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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Removing Permanent Marker from Fabric: Your Questions

By Dr. Laundry August 28, 2008

Q: I have a new pair of shorts for golfing. First day out I purchased a permanent marker for marking my golf ball and didn’t put the lid on tight. Now I have turquoise permanent ink all over the pocket of the shorts. Is there an easy way to remove this? They are a cotton washable material — very light beige.

A: You didn’t indicate if the new shorts were colored or white. Here’s how I would proceed:

  • If the shirt can be bleached, then dampen the stained area with cool water.
  • First, we want to find out if the shorts are bleachable. Just do the simple Bleachability Test on any colored portion in a hidden part of the shorts (2 tsp liquid Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 in 1/4 cup water; apply a drop on a hidden color section area like inside seam, hemline or cuff; wait 1 minute and then blot with towel; no color change means it is safe to use bleach on the item).
  • If you have our Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel, apply the product, use the scrubber end to rub the product into the stain; wait 3–5 minutes then wash in the hottest water recommended on the care label with detergent and 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach1.
  • If the colors are not bleachable, then I would pretreat the dampened spots with Clorox 2® Stain Remover & Color Booster (Apply; rub in; wait ~5 minutes; then wash immediately with detergent and recommended amount of Clorox 2® Stain Remover & Color Booster.
  • Check for success and retreat if needed BEFORE drying.

The bad news is you said PERMANENT marker. I’m not sure if any of these approaches will be successful. It’s quite possible that anything you try will not completely remove the turquoise marks.