How To Remove Permanent Marker And Other Ink Stains From Carpet

You try so hard to keep your beautiful carpets clean, but accidents happen. Now there is a big ink stain on your carpet! How can you remove it without ruining the carpet? We've researched the methods to remove ink stains from the carpet to give you the answer.

Many readily available and inexpensive household items can remove tough ink stains from your carpet. Store-bought stain removers and professional carpet cleaners can also treat the most stubborn stains. Here are some tried and true ways to remove carpet ink stains:

  • Act fast to blot the stain while it is still wet
  • Use a household product as a stain remover
  • Use a store-bought stain remover
  • Hire a professional carpet cleaner

Feeling overwhelmed? Don't worry - we've done the research for you! Read on to learn more about each of these strategies to remove ink stains from the carpet. We'll help you figure out the best solution to keep your carpet looking pristine!

Permanent marker making a a mess over the carpet, How To Remove Permanent Marker And Other Ink Stains From Carpet

Act Fast To Catch The Stain While It Is Still Wet

Two small children using markers to draw while sitting on the carpet

The best time to clean an ink spill is as soon as it happens. As the ink dries, the color sinks deeper into the carpet fibers. If the stain is still wet, simply blot it with a wet rag and dish soap. Keep blotting until the stain is completely gone. Then blot with water to remove any extra soap, and allow it to dry.

Do A Spot Removal Test Before Applying Stain Removers

If immediately blotting didn't quite do the job, your next approach is a stain remover; either homemade or commercial. Before you use a stain remover (whether store-bought or homemade), be sure to do a spot removal test. Use the stain remover on an inconspicuous area of the carpet, behind furniture or in a dark corner of the room. A spot removal test will ensure that the cleaning method will not stain or damage your carpet.

Use A Household Product As A Stain Remover

Many common household products can remove stains from the carpet. The two most popular options are non-oil-based hairspray and rubbing alcohol.

For each of these solutions, simply apply a small amount of the product to the carpet's stained area. Blot with a clean cloth until the stain is gone. Finally, apply water to the area and blot with a clean cloth to remove any excess stain remover. Be sure to blot, not rub. Rubbing may spread the stain further and deeper into the carpet's fibers. 

Other household products that can remove ink stains from your carpet include:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Nail polish remover
  • WD-40
  • White vinegar
  • Cream of tartar
  • Lemon juice
  • Non-gel toothpaste

Use A Store-Bought Stain Remover

A man using a spray foam to clean a stained carpet

Household products are generally successful at removing carpet stains. For particularly stubborn stains, it may be helpful to purchase a product specifically intended for stain removal. Several store-bought options are available, including some that are formulated to treat ink and permanent marker stains. We've listed some specific product recommendations below.

To use a store-bought stain remover, shake the bottle well, then apply a small amount to the stained area and wait for about a minute for the remover to soak into the carpet. Blot gently with a cloth. Avoid using too much liquid, which could make the stain sink further into the carpet. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions on the label.

What Is The Best Carpet Stain Remover?

Stain Remover

Bissell Pro Stain Remover is a great budget option with consistently good reviews, specifically designed for carpets and area rugs. Click here to see it on Amazon.


Resolve Professional Stain Remover and Carpet Cleaner is another highly rated and affordable option for stain removal. It treats both stains and odors and can remove many of the toughest stains. Click here to see it on Amazon.

For the toughest stains, Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover is a great option used by many professional cleaning companies. It is non-toxic, non-irritating, and highly effective. Click here to see it on Amazon.

Lift-Off Stain Remover

Motsenbocker's Lift Off Pen/Ink/Marker Stain Remover is safe to use on the carpet and is specifically designed to remove ink and permanent marker stains. Click here to see it on Amazon.

What Happens If You Leave Stain Remover On Too Long?

Follow the directions on your stain remover carefully. If you leave stain remover on the carpet for too long, it may start to degrade the carpet fibers, which can cause permanent damage. Many manufacturers provide tips for how to remove stains caused by their products. If your store-bought stain remover has damaged your carpet, it may be time to call in a professional cleaning company.

Hire A Professional Carpet Cleaner

We recommend that you call a professional carpet cleaning company to ask for advice on removing particularly difficult stains. You can find a local professional carpet cleaning company through an internet search or the local yellow pages. It may also be helpful to ask friends and neighbors for recommendations.

What's The Fastest Method For Removing Permanent Marker?

You can quickly remove most permanent marker stains from your carpet using rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, hairspray, or a store-bought stain remover. It is important to catch the stain while still wet and remember to blot rather than rub. Even though you want to get the stain out quickly, be patient. Wait until the stain is completely gone before allowing the carpet to dry.

What Is The Most Difficult Stain To Remove From Carpet?

Some of the most difficult stains to remove from your carpet are blood, red wine or juice, coffee, and urine. You can use a household product to remove many of these stubborn stains, but it does require patience and time. The earlier you catch the stain, the more likely it is that you will be able to remove it. A professional carpet cleaning company may be best equipped to address these tough stains.

To remove the stain yourself, start by using a clean paper towel or white cloth to blot up any surface liquid. Prepare a stain remover (see below for specific recommendations). Pour a small amount of the mixture on the stain and blot it dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Start blotting from the edges of the stain and work your way to the center. Re-apply the stain remover as needed, and continue to blot until the entire stain is removed. Be sure to replace the cloth with a clean one as needed so you don't reintroduce the stain.

Once the stain is removed, blot the area with a clean damp cloth to remove any excess stain remover. As a final step, sprinkle baking soda over the area to reduce smells. Leave it for half an hour, then vacuum up the baking soda.

Blood Stains

A woman cleaning her carpet with spilled coffee

Treat blood stains on your carpet with a mixture of cold water and a liquid detergent. Be sure to use cold water because hot water may cause blood to set into the carpet fibers.

Red Wine Or Juice Stains

A glass of wine spilled on a carpet

The natural dyes found in red wine and juices cause some of the most difficult carpet stains. Treat red wine or juice stains with a mixture of lukewarm water and liquid detergent or white vinegar.

Coffee Stains

A mug of coffee spilled on the carpet

Treat coffee stains with a mixture of white vinegar, water, and a liquid detergent. Be sure to treat the carpet with baking soda after removing the stain to minimize the smell.

Pet and Bodily Fluid Stains

A cute Labrador puppy sitting on the carpet

It is particularly important to remove urine stains as soon as possible because they will continue to deteriorate the carpet over time. The smell will also worsen over time, and nobody wants that in their living room!

Treat a urine stain with a mixture of white vinegar and lukewarm water. As with coffee stains, be sure to treat the carpet with baking soda after removing the stain to minimize the smell. Urine stains are particularly tricky to remove, so consider calling a professional carpet cleaning company to help.

What Stains Cannot Be Removed From Carpet?

You can remove most stains from your carpet if you catch them quickly. However, stains may become permanent if they are not treated correctly. See above for tips on how to remove some of the most difficult stains from your carpet. We recommend calling a professional carpet cleaning company to ask for their advice on removing particularly difficult stains.

Act Quickly And Carefully To Protect Your Carpet

You can remove most carpet stains, even the toughest ones, by catching them early and treating them effectively. Act fast when you see a stain on your carpet, whether you use a household product, buy a stain remover, or hire a professional cleaning company. We've shared helpful methods and products to remove stains and keep your carpet looking beautiful for years to come.

Here are some other helpful carpet-related posts:

How To Remove Rust Stains From Carpet

Carpet Smells Like Stinky Feet? Here's What To Do

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