It's a fact of life: despite all the washable crayons and markers on the market, kids will still find the only indelible ink pen in the house. Even if you stash it in a locked box surrounded by mousetraps and an armed guard, your little Van Gogh will snatch up a Sharpie faster than you can say, "Oh, no! Not the kitchen wall!"
Fear not, moms and dads. It's not easy, but there are several ways to get ink off off furniture, clothing and walls. Before trying any of these methods, be sure to test in an inconspicuous spot first.
- Use hairspray to remove ballpoint pen marks from clothing. Simply spray it on the stain and wash in cold water. The garment may need to be washed a couple of times so check to see that the ink spot is gone before putting the item in the dryer where the heat will set it permanently. If you don't have hairspray handy, try rubbing alcohol.
- Magic Eraser is a lifesaver for many ink stains. I once successfully removed ink spots from a black Sharpie permanent marker after one of my son's demonstrated his artistic inspiration on a solid wood table.
- Bug spray removes stubborn ink stains from walls and other painted surfaces.
- For permanent marker stains on hard surfaces like tile and concrete, try nail polish remover. Be sure to use it judiciously on treated tile (like terrazzo flooring) or you may mar the finish.
- For ink stains on leather furniture and clothing, spray a paper towel or soft cloth with some WD-40 and wipe the stain lightly. Repeat several times until the ink is gone.
- If you've accidentely gotten ink on an LCD or flat-panel monitor screen, try rubbing carefully with a pencil eraser. This trick seems to be particularly effective on mishaps with a Sharpie or other permanent marker.