How to Get Highlighter Out of Carpet

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Just like permanent markers, highlighters can leave behind unsightly stains on carpeting. Hiding the fluorescent spot may prove to be more than a little tricky, so deal with the mark while it's still fresh to remove it.

Act Fast When It's Fresh

If you've just noticed the highlighter with its cap off on the carpet, grab paper towels and blot the stain before it dries. Wet another paper towel, wring it out, and dab the spot again, alternating between the wet and dry paper towels to dilute some of the ink from the carpeting and absorb the liquid with the dry paper towel. Working quickly will help prevent at least some of the ink from being absorbed into the carpet fibers.

Soapy Spot Treatment

Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar

  • Liquid dish soap

  • Water

  • Lint-free white cloths

Dish soap, water and white vinegar team up to create a highlighter ink remover for the carpet.

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon each of white vinegar and liquid dish soap into 2 cups of cool water.
  2. Dip a lint-free white cloth into the soapy vinegar solution.
  3. Press the wet cloth over the stain so a little of the liquid soaks the affected carpet fibers. Fold the cloth so the moisture rests over the stain without wetting much of the surrounding area.
  4. After 5 to 10 minutes, blot the area with a dry lint-free white cloth. Rotate the cloth frequently to avoid blotting a stained portion of the cloth back over the carpet.
  5. Rinse off the wet cloth and wring it out; then dab the area again to help remove the soap residue from the carpet. Continue blotting with the dry cloth to remove excess moisture.


If a slight stain is still visible after the soap treatment, dab a small amount of rubbing alcohol on it with a white cloth, pressing down to transfer the ink from the carpet to the cloth. Blot the area with water afterwards, followed by a dry white cloth.


Do not rub or scrub highlighter ink stains, as this may make them larger. If the spot is already large, wipe it from the outside edges of the stain toward the center to avoid spreading the ink.


Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.

View Work