How to Remove Permanent Marker from Your Shoes

Shoes can be made up of a variety of materials such as leather, nylon, polyester, and acrylic. If you need to remove a permanent ink stain from the fabric of your shoes, then use the distilled white vinegar method. On the other hand, if you need to remove a permanent ink stain from leather, then try sunscreen. Alternatively, the magic eraser is a great solution to removing stains from both fabric and leather.


EditUsing Distilled White Vinegar on Fabric

  1. Combine the ingredients. Mix of distilled white vinegar, of dishwasher soap, and 2 cups of cool water. Use a large mixing spoon to combine the ingredients. Mix until the ingredients are well combined.[1]
  2. Test on a discreet spot. Use a clean, white rag or cloth to test the solution on a small, hidden part of the shoe. Let the solution set for one minute. Then, blot the spot with a wet, clean cloth to remove the solution. Look for any discoloration, residue, or stains left by the solution. Choose a different method if there are any unwanted effects.[2]
    • Alternatively, test the solution on an old shoe first before using it on the shoe in question.
    • You always want to test any cleaning solution on a small surface before applying it to larger surfaces. This way you can avoid any unwanted effects.
  3. Dab the solution onto the affected area. You can do this by using a clean sponge, cloth, or rag. Let the solution set for 30 minutes. While the solution is setting, dab the stain with more solution every five minutes.[3]
  4. Rinse the stain with cool water. Run a clean dry cloth or rag under cool water. Then, remove the solution by sponging the stain with the wet cloth. Sponge until the stain is removed. Re-wet your cloth if necessary.[4]
    • Use a clean dry cloth to blot the fabric until it is dry.
    • If the stain remains, use a clean cloth to blot the stain with rubbing alcohol until it is removed. Sponge the stain with clean, cool water and blot until dry.[5]

EditRemoving Stains from Leather with Sunscreen

  1. Squeeze a pea-sized amount of sunscreen onto a clean cloth. Make sure to use white, creamy sunscreen as opposed to colored or spray sunscreen. Use a white rag or cloth so you will be able to see if the sunscreen is removing the coloring of the leather.[6]
    • If you start out with a small amount of sunscreen, removing the coloring of the leather should not be a problem.
  2. Rub the stain in small, circular motions. Use gentle pressure when rubbing the stain so as not to remove any coloring of the leather. If it is a large stain, only work on small sections at a time.[7]
    • While removing the stain, use more sunscreen as needed.
  3. Rinse with warm water and soap. Once the stain is removed, clean the area with mild soap and water. Use a clean cloth or rag to clean the area. Also use a clean, dry cloth to dry the area.[8]
    • You may need to use a leather conditioner to restore the affected area. A conditioner will also protect the leather from further damage.

EditUsing a Magic Eraser to Remove Stains

  1. Purchase the magic eraser. You can find a magic eraser in the cleaning section of your grocery store or pharmacy. The magic eraser is a great way to remove permanent marker stains from fabric and leather.[9]
    Remove Permanent Marker from Your Shoes Step 8.jpg
    • If the stain on your shoes covers both fabric and leather parts, consider using this product.
  2. Wet the magic eraser. Run the sponge under cool water. Before using it, squeeze out any excess water. Use small, circular movements to rub the stain. While rubbing the stain, use gentle, but firm pressure.[10]
    • Do not rub too hard. Rubbing too hard may lift the coloring of the leather, which you do not want.
  3. Rinse with water and soap. Once the stain is removed, clean the affected area with water and mild soap. Use a clean cloth to do this. Then use a clean, dry cloth to dry the area.[11]


  • There are professional cleaning products that may be able to remove permanent ink stains from leather such as Leather Magic, Ink Off, and Guardsman.[12]
  • The faster you can treat a stain, the easier it is to remove.


  • Do not use distilled white vinegar on cotton or linen.[13]
  • Do not use nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol on triacetate, acetate, or rayon fabrics.[14]
  • Do not use hair spray or nail polish remover on leather.[15]

EditSources and Citations

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