9 Ways to Remove Marker From Your Couch

by Meghan

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When I was pregnant with Big M, my brother-in-law gave my husband and I this book: Sh*t My Kids Ruined: An A-Z Celebration of Kid-Destruction.  My husband and I paged through it and laughed, thinking to ourselves, these kids must have been left unattended for hours for that to happen!  That will never happen in our house!  And with the first child, you are probably right – the eldest child, who receives undivided attention, is rarely left unattended for longer than a brief bathroom break, and who is generally a do-gooder, people-pleaser, is typically obedient, respectful of authority and in no way prepares you for your second child.

The true kid-destruction doesn’t happen until the second kid comes along, and then, not really until they are mobile (which goes from crawling to climbing onto your kitchen counters inside of weeks).  And then, it ALWAYS happens in the 60 seconds you take to go to the bathroom… which is exactly when Lil’ M climbed up and grabbed the bag of markers off the kitchen counter and encouraged her normally obedient older sister to join in with her and go Picasso all over my living room couch last week. So I did what any blogger would do – I turned to my Kid Blogger Network for advice, because who would know how to remove marker from your couch better than 1,000+ kid’s activity bloggers?

Remove Marker from Your Couch

9 Ways to Remove Marker from Your Couch

Full disclosure – these were Crayola Washable Markers.  Below is a list of all the recommendations I received, and I’ve highlighted those I actually pursued and their varying degrees of efficacy, concluding with a picture of the end result.  The best news – this couch is headed for the dump in the very near future, and am hopeful this little experiment got things out of their system before our new sectional for our new family room arrives later this summer!

1. MagicEraser

It truly is magical – and in hindsight, I should have taken pictures of each phase of my clean-up, but the MagicEraser removed about 80% of the maker, leaving just faint traces of pink behind.  The lines were no longer visible, just faint smears of pink.

2.  Oxi-Clean Fast Acting Stain Remover

Once the couch dried after using the MagicEraser, I used Oxi-Clean to eliminate the lingering traces of pink.  It worked at removing the color, but the couch could still use a good overall washing to remove the water marks left from many rounds of spot treatments (potty training, spit up, bottle drips, etc.).  Be sure to use this version – the Oxi-Clean Carpet Cleaner, which I spot tested before trying the MagicEraser was a bust.

3. Flip the cushions over

This was my personal favorite recommendation – and would have just done it except for the fact that this couch dates back about 8 years now, and we’ve already flipped both cushions over from incidents that even pre-date kids, mostly due to drunk friends at parties.  We ultimately still flipped one of the cushions, after the hubby and I collectively decided that the other side still looked better than the post-Picasso side.

4. Throw covers in the wash

The covers do zip off the cushions, and they are washable.  This would have been my go-to option IF we didn’t currently have our house on the market and have to have the living room presentable on 24 hours notice for showings.  At the time of the marker incident, we were less than 24 hours from an already scheduled showing, and given the covers need to air dry, I didn’t have enough time for that then… I’m still planning to do this before we chuck the couch, just to see if it is actually salvageable or salable vs. just destined for the dump.

5. 1 part hydrogen peroxide, 3 parts water, and a couple of drops of lemon essential oil

This one comes from the one and only Quirky Momma at Kids Activities Blog. “Use a micro cloth to wipe your cleaning solution over it. It should come up in mere seconds.”  A variation of this with a few drops of Dawn Dish Soap used to be my go-to potty training clean-up solution, before I found Bac-Out.

6. Rubbing Alcohol

Multiple mamas recommended straight up rubbing alcohol.  I didn’t have any in the house to try, so I didn’t test this option, but it was one of the most recommended options, after MagicErasers.

7. Wet Wash Cloth (and ScotchGuard)

IF, and this is a big IF, your couch has been ScotchGuarded at some point in recent history (like not just once 8 years ago when you first bought it), a plain wet wash cloth should do the trick.

8. Carpet Cleaner and a Scrub Brush

Depending on the durability of your couch upholstery, carpet cleaner and a scrub brush worked for one of our followers.

9.  Dish Soap and Water

My fellow blogger, Megan at HEN Family has had success with dish washing liquid mixed with water.

The After

So after MagicEraser, Oxi-Clean Fast Acting Stain Remover, and flipping the nearest cushion, here is the end-result.  Still evidence of water marks, but at least it’s no longer a Toddler Picasso.

After Couch

Have your little bundles of joy rendered you a Picasso somewhere other than their coloring books?  I’d love to see them – share them with me on Instagram, @PGPBMeghan #ToddlerPicasso.  What are your successful stain removal remedies?

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Emma August 5, 2015 - 11:42 am

It doesn’t seem right that something called “Washable Markers” should cause so much trouble to wash off! Grrr! Glad it came off in the end though!

PGPBMeghan August 5, 2015 - 12:54 pm

Right? Clearly, that’s intended for errant marks on clothes and hands, not an entire mural across your couch!

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