How to Remove Sharpie Stains from Shoes

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Things You'll Need

  • Cotton swabs

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Acetone nail polish remover

  • Cooking spray

  • Water

  • Rags


Put your hand in a sock and place the shoe on your hand to clean. The sock will help absorb some of the cleaning solution that seeps through a fabric or canvas shoe.


Colored fabric may lose color during this treatment. The stain will be gone, but you may have a bleached spot after. In addition, if you forget to rinse, the acetone can destroy the fibers of the shoe as it dries.


Shoes are expensive, and the last thing a parent wants to do is throw out a good pair because junior or princess created art upon them with a Sharpie permanent marker. Luckily, you can keep your kid's shoes longer, even after a Sharpie attack, by knowing how to remove Sharpie stains from shoes.

Step 1

Moisten a cotton swab in acetone nail polish remover and gently blot the entire Sharpie stain. Be sure to use acetone nail polish remover because it is the acetone chemical that removes stains.

Step 2

Blot the Sharpie stain with a moistened, clean cloth so that there is enough of the chemical to work on the mark but not so much that it can damage the shoe's cloth, canvas or leather surface.

Step 3

Remove the acetone polish remover from the shoe by wetting a clean rag with water and liberally applying it to the treated area. As the acetone is pulled from the fabric, the mark should begin to fade and disappear.

Step 4

Spray a clean rag with cooking spray until moist and wipe the stained surface of the shoe, then blot it with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.

Step 5

Rinse the cleaning solutions out of the fabric and allow the shoe(s) to dry completely. Examine the results. Some shoes require up to three treatments to remove Sharpie permanent marks.

references & resources

Francis Walsh

Francis Walsh has been working as a freelance writer since 2003. He has contributed to websites such as Shave, Autogeek and Torque & Chromeas, as well as provided content for private clients. Walsh has worked as a performance part-packer and classic car show promoter, now serving as crew chief for Nitrousfitz Racing.