash the clothing as you normally would, but do not use hot water or put it in the dryer until the stain is completely gone.

Things to Keep in Mind

While hand sanitizer can be a useful tool for removing permanent marker, there are some things to keep in mind:

  • Not all hand sanitizers are created equal. Look for one with a high alcohol content, ideally 60% or more.
  • Hand sanitizer may not work on all types of permanent marker or all types of fabric. It’s always a good idea to test it first in an inconspicuous area.
  • If the stain has been there for a long time, it may be more difficult to remove. Don’t give up after just one try.
  • Never use hand sanitizer on leather or suede clothing, as it can cause damage.

Alternative Methods for Removing Permanent Marker

If you don’t have hand sanitizer on hand or don’t feel comfortable using it on your clothing, there are other methods you can try. Here are a few:

  • Hairspray: Spray the stained area with hairspray and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, blot with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  • Vinegar: Mix equal parts vinegar and water and soak the stained area for 30 minutes. Then, wash the clothing as normal.
  • Milk: Soak the stained area in milk for a few hours, then wash as normal.
  • Baking soda and toothpaste: Mix a small amount of baking soda and toothpaste together and apply to the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse with cold water.


Removing permanent marker from clothing can be a daunting task, but with the help of hand sanitizer or one of the alternative methods listed above, it’s definitely possible. Just remember to test a small area first and don’t give up if the stain doesn’t come out right away. With a little patience and persistence, you can salvage your favorite clothing and avoid having to buy a new one.

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