How to Get Permanent Marker Off of Leather? – 4 Ways

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

how to get permanent marker off of leather

Leather products are undeniably one of our pricey possessions not only because of the price but also the quality. Therefore, it can be frustrating when you have to deal with permanent marker stains on leather surfaces such as your leather furniture.

So, how to get permanent marker off of leather? Worry not, because we laid out several ways to solve this problem without damaging the leather textures.

Let us get started!

Ways to Remove Permanent Marker From Leather

  • Important reminder: Always test the process on a small hidden area before applying the solution to the stain. If you notice discoloration, refrain from using the product.

The suggested cleaning solutions are tried and tested in cleaning common leather surfaces.

However, it is better to be safe than sorry because you’ll never know if you are dealing with sensitive leather surfaces.

Method 1: Using Distilled Vinegar or Nail Polish Remover


What to prepare to get marker out of leather

  • Distilled vinegar
  • Nail polish remover
  • Cotton balls
  • Damp cloth
  • Leather conditioner
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Distilled Vinegar – This agent is non-toxic, a product of natural fermentation, and it contains acetic acid. Acetic acid is a natural chemical that most over-the-counter cleaning solutions have. It is responsible for breaking down grime, dirt, and grease. Thus, it is suitable to clean marker off leather.

In addition, it is also a cheap household alternative with a moderate amount of acid, so you don’t have to worry about ruining your fashionable leather shoes once you apply it.

  • Nail Polish Remover – Did you know that apart from cleaning your nails, you can also use a nail polish remover to get Sharpie out of leather?

Nail polish removers contain acetone, which is an effective cleaning solvent. It is ideal for cleaning stubborn stains as it can dissolve small particles of grease, grime, or paint.

You should note, however, that you have to be extra careful when applying it to your leather purse, for example.

A nail polish remover can remove the dye of your leather handbag, so refrain from applying it on dark-colored leather like brown and black.

Hence, acetone can be very effective in removing marker from leather with light colors such as white leather.

  • Step 1: Pour a small amount of the cleaning agent on a cotton ball.
  • Step 2: Dab the side of the cotton with the cleaning solvent to the permanent marker stain. Do this repeatedly until you see the ink gradually dissolving.
  • Step 3: Get a damp cloth to wipe the ink from the leather surface. Make sure not to use a portion of the cloth twice to avoid the stain from smudging.
  • Step 4: Repeat the process until the ink is almost gone from the surface.
  • Step 5: Inspect for ink residue, then wipe the surface with a clean damp cloth if necessary.
  • Step 6: Lastly, apply a leather conditioner to the surface with a microfiber cloth to restore the moisture needed to preserve its flexibility.

Do not rub a generous amount of leather conditioner on your leather bag because it might do more harm than preserve it.

Method 2: Using Sunscreen, Hairspray, or WD-40


What to prepare?

  • Sunscreen
  • Hairspray with alcohol
  • WD-40 multi-use product
  • Damp cloth
  • Leather conditioner
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Sunscreen – Surprisingly, sunscreen can also remove Sharpie from leather with its smooth texture and the chemicals it contains. It is also gentle on the skin and genuine leather, but it might blemish fake leather
  • Hairspray with Alcohol – As you’ve noticed, cosmetic products are also helpful in removing stubborn ink. One of the main reasons is that they contain cleaning agents, just as hair sprays contain alcohol.

Take note that the hair sprays available nowadays have lesser alcohol content than those sold in the market before. It is advisable to pick hairsprays that contain more alcohol but don’t worry because they are cheaper.

  • WD- 40 – It is also safe to use a WD-40 multi-purpose cleaner to remove permanent markers on the leather couch! WD-40 is a unique lubricant formula widely used to remove common stains from plastic and other surfaces.

Therefore, this formula can remove stubborn ink on your leather sofa or leather car seats.

  • Step 1: Spray just enough amount of cleaning solvent to dampen the marker stains.
  • Step 2: Wait for about 5 minutes for the solution to dissolve the stubborn ink.
  • Step 3: Dab a damp cloth on the stained surface. Be careful so that the ink will not smudge the leather.
  • Step 4: Repeat the process if there is ink residue. Just a friendly reminder, gently dab the cloth to the surface to avoid scratching the leather.
  • Step 5: Apply a very tiny amount of leather conditioner to moisturize the surface.

This product will help restore the shiny look of the leather surface, such as a leather basketball.

Method 3: Using Baking Soda with Toothpaste


What to prepare?

  • ½ Cup Baking Soda
  • ½ Cup Toothpaste
  • Old Toothbrush
  • Damp Cloth
  • Leather Conditioner
  • Microfiber Cloth

This technique is definitely familiar if you like to search for home remedies on the internet. Baking soda is a base that can disintegrate dirt and stains, and mixing it with toothpaste which is also a good cleaning agent, amplifies these properties.

Accordingly, you can use this formula if you need to remove marker stains on your leather chair.

  • Step 1: Mix ½ cup of baking soda with an equal amount of toothpaste in a disposable cup.
  • Step2: Scoop a generous amount of the mixture with an old toothbrush.
  • Step 3: Carefully scrub the stained leather so the ink will detach from the surface.
  • Step 4: Wipe the mixture off the leather with a damp cloth.
  • Step 5: Inspect the result. Repeat the two previous steps until you are satisfied.
  • Step 6: For the finishing touch, wipe the surface with a leather conditioner.

Method 4: Using Wet Wipes


What to prepare?

  • Wet wipes
  • Leather conditioner
  • Microfiber Cloth

Suppose a permanent marker ink leaks inside the drawer where your priced leather baseball gloves are stored. Then, wet wipes come to the rescue!

  • Step 1: Gently rub the stained leather with wet wipes. You’ll see the ink gradually coming off the surface.
  • Step 2: Once the ink is all gone, apply a leather conditioner to restore the smooth feel of the leather.


Since you reached this part, you probably know how to get permanent markers off of leather. Moreover, removing permanent markers from other surfaces is easier than ever if you learn more from our guides, such as getting permanent markers out of shoes, removing permanent markers from countertops and even from metal.

You can use several cleaning agents like distilled vinegar, nail polish remover, sunscreen, hairspray, WD-40, and many more.

We hope we were able to show you the steps you should take once you encounter this kind of problem. We also wouldn’t mind you sharing this with others in the same predicament.

4.2/5 - (5 votes)

Magazine Posts

why are fountain pens so expensive

Why Are Fountain Pens So Expensive?

Carroll Leilani

Have you ever wondered, “Why are fountain pens so expensive”? Beyond just ...

how to remove ink stains from plastic

How to Remove Ink Stains From Plastic?

Laura Walker

In our daily lives, it is not uncommon to encounter ink stains ...

How much ink is in a pen

How Much Ink is in a Pen?

Laura Walker

Pens, those everyday tools we use without much thought, are a staple ...

How to Use a Diamond Painting Pen

How to Use a Diamond Painting Pen

Laura Walker

A diamond pen is many DIYers’ favorite, as it is a great ...

How to Tell Which Cross Pen You Have?

Laura Walker

How to Make a Wooden Pen? – A Detailed Tutorial

Laura Walker

Winsor and Newton Pigment Marker Review

Laura Walker

Are Ohuhu Markers Any Good? – A Quick Review

Laura Walker