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How to Remove Permanent Markers from Shoes: 3 Easy Methods!

We all love to flaunt our fresh and neat kicks! Some might say a man is defined by the shoes he wears. But, what would a stained shoe say about you? Worst case, you might’ve even stained your shoes with permanent markers!

How to remove permanent markers from shoes?

There are many ways to remove permanent marker stains from your shoes. For fabric surfaces, use distilled vinegar mixed with dishwasher soap. Keep it for 30 minutes and rinse it off. A pea-sized amount of sunscreen can be rubbed gently on leather surfaces. Magic erasers work on both surfaces. 

But this summarized information won’t give you squeaky clean shoes. I’ve jotted down a thorough guideline with easy-to-follow steps just for you!

So what’s the hold-up? Roll up your sleeves and let’s delve right into it!

Things You’ll Need

In this article, I will be elaborating on three alternative methods. These will equip you with the required cleaning knowledge for almost any type of stain.

But of course, these three methods will need three alternate sets of essentials. So without wasting any further time, let’s look at the first set of necessary items. 

Essentials for Removing Permanent Marks on Fabric

Guess what? Cleaning stubborn marks on the fabric part requires regular household goods!

Let’s take a look:

  • Distilled White Vinegar
  • Dishwasher Soap
  • Cool Water
  • Mixing Spoon
  • White Rag or Cloth

That is all that you’ll need if you stain the fabric portion of your shoe. But wait! What if you have a leather-based shoe? Don’t worry we have that covered too. Vinegar can be used in countless other ways. For example, it can be used to remove permanent markers off of rubber.

Essentials for Removing Permanent Marks on Leather

Fortunately, cleaning leather shoes don’t require expensive cleansers either. Check out the essentials that are readily available in your own home!

  • Sunscreen 
  • Soap 
  • Warm Water

I’m sure you already have these and are good to go. Optionally you could also get a leather conditioner to cure damaged areas. Now, let’s move on to a more rare occurrence. 

Essentials for Removing Permanent Marks on Both Fabric and Leather

Oddly enough, you might manage to stain both the leather and fabric parts of your shoe. If that’s the gathering the following essentials:

  • Magic Eraser
  • Cool Water
  • Sponge 
  • Dry Cloth 

Magic Erasers are actually commonly found in most groceries. Check for them in the cleaning sections. Alternatively, you can make your own magic erasers at home. Check out our recommendation for buying great magic erasers:

Product 1
Product 2

These would be great options to wipe marker stains from both fabric and leather. 

Now that we have our essentials covered let’s move on to the methods.

3 Cleaning Methods To Remove Permanent Markers from Shoes

Now that we’ve gone through the alternatives, let’s find out which method suits your shoes. I have compiled cleaning methods that will cover both fabric and leather materials. 

Method 1 of 3: Using Distilled Vinegar

Distilled Vinegar is a mildly abrasive cleanser. It can be used to remove stains off of shoe fabric. The procedure is given below

Step 1: Prepare the Mixture

First, combine one tablespoon of distilled vinegar with one tablespoon of dishwasher soap. Add two cups of cold water. This is to be mixed using a large mixing spoon. 

Step 2: Apply the Mixture 

Next, dab the solution using a rag or sponge on the affected area. Let this set for half an hour. Dab more solutions every 5 minutes after initial application. 

Step 3: Rinse the Area with Water

Lastly, rinse the stain. Run a clean piece of rag or cloth in cool water. Use the soaked cloth to get rid of the solution. Rub until the marks are invisible. 

And Voila! The fabric portion of your shoe should be easily cleaned following this method. 

Speaking of vinegar, did you know cloth wrinkles can be removed using vinegar? It’s definitely a hack to keep in mind!

Method 2 of 3: Using Sunscreen

This method is perfect for leather surfaces. Let’s take a run-down of the process to remove marks from your leather shoe. 

Step 1: Squeeze Out the Sunscreen on a Cloth

Make sure you’re using cream sunscreens, not the spray ones. Squeeze a teeny-tiny portion onto a rag or cloth. A white rag is preferred. This is so you can tell if the leather’s color is being damaged. 

If you use a pea-sized amount, this shouldn’t be a problem. But, moderate to large amounts can definitely be harmful to the leather skin. 

Step 2: Rub the Affected Area with Sunscreen

Be sure to rub very gently in circular motions. This is done in order to not remove the color of the leather. 

Step 3: Clean with Water and Clean Cloth

When you see the marks start to fade, you need to clean the area. Water coupled with mild soap is a great way to do so. Use a clean piece of cloth to get this done. 

Method 3 of 3: Using a Magic Eraser

If you find yourself staining both the fabric and lather portions, don’t panic! Luckily there is an easy fix. The procedure is as follows-

Step 1: Rub the Affected Area with Soaked Magic Eraser

Soak the magic eraser in cool water. Then squeeze out the water and rub the stain in gentle circular motions. Be careful as too much pressure might damage the leather.

Step 2: Clean the Area with Soap and Water

Again, if marks fade, you have to clean the affected area. Do so using mild soap and water. Use a clean cloth for this. Later, Dry the shoe using a towel.

There you go, that’s all the methods you’ll ever need! If you follow one of these methods depending on your stain location, it should be enough. 

Thankfully these methods aren’t nearly as difficult as other cleaning processes. For example, removing mortar residue from bricks.


Question: How is permanent marker removed from leather using vinegar?

Answer: The easiest way I can think of is using distilled white vinegar. Let the vinegar settle on the stain for a while. A few minutes should do. This allows the vinegar to penetrate properly. Then use a damp cloth to wipe off the stain. Rub in circular motions.

Question: Does bleach remove sharpies?

Answer: Bleach can be used to remove permanent marker marks from white fabrics. It won’t work as well on fabrics of other colors. This is because bleach can discolor dye and make them lighter or whiter. If soaked, keep an eye on the fabric. Do not allow the bleach to dissolve. That will damage the fabric.

Question: Can permanent markers on soles be removed?

Answer: For rubber soles, use lots of rubbing alcohol and acetone on a piece of cloth. You can also use a nail polish remover. But, only if it is acetone-based. Now, rub the sole in the stained spot vigorously. Afterward, when the mark is gone, clean the sole surface with soapy water.


With that, we’ve reached the end of our discussion. That’s all we have on how to remove permanent markers from shoes.

If you’ve found this article interesting, browse through our other articles. 

Until then, take good care of yourself and of course, your shoes! 

Best of luck!