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How to Get Dry Erase Marker Out of Carpet

A close look at the tip of the dry erase marker.

With liquid carpet stains, such as beer and wine stains, the process is pretty simple: You soak up the liquid and it gets removed from the carpet. Sometimes this requires re-wetting the stains if they are dried, but essentially that process remains the same and is relatively straightforward because of it. But what about when that ugly stain on your carpet isn’t from a liquid, something that can be easily soaked up? What if it’s from a dry erase marker?

Dry erase markers are called such to contrast them from wet-erase markers which, as their name suggests, are comprised of water-soluble dyes that, in terms of clean-up, makes them more like other liquid stains. Dry erase markers aren’t water-soluble and instead contain pigments and release agents.

When you press a dry erase marker against a dry erase board, you leave behind those pigments. This makes dry erase markers more similar to chalk and crayons than to water-soluble markers. It also means that to get dry erase marker out of your carpet, you’re going to have to take some unique strategies.

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Using Rubbing Alcohol and Hair Spray

A hand pressing on a can of hairspray.

The biggest problem with dry erase marker stains is that traditional methods like soap and water won’t really cut it due to the nature of their stain. Instead, you have to incorporate alternative types of cleaning formulas like rubbing alcohol and hair spray.

Rubbing alcohol is a degreaser that enables it to serve as an excellent cleaning product for stains like dry eraser marks that are unaffected by soap, detergent, and similar traditional cleaners. Rubbing alcohol, also known as denatured alcohol, is also great for these types of carpet stains as you’re apt to already have a bottle or two of it around your house anyways.

Begin with this cleaning method by pouring rubbing alcohol directly onto the carpet where it’s stained. Next, take a paper towel or clean rag and blot at the area. Remember, with all types of stains, including dry erase marker stains, it’s much better to work with a blotting technique than a rubbing technique as the latter risks working the stain further into carpet fibers — so far, sometimes, that it becomes impossible to clean without professional assistance.

After you’ve fully blotted the rubbing alcohol out of the carpet (and hopefully most of the dry erase marker particles with it), next comes the hair spray. Choose a basic, non-oil based hair spray and spray it generously across whatever is left of the dry erase marker stain and then blot and clean with paper towels. This hair spray will help clean out the rest of the particulates. Just remember, use that blotting method!

If after this entire process you still see some dry erase marker stains on your carpet, ensure that that the carpet is fully dried and then repeat again.

Choose Instead Vinegar and Baking Soda

A bowl of baking soda with cleaning materials.

If you don’t have denatured alcohol or hair spray around the house, then the next great homemade remedy for removing dry erase marker out of carpet is white vinegar and baking soda. This process will be a lot similar to the aforementioned denatured alcohol and oil spray step, but will also require the use of a vacuum cleaner. It also requires a bit more care as being too rough with this method can degrade your carpet fibers.

Begin by pouring the white vinegar directly onto the dry erase marker stain. Here, you can be liberal with the white vinegar — use as much as you think you’ll need to ensure that the vinegar penetrates all the way to the bottom of your carpet fibers. Once you’ve poured it on, evenly spread it around, blotting it with a cloth as necessary. Next, sprinkle baking powder likewise evenly across the dry erase marker stain.

Once your carpeting is nicely saturated with both white vinegar and baking powder, use a toothbrush to lightly work in the baking powder. The keyword here is lightly. Then, allow this solution to dry for an hour to two hours. When you return to it, you might feel like you’re coming back to magic as the dry erase marker stain will very likely be mostly gone as the white vinegar and baking soda soaks up the particulates. The only thing left to do is to vacuum up the baking soda and dab the new area with a bit of cold water.

For Light & Tough Carpeting, Use Hydrogen Peroxide and Cold Water

A bottle of Equate Hydrogen Perroxide with a bunch of cotton balls in the background.

Hydrogen peroxide is one of the most versatile products you can keep in your cabinetry and so if you don’t already have a bottle, make sure you put it on your shopping list this week. Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizing agent that can be used for cleaning the dishwasher, getting rid of those ugly pit stains, whitening your fingernails, killing oral germs, nixing out all your bathroom mold and mildew, keeping your salad greens fresher for longer, and, pertinent to this article, cleaning out dry erase marker stains from carpeting. When stocking your home, make sure to purchase the common 3% hydrogen peroxide solution.

The reason that hydrogen peroxide is effective on your carpeting and for other uses is because it works as an oxygen-based bleacher to break down and eliminate stains. However, because of how it works, there are some warnings to keep in mind.

First, it does operate partially by bleaching which means that you may risk permanently lightening your carpet if you use it on dyed carpet fibers. You can see whether your carpet will be so impacted by testing on a small, hidden area of your carpeting before working out the dry erase marker stain. This bleaching action can also eat or degrade low-quality carpet fibers and so this is another reason to test in a hidden area first.

The other key thing to keep in mind is that hydrogen peroxide is incredibly light-sensitive and will break down when exposed too long to light (this is why it’s sold in those dark brown bottles). So if you’re transferring it to a clear container, such as a spray nozzle, keep in mind that you’ll want to use all of the solution at that moment and not store it to be used at another time.

To use hydrogen peroxide to clean your carpet of dry erase marker, begin by spraying or lightly pouring hydrogen peroxide across the stained area. Next, use a white rag or dry paper towel to blot the area and ensure that the hydrogen peroxide is spread evenly across the dry erase marker stain. You should see some fizzling as you do so. Once you have it evenly spread across, cover the entire area with a larger towel and leave it for 30 minutes to an hour.

When you return and lift the towel, you’ll undoubtedly note that the hydrogen peroxide isolated the dry eraser ink fro the carpet fiber. Now al you have to do is wash and remove it out. Take a bottle of cold water and pour it onto your carpet fabric. Allow it to soak in and then use a dry paper towel or clean rag to blot the area and remove the moisture and the ink.

For Really Ugly Jobs or For Frequent Dry Erase Marker Cleaning, Bring in the Big Guns

BISSELL, 20037 Pet Stain Eraser Cordless Portable Carpet Cleaner, 2019 Version

If you have a lot of dry erase marker stains or if you find that you find that you’re frequently having this type of stain on your carpet, then you should consider the advantages of purchasing a heavy-duty and specialty-built cleaner like the Bissell 3624 Spotclean Professional.

The Bissell 3624 Spotclean Professional is an incredible portable carpet cleaning tool that was designed and built specifically to remove stubborn dirt and seemingly impossible stains like those caused by dry erase markers. The reason why this machine is so effective is threefold. It offers the addition of an incredibly deep cleaning solution, it has high power scrubbing power, and it has massive vacuum power.

To use this machine on your dry erase marker stain, simply power-up and follow the instructions to correctly go over the stain and suck up and remove all of that ugly staining. While a machine like the Bissell 3624 Spotclean Professional might seem like an expensive addition to your home, it’s important to note that this is an incredibly versatile piece of equipment. Not only will you use it on the carpet in your home or office, but you can also use it to clean out your automotive interiors, hard surfaces, upholstery, and outdoor rugs.

One thing to note, however, before you invest in the Bissell 3624 Spotclean is that while it’s great at nixing out stains, these type of stain-specific vacuum cleaners tend to do less well with fur, hair, and other types of really built-up dust and debris. Make sure you read through the reviews and consider getting different hoses, nozzle heads, or a separate vacuum cleaner altogether if you need one to frequently also pick-up pet hair.

What to Avoid When Trying to Get Dry Erase Marker Out of Carpet

A sign for stop or prohibition of.

We hope the above steps and products will help you clean out that annoying dry eraser marker in your carpet! Remember, sometimes it takes more than one time to get all of the residue out, no matter which of the above techniques you use. Cleaning out dry erase marker residue isn’t always an easy and fast task, but with the right techniques and the right products, you can get it done!

But while there are a lot of things to effectively use to clean your carpeting, there are some key things to avoid. The following is a look at some of the things you shouldn’t do when trying to get dry erase marker out of your carpeting:

  • Never use bleach on your carpeting. Chlorine bleach is great for washing your whites and cleaning out that nasty gunk that’s stuck in your grout. What it’s not great at is cleaning out your carpet of dry erase marker or any other type of ink. That’s because bleach is so powerful and effective, it will often whiten and eat at your carpet fibers to ultimately degrade their color and overall quality.
  • Don’t use dish detergent and water. This point was brought up at the top but it should be underscored. Using a soapy mixture of water and dish detergent on dry erase marker can actually cause your stain to become worse. That’s because the soap and water can release the pigments in their residue and thereby spread the mess all over the place.
  • Wear gloves when cleaning dry erase marker. In general, you should avoid ever coming into direct contact with dry erase marker residue. That’s because the pigments, while they are technically non-toxic, can still cause side effects like allergies and asthma symptoms. When cleaning dry erase marker from your carpeting, you also risk transferring those pigment to your clothes which would then require their own stain removing. So just keep things simple and safe by wearing gloves when cleaning.