Removing Sharpie from Upholstered Furniture

November 1, 2012  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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You can also file this under Things that Make you go, “$@#$*!” Oh Greta, Greta, Greta.  Last month she took a Sharpie to a wall, but that was cake (magic eraser + primer and paint for good measure) compared to this:

Her latest art project, in which she put herself in time-out for and I was left to myself to hunt down and discover.  I wasn’t happy, but the girl already put herself in timeout so I focused my efforts on undoing the marker.  Unfortunately this seat cushion isn’t reversible.  The underside Velcros down and is lined so I had to, HAD to get this out.

My method of choice was kind of crazy, but I used WD-40.  I read in some forum that it worked in getting sharpie out of someone’s sweater and I crossed my fingers and went for it.  I sprayed the WD-40 directly on the stain:

And then started blotting, using a new portion of my rag with each blot.

After one round, I am thankful (happy/relieved/encouraged) with the results.  You can barely see the sharpie line–you might have to squint–and I heard that it could fade more over the next day or two. Fingers crossed!

I think I am still going to go over it again and maybe wash the entire cushion after that, but at least I know our new chair doesn’t have to be reupholstered already.  Crisis averted?  Nah. We have a two-year old. But (!) I am grateful I now have this trick in my back pocket, I’m sure I’ll need it again.  Has anyone else had a bad run-in with a permanent marker?!  To be honest, I think my heart stopped for a few seconds.  If you have any other tried and true tricks to removing them–do tell.  I still have round two to go!

What do you think?

  1. hometipster says:

    It’s amazing what you can do with a can of WD40. Really useful post. Can’t count how many times my little ones have been creative with the furnishings :)

  2. Kim @ Yellow Brick Home says:


    We use it for everything – from small stains to the largest ones. Scott finds it a freaking miracle, so he actually takes care of all our mystery (i.e., pet) stains around the home – and enjoys doing so! It’s the best kept secret.

  3. Erin {Home Everyday} says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this, I am sure it will come in handy at some point. My daughter just wrote with marker on our tile grout, which I know you also have tips for sprucing up with your bathroom update. Ay ay ay! Kids!

  4. Oh my gosh! I would have been freaking out! I’m so glad that it came out!

  5. Abby K says:

    so i just found your blog, and am so inspired!! i love that i caught you in the midst of you re-energizing your home! it gives me the “ok” to realize that i don’t end up loving everything i do, it’s ok to make those changes.

    i think this post was probably a strange place to make this comment, so sorry about that :)

    thank you!!

  6. Where are the markers being stored? Somewhere super high from now on. I love your go getter attitude, I would have just cried and fumed! You’re a fixer. And this post is VERY pinterest friendly! great idea

  7. Hahaha! Nice. Magic erasers are heaven sent!

  8. No, the fabric feels exactly the same. There is a faint line where I cleaned, but I am hoping once I wash the whole cushion it will fade.

  9. The girl is off the charts.

  10. Debbie says:

    I KNOW! Thankfully Greta didn’t do that much damage!

  11. Hahahaha. Oh yes. When she opened the fridge, pulled out the tortillas and cheese, threw them on my lapped, said, “‘dilla!”and walked away. That’s our girl. Heaven help me.

  12. I haven’t seen that! I would have never thought WD-40 had so many uses. Crazy.

  13. Oh my word. That before picture is horrifying!

  14. I have used hair spray with great success – I wonder if WD40 and hairspray have some common content that takes out the stain? I saw someone else mentioned that hairspray left their furniture stiff – I’ve never noticed that but I wonder if then going over it with a blotting/water/scrub action would take out any stiffness.

  15. Jessie McKinley says:

    You are wonder woman!! That is amazing that WD 40 can do that, so glad it worked for you!

  16. WD40 is a miracle worker! I’m sure you’ve seen it but there’s a pin on Pinterest that talks about all of the things it can do. Not sure if removing Sharpie doodles is on there but now we can add that to the list too! :)

  17. meaganbriggs3 says:

    What on earth WD 40??? It is amazing what you can find online and I’m grateful this one worked!!! I’ll put that bit of knowledge in my back pocket for I’m sure future use! That Greta loves to push the limits :-) good thing she’s cute!!!

    We still talk about the “dilla” story :-) she’s a gem!

  18. Alyson Webster says:

    I LOVE your stories where Greta puts herself in time-out. My favorite

  19. My dog chewed up a pen so that the link leaked out all over a chair. I used a tip I found online that involved vinegar and hair spray? It took out a lot of the ink, but not all of it, and left the chair stiff (from the hairspray). Does your cushion feel different or have any kind of oil left over from your treatment?

  20. Lizzy says:

    Ahhhh! So glad the WD-40 worked! I would have never thought to use that!
    My son (just turned 2) colored all over the wall with crayon the other day and immediately knew it was a no-no without me saying anything. It’s hard to act mad at them when they already feel guilty! :)
    He also spilled milk on our couch – unfortunately we didn’t notice until after the fact when there was a nauseating stench that I had to hunt down. The milk had soaked through the foam and there was no way to clean that. I ended up having to buy a huge square of foam and re-stuff the cushion. Now milk isn’t allowed on the couch! :)

  21. Annalee Taylor says:

    AOh Man! I feel you! Last year I came into my office to find my COMPUTER SCREEN covered in SHARPIE! I cried a little. I was so mad, but… who knew that magic eraser can take out sharpies from computer screens to? It was worth a try and it worked, almost without any work. I was relieved. Then I went through my whole house and removed all the sharpies!!

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