New Couch and Permanent Marker

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been working with my brother and sister-in-law to design their home and it has been so fun. It’s really coming together — only a few accent pieces to go. The major items we added were a new sofa and area rug. The very ones featured in the pic above from CB2.

Last Tuesday, about a week after the sofa was delivered, I got a call from Erin and her voice was shaking. Apparently, her darling 2 year old (really, he’s darling) had just written all over the couch with Sharpies. 

I immediately called everyone I knew with microsuede furniture and had them call Erin with cleaning instructions and the instructions were universal: just scrub it. Just scrub and scrub and scrub and it will come out.

Amazingly, it worked. There is no sign of the Sharpie. I was there and participated in the scrubbing and am a witness that microsuede is the ultimate “family” fabric.

I am way impressed.

27 thoughts on “New Couch and Permanent Marker”

  1. we had our own sharpie incident at the UpsideUp a few months ago when we were packing for our move (hence the out-in-the-open sharpies). i left the room carrying a box i had just packed and labeled, and when i returned, zoe and lucy had decorated the antique, hand-painted coffee table, love seat, tv screen and a nearby box with all manner of magenta and black sharpie art.

    a friend of mine is a chemist (and also a mother of twins) so i called her to see what she would recommend. she said they use denatured alcohol in their lab when they have to remove sharpie (don’t ask me what chemists in a lab are removing sharpie from. beakers maybe?). so i bought some denatured alcohol.

    well i’m here to tell you, design mom. this is a miracle substance. it turns sharpie into little more than dry erase marker. truly. you can’t even believe how little elbow grease is needed. it’s like a sharpie eraser. in fact, we could probably put some of this in pen form and make millions with it.

    it requred a little more scrubbing on the couch, but probably less than your sister-in-law needed to do. and i can’t vouch for its effect on microsuede. but i can tell you this: it works.

    gorgeous couch, btw. so glad it’s been saved.

  2. It’s amazing the damage that can be done in 60 seconds. I love this couch and I’m glad we didn’t have to turn it into an “art piece.” Microfiber is amazing. BTW, I wish all you readers could see my house, it’s beautiful and all thanks to DesignMom.

  3. This is the last thing I need to convince me to get a micro fiber couch. My cheniile CB couch got “purple food colored” a week after it got home. No, it did not come out.

    It is ok though, b/c now the couch is 7 months old and EVERY seam has split (moral..never buy a couch in chenille–it looks like the one in your picture). Grrr. Now I need to go couch shopping AGAIN.

    Lu did the same thing w/ our new white berber carpet, except it was red acryllic paint. I didn’t even know I owned any…….. :-)

  4. so denatured alcohol does the trick?? that would have been good to know after my liitle one green sharpied our kitchen floor. nice couch, glad they are back to new, nice work gabby, wish i could see it too erin

  5. Gabby/Erin:

    sorry I didn’t get back to you about the Sharpie incident. One trick I learned while working with the Sharpie folks is to use a dry-erase marker, like an Expo, over the Sharpie marks. Might work on Jenni’s kitchen floor…but, I take no responsibility for further stainage.

    Cool couch, btw. Several years ago, Joseph took a pair of scissors to our new sofa slipcover, five days after we purchased it.

  6. As Erin commented, I really would love to see her house. I’m interested in it from the design and Mom point of view! I’m contstantly trying to make my house look great, and work for a big family. Please please share photos, blog about it!

  7. yes, erin your blog isn’t working, i’ve tried it a few times too like liz said, i am unable to access it, i thought it was just me, but apparently not…

  8. another solution that liz and i found is to buy couch covers online. we did it with our old nasty couches that were in our apartment when we moved in. they still look nasty and now even the covers are tearing…i don’t know that that’s really adding anything to the conversation, but there you have it.

  9. I love our microfiber couch. I was sold at Sara’s two years ago when we wiped up red punch with no residue at all. I’ve gotten out sharpie, blood, some kind of oily something . . . it all came out.
    Erin, why can’t I access your blog?

  10. i have a couch the exact same color in microfiber and my twin wrote on it with a black permanent marker. i tried scrubbing with a soapy rag which helped a little but then tried the nail polish remover which started helping even while still wet. i’m waiting till its dry to osee if it will work completely

  11. Nice couch, I also know a product that work great to remove permanent marker, color, and ink from sofa, massage chair, cloth. If any mom want to know more about this product, email me.

    I love to share with other mom too. I have three little one that always write my sofa and floor too.

    maiveng@yahoo.com

  12. Omg!! I found horror in my living room my 2 year old daughter has scribbled blue sharpie on my couch. I come on here and type in getting out sharpie of a couch and happen upon this these wonderful notes. Isnt the internet amazing and what do you know it happens to be micro fiber. I am wondering where I can get this dentured acohol I have never heard of it?
    If I cant find it I suppose I will resort to scrubbing. I would just like to take this moment to be thankful for moms like you who post these wacky accidents and the fix’s for them. Thank you ladys!!! :o)

  13. same here. my soon to be 3 yr old got black perm marker (sharpie) on one of our sofa chairs and it’s off white! I haven’t touched it yet but I’m desperate to get this stuff so where do we buy it?? I saw Lowed might have it?? Or any hardware store?? Thanks!

  14. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE HELP. . .I have a big black pen mark on a microsuede couch and I haven’t been able to find any advice on how to get out just a regular pen mark. If anyone has any experience or advice to help me get this stain out I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks !

  15. I’ve read on this post about denatured alcohol. . however, I don’t know what that is, or where to get it. I thought I read somewhere about using rubbing alcohol. I’m a nurse so I have rubbing alcohol pads. . .would that work?

  16. I had a similar incident- my furniture was about a week old. I read that rubbing alcohol worked- and it totally did!!! No traces of the marker left.

  17. alphi311, I don’t know if you ever got the ink out of your chair, but hairspray works for regular ballpoint pen ink on clothes. You just spray it on and wash the clothes as usual, and it comes right out. I would guess you could spray it on your chair, and then wash it with furniture foam stuff. Hope that helps!

  18. We used rubbing alcohol to remove sharpie drawings from brand new painted kitchen cupboards. You can buy it at the pharmacy or grocery store in the first aid isle. Works like a charm!

  19. Thank you! Thank you! One of my 2 year old twin boys just got his hands on a red permament marker and in seconds wrote on our brand new microfiber sectional. All our markers are supposed to out of reach as well but what can you do? If it’s anywhere to be found, mine will find it. I panicked and discovered marker was not covered under the fabric protection policy of course and was looking at having to have one whole section redone. Then I found this site and I used the rubbing alcohol and it wiped away in seconds! Honestly amazing! Thank you so much – you just saved me hundreds of dollars!

  20. Thanks for all the advise. I have a red Crate & Barrel microfiber couch. My daughter and friend were writing in their journals with pencil and color pencils on the couch. But while I was upstairs, they decided to pull out a black sharpie and then drop it on the couch leaving a black squiggly mark! I was afraid whatever remedy I chose would stain the couch. Thanks to you all, I decided to clean it with rubbing alcohol. It worked, so relieved!!!!!

  21. I have a nubby type material on my couch.my twin great grandsons at the age of 2yrs came to stay with great grandma and great grandpa.some how colored marker got left on the couch cushion all night and you know it, colored pencil on the cushion. a spot the size of a quarter.i tried the alcohol and that removed some .then nail polish remover.that finished the job up and every thing is o.k. thank you every one for your advise. Pat Smith from Alliance Ohio.

  22. One of the easiest-to-find home items to utilize as a first aid method to remove dry-erase marker colours from furniture surfaces is rubbing alcohol.
    It can be used for fabric, like a suede couch, microfiber, or leather.
    You can use hand sanitizer or hair spray that contains alcohol as a substitute.

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