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How To Remove Dry Erase Marker From Clothes

If you use a markerboard in your office or classroom, you have probably come home after a long day to discover a big ink stain on your clothing once or twice! This kind of stain will not easily wash out of cloth. But you don’t need to throw away your stained clothing because you can easily learn how to remove dry erase marker from clothes!

The best way to remove dry erase marker stains from clothes is to use Murphy’s Oil Soap to blot the stain. Other household products like hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, or toothpaste can also remove these stains. Commercial cleaning products like OxiClean or some stain removers can also work.

In this article, you will find eight easy ways to get dry erase marker out of your clothing. You will find out what makes this type of ink so hard to get out of fabric. Finally, you will learn how to handle set-in stains in clothing you have already washed!

How To Remove Dry Erase Marker From Clothes

Does Dry Erase Marker Come Out of Clothes?

Dry erase marker ink will come out of clothes when treated with the proper solvent. But the special oily polymer used in this type of ink does mean that dry erase marker stains will not wash out easily when treated with soap and water.

Dry erase markers such as Expo markers or Crayola dry erase markers contain three main ingredients in ink. Like permanent markers, this ink has color pigment particles, a solvent to carry the pigments, and a polymer to help the pigments adhere to a solid surface. The kind of polymer used in ink makes dry-erase ink different from any other type of ink.

Dry erase marker ink uses a special type of polymer that contains an oily kind of silicone plastic. It will rest on surfaces, but it does not stick to or bond with the surface like the polymers in permanent marker ink. Instead, it will easily peel away from many surfaces, such as smooth glass or the surface of a whiteboard!

Of course, this does not mean that the polymer will easily come out of fabric. It has the opposite effect. The polymer and solvent in a dry erase marker are not water-soluble, meaning they cannot dissolve into water. When this kind of ink touches cloth, the microscopically small color pigments become embedded in the fabric fibers and do not dissolve when soaked in water.

Dry erase marker ink will even float in water! If you draw on a glass bowl and then fill it with water, you will see the ink shapes float up to the surface of the water. This happens because the thick dry-erase ink has that oily silicone in it and can’t dissolve in water the way a washable marker ink does.

If you want to get this kind of ink out of fabric, you have to use something that actually can dissolve the polymer and solvent, such as alcohol. You can also use products like OxiClean that will alter the molecular structure of the color pigments and make it look as if the color has bleached away.

How To Remove Dry Erase Marker From Clothes: 10 Methods

You can use several common household products like toothpaste, vinegar, and rubbing alcohol to get dry remove dry erase marker from clothes. Commercial products like OxiClean or stain removers will often do the trick as well.

1. Murphy’s Oil

Murphy Oil SoapOne of the most effective ways to quickly get Expo marker ink out of clothes is to use Murphy’s Oil Soap. Murphy’s Oil Soap has a long history as a popular household cleaner for anything wooden, such as furniture or floors. But this unique soap has an oil base rather than a water base, and it will quickly remove dry erase ink from fabric!

You can find Murphy’s Oil Soap for sale at most grocery stores or places like Walmart in the cleaning supplies aisle. But, of course, you can also order it online! This soap has a strong smell but is not dangerous to touch and the fumes will not harm you.

To use Murphy’s Oil Soap on a dry erase marker stain:

  1. Fold up a wad of paper towels or a clean rag and insert it behind the stained area, so that ink will not soak into any other parts of the garment.
  2. Pour a small amount of Murphy’s Oil Soap right onto the stain. For small marker stains, you will only need about a quarter teaspoon. You may need as much as a teaspoon for larger stains to thoroughly cover the whole stain.
  3. Let the soap sit for one minute.
  4. Use another clean rag or toothbrush to gently scrub the stain.
  5. Rinse away the suds under cool running water, making sure you do not let the water splash onto other parts of the garment. This could carry some of the ink onto other parts of your clothing.
  6. Check the stained area to see if any ink remains.

2. White Vinegar and Rubbing Alcohol

VinegarUsing rubbing alcohol and white vinegar in combination will often remove dry erase marker stains as well. While some people do report successfully using rubbing alcohol by itself, usually, this does not work. Instead, you need the combination of rubbing alcohol followed by a soak in white vinegar to get that stubborn ink out of the clothing.

  1. Place a stack of paper towels or a clean towel or washcloth behind the stain. This will catch any escaping color pigments that might otherwise stick to new areas of the garment!
  2. Next, soak a cotton ball with a generous portion of rubbing alcohol. If you have a stronger percentage of Isopropyl rubbing alcohol, you will have a better chance of getting the ink out quickly.
  3. Dab at the marker stain with the cotton ball. You may not see the color coming away instantly, but keep gently dabbing for a minute.
  4. Fill a bucket with warm water and measure in one cup of distilled white vinegar.
  5. Place the stained garment in the bucket and swish it around a few times.
  6. Let it soak for fifteen minutes.
  7. Rinse it out under cool running water in your sink, and check if any color remains!

3. Hairspray

In some cases, hairspray will get dry erase marker stains out of clothing, depending on the ingredients in the hairspray, though. In the past, hairspray often contained alcohol, but many modern brands no longer use alcohol as an ingredient.

That said, if you have a little bottle of hairspray in your purse, you can try this method in a pinch to see if it works!

  1. As always, you will want to place something behind the stain before you begin this process.
  2. Spritz hairspray directly onto the stain.
  3. While the hairspray is still wet, use a damp sponge or wet paper towel to blot at the stain. If you see the color come away onto the paper towel, the hairspray is working! If not, your hairspray may not contain enough alcohol to work well.
  4. Once most of the color has come away, rinse the stained area under running water.

4. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen PeroxideHydrogen peroxide often works on any kind of ink stain, including the ink from Expo markers! It will not remove the ink from the clothing, but this common household product can un-color ink stains. Hydrogen peroxide is one of the main ingredients in most oxygen-based bleaches like OxiClean.

Hydrogen peroxide changes the chemical structure inside these stains and makes them appear clear or white instead of colorful.

That said, peroxide can bleach some clothing if it is not colorfast. Therefore, you should do a spot test on a hidden area of the garment with just a drop of peroxide before applying it to the stain.

  1. After making sure that your clothing is colorfast, place it in your washing machine.
  2. Use cold water and a normal wash, as well as your usual detergent.
  3. Before turning on the machine, pour one cup of hydrogen peroxide into the bleach dispenser in your machine.
  4. Run the cycle all the way through.
  5. Check to see if the stain remains!

5. Hand Sanitizer

Most hand sanitizers are mostly made of alcohol, which can dissolve many ink stains. If you get an Expo marker stain on your clothing while you’re in public, try using a dab of hand sanitizer to quickly remove it while the stain is fresh!

  1. Squirt a little sanitizer directly onto the stain. You only need enough to cover the surface of the marker ink.
  2. Use a clean paper towel or cotton ball to rub the sanitizer in circular motions for a minute.
  3. Let the sanitizer sit for fifteen minutes.
  4. Rinse the area under cold water, making sure you do not run the inky water onto other parts of the garment.
  5. Check to see if any dry erase ink remains!

6. OxiClean

OxiCleanOxiClean is a popular commercial oxygen bleach that can remove many types of ink stains, including dry erase marker ink. Crayola suggests OxiClean as one of the best ways to remove dry erase stains from clothes!

  1. Rinse the stain under hot running water.
  2. Put your clothing in the washing machine, but add a soaking stage to the wash cycle.
  3. Add laundry detergent and use the bleach spout to measure the amount of OxiClean recommended for a load of laundry. Usually, this is just one capful or scoop but refer to the instructions on the package.
  4. Run the washing machine and allow it to have a one-hour soak in the middle of the cycle before it rinses. This gives the oxygen bleach time to work.
  5. Finally, allow the washing machine to finish, and check your clothes to see if the marker came out!

7. Toothpaste and Baking Soda

Baking sodaIf you don’t have any cleaning products handy, you can try using toothpaste or toothpaste mixed with baking soda on the stain! This method does take a little while, though.

Toothpaste and baking soda have a great ability to grit into the fabric and work out those tiny color pigments. In fact, baking soda is an effective treatment for many types of stains.

  1. Dampen the stained area of your clothing with cool water.
  2. Use a cotton ball or clean rag to rub a smudge of toothpaste over the stain. For added effect, add a half teaspoon of baking soda to make the substance more gritty.
  3. Once you have rubbed this firmly into the stain, allow it to sit for an hour and a half.
  4. Use a clean, damp paper towel to wipe away most toothpaste and baking soda.
  5. Rinse the area under cool water again.

8. Laundry Detergent

Indeed, washing your clothes will not usually remove Expo marker stains, but in some cases, directly applying laundry detergent to a fresh stain will work. You will also need a good bit of elbow grease for this method!

  1. First, set up a flat surface that you can safely get wet. You may want to work on a plastic tablecloth or clean shower curtain laid on a table or the floor.
  2. Spread out an old towel over this surface.
  3. Arrange your stained garment so that only the single layer of stained fabric rests on top of the towel.
  4. Use a spray bottle to dampen the garment with clean water.
  5. Pour about a teaspoon of laundry detergent right onto the stain.
  6. Use a clean sponge or rag to rub briskly over the stain. You will see lots of suds, but keep going!
  7. Periodically pause to wipe away the suds and see if the ink is fading.
  8. Once you no longer see any ink, rinse the garment under cool water.
  9. Launder the garment as you usually would, as this will thoroughly remove any remaining detergent.

9. Commercial Stain Removers

Some commercial stain removers do a great job removing dry erase marker stains, but others don’t seem to touch this kind of ink at all. This is probably because most stain removers are designed to break down protein-based stains or remove oil-based stains.

If you use a commercial stain remover, make sure you apply it as quickly as possible while the ink stain is fresh. Then wash the garment in your washing machine using laundry detergent and a regular wash cycle.

Some popular brands include Shout or OxiClean’s pretreatment options for stains.

10. Dry Cleaning Fluid

Dry cleaning fluid, the stuff your dry cleaner uses commercially to clean clothing, will also remove dry erase marker stains. This method is effective, but please note that this product is pretty dangerous. You may find it safer and easier to take your stained clothing to a local dry cleaner and ask the professional to handle the ink stains!

If you do decide to try this out, have proper ventilation in your work area, and use as little of the dry cleaning solvent as possible at a time.

  1. First, set up your stained garment in a bucket or basin.
  2. Pour a tiny drop of dry cleaning fluid onto the stain. Do not touch this with your hands! Use gloves or a thick sponge as you handle this fluid.
  3. Let the fluid sit for five minutes.
  4. Dab at the stain with a clean, wet sponge.
  5. Finally, rinse away the fluid under cool running water.
  6. If necessary, repeat this method.

Is Dry Erase Marker Permanent on Clothing?

Removing dry erase marker from fabric

A dry-erase marker is permanent on clothing if you do not treat it with the proper solvents. If left alone or simply washed in a washing machine, dry erase marker stains will probably remain visible indefinitely.

However, you can quite easily remove Expo or Crayola dry erase marker stains by using the methods described in this article. Out of all of the techniques described here, Murphy’s Oil Soap probably works the most quickly and effectively. Some other methods require longer soaking times or more scrubbing effort, but you can successfully remove the marker stains if you’re willing to put the work in!

How to Remove Dry Erase Marker From Clothes After Washing

It gets much harder to remove dry erase marker stains from clothes after washing and drying them, but you may still find the Murphy’s Oil Soap method effective. In most cases, OxiClean or an oxygen bleach used in a long soak will also work on stubborn, set-in dry-erase ink stains.

To treat an old dry-erase marker stain, you will probably need to scrub and rinse several times with the Murphy’s Oil Soap instead of getting an instant response as you would with a fresh stain.

If you choose to use OxiClean or another oxygen bleach, you may need to soak the garment for one or two hours in a water and bleach solution to see any results.

Using an alcohol-based substance such as hairspray or hand sanitizer probably will not work on these old ink stains.

How to Get Marker Out of Clothes After Dryer

You can sometimes get marker out of clothes even after they go through the dryer by using murphy’s Oil Soap, hydrogen peroxide, or oxygen bleach.

Once a dry erase marker stain on your clothing goes through the heat of the dryer, it becomes much more permanent and difficult to remove. This is because high heat can bond the dye to the fabric. Many common stain removers will not work on it after that point.

That said, you may still find the Murphy’s Oil soap method effective. You will just need to let the soap sit on the stain for longer, maybe even as long as an hour. You may also have to scrub briskly with a clean brush to get the stain out.

Plus, color-bleaching products like Oxiclean and hydrogen peroxide will also work in some cases. Make sure you test these products on a hidden part of your clothing before trying them, though. Otherwise, you could take all the color out of the garment, not just the marker stain!

How to Remove Tough Dry Erase Stains

How to get expo marker out of clothes

The best way to remove tough dry-erase stains is to use Murphy’s Oil Soap. It may seem unusual to use a floor cleaner as a stain remover for clothing, but it works!

You can find the steps for this process earlier in this article. Apply the soap and scrub at the stain, then rinse it away! For really tough stains, you may need to let the soap soak into the stain for as long as an hour.

For most ink stains, like permanent markers, alcohol acts as a perfect solvent and can easily remove the stain. But dry erase marker ink contains a different kind of polymer that is more oily. Because of this, the unique oil-based composition of Murphy’s Oil Soap works wonders!

How to Remove Dry Erase Marker from Fabric Couch

The best way to remove dry erase marker from a fabric couch is to use rubbing alcohol.

The difficult thing about getting marker out of upholstery is that you usually cannot rinse out whatever product you use. For this reason, you should not use bleach or hydrogen peroxide unless you have a slipcover that you can remove and wash in your washing machine. You also can’t easily use Murphy’s Oil Soap, as it might leave an oily residue on your couch!

For most upholstery, you will need to dampen a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and gently blot the stain until the color comes away. Then soak a clean rag in water, and blot the area again.


Removing dry erase marker from clothes is difficult because this kind of ink contains an oily polymer that carries color pigment deep into the fabric. You can easily get fresh dry-erase stains out of clothes using Murphy’s Oil Soap or common household products such as toothpaste, white vinegar and rubbing alcohol, or even hairspray or hand sanitizer. Commercial products like stain removers, OxiClean, and laundry detergent sometimes prove effective as well.

For tough stains, the best method is to use the Murphy’s Oil Soap technique but allow for a longer resting period for the soap to do its work. You can also try a lengthy soak in oxygen bleach like OxiClean.