Do Fabric Markers Wash Out?

Fabric Marker in use, but Do Fabric Markers Wash Out? Fabric painting using marker pens is a fabric decoration method whose popularity is steadily growing across all age demographics. The main attraction to this decorative technique is the ease of doing it and the artist’s control over the creative process. Fabric markers are an easy way to achieve intricate, hand-drawn art. It is also much simpler to draw thin lines with this technique than with a brush and paint. For those looking to use fabric markers, the main question is, do fabric markers wash out?

Permanent fabric markers do not wash out because they are designed with water-resistant carriers (alcohol and oil); hence water is not enough to break the bond between the carriers and the fabric.

However, there are some wash-out markers whose ink is water-based that do come off after washing. It all depends on the marker type you purchase.

Fabric markers are a fantastic tool that makes it easier to create custom designs on your fabrics quickly and easily. This article comprehensively looks at how to handle and care for your fabric markers and the fabrics that you decorate with them.

Do Fabric Markers Bleed In the Wash?

The permanent ink in fabric markers precludes them from bleeding in the wash, though they may bleed as you use them. However, most people mean permanent markers when they talk of fabric markers, some brands market wash-out pens.

Therefore, the type of pen you buy will significantly determine whether the ink stays intact as you wash the fabric. Below is a look at these two types of fabric markers and their fundamental differences.

Permanent markers

Permanent fabric markers use ink, dyes, and paints that are resistant to bleeding and do not come out in the wash, making the fabrics safe to wash. They are what most people associate with fabric markers.

The best way to ensure that you’re buying a permanent marker is to confirm and run a test. Before you purchase any marker, please read the fine print and ensure it is labeled as waterproof.

However, marketing is not always honest, so always test this claim before actually working with the marker. Get a piece of scrap fabric, draw on it using the marker in question and submerge and brush it in water for some time to see how it responds.


  • The most significant advantage of using permanent fabric markers is that they are durable. As a result, you can use them as a long-term fabric decorating technique on fabrics that require regular washing without fear.


  • The biggest problem with these markers is also their biggest strength. Any marks you make are permanent, which makes mistakes using these markers unforgiving.

Wash-out fabric markers

Fabric markers that manufacturers market as wash-out are designed so that the ink dissolves when you wash the fabric in warm water. A single machine wash cycle using warm water is usually enough to erase the marks left by these pens. Although these pens may seem counterintuitive, several practical reasons make them necessary.

It is essential to note that some pens marketed as wash-out may make marks that are harder than usual to remove. So, make sure you test the fabric on a fabric scrap to know exactly how easy or difficult it is to remove.


  • Wash-out is a great asset when you need to mark patterns or even sew directions that you want to be erased after finishing your project.
  • Washable markers are also more forgiving of mistakes and can be an excellent option for fabrics you will not need to wash, such as tapestries.


  • They are not a good choice if you are looking to create durable designs.

How Do You Wash Clothes After Using Fabric Markers?

Even if you know that you used a washable fabric marker on your project, you may still hesitate before you put your garment in the washing machine. You may be plagued by worries such as the ink bleeding and the color spreading to other fabrics in the wash cycle. However, such worries are almost always unfounded.

Nevertheless, there are still actions you can take to ease your mind on your matter.

First, read the manufacturer’s instructions on using the permanent fabric markers. Almost all marker packages will provide instructions on which fabric they work best with and how to wash the fabric after application. If you cannot find these instructions on the package, you can visit the manufacturer’s website online and get them there or visit a customer care representative.

Most experts recommend washing the fabric inside out on the gentle cycle using warm water to help keep the paint from cracking. Afterward, you can dry the fabric out of the direct line of the sunlight.

Although the marker ink is still safe to wash in warm water, some artists recommend handwashing the fabric or using cold water in the machine for the first wash.

Do Sharpie Fabric Markers Wash Out?

While permanent fabric markers such as Sharpie are marketed as waterproof without the color bleeding, this is not true. Although these markers are resistant to erasure when doing regular washing, you can use several other methods to get the ink from the fabric.

Removing Sharpie ink is more complicated, though, because permanent markers are oil or alcohol-based. These alcohols and oils are known as carriers, and they help in sticking ink to the fabric surface and keeping it there. Since these carriers are water-resistant, water alone is not enough to break the bond between the carrier and the fabric surface.

However, you can remove the ink by targeting the marker stains using products whose designs allow them to break down the alcohols and oils found in sharpie ink. You will expose the colorants, target the discoloration, and then usually clean your fabric.

Below are some of the most common solvents you can use to remove the permanent ink.

  • Alcohol and Alcohol-based Products

These products include: Rubbing alcohol which you can use on most fabric types. However, it could damage some delicate materials such as silk, which you can try dry-cleaning. You can also use an alcohol-based hairspray which will be easier to apply. An alcohol-based sanitizer is also another option, and you can use it on various fabrics since it is much gentler as it was made for your hands.

  • Acetone

Acetone nail polish remover is also a good option when trying to remove permanent ink. It has both acetone and alcohol, both of which can dissolve and remove permanent marker stains. However, since acetone is also tough on delicate materials, you should use it mainly on sturdier materials such as thick cotton or upholstery.

  • Vinegar

Acids such as vinegar or even lemon juice, though only mildly acidic, can dissolve grease, dirt, grime, and mineral deposits. White vinegar will work best with synthetic fibers. Apart from using raw vinegar, you could also make a solution using it, water, and dish soap which has proven effective.

  • Baking Soda

Baking soda is another household product that you can use to remove permanent marker stains. It has a long history of use as a household cleaning product since it dissolves dirt and grease and its a slightly alkaline nature.

You could make a paste using baking soda and water that you can gently rub over the stain. You could also try using baking soda toothpaste. However, such toothpaste may have some other substances that could negatively affect the fabric, so you should use them sparingly.

If the fabric with the stain is not machine-washable, you could sprinkle the baking soda on the ink stain and scrub it into the fabric using a toothbrush.

  • Milk

As unregular as it sounds, you could use regular cow’s milk to take off permanent marker ink stains. You will need to soak the stained rug in it for some minutes, then take it out and wash it.

  • Commercial Stain Removers

Instead of all the hassle of mixing up products in your home, you could get a commercial ink stain remover formulated to do this. You can easily purchase these from hardware and drugstores. If you act quickly, an all-purpose stain remover in your home could also be a viable option.

  • Bleach

If the fabric is white, soaking and washing it with bleach could be an easy and effective way to remove the stains.

So, how exactly should you use all these solvents to get the stain off the fabric? Below is a guide on removing the marker ink stain from the fabric.

Step 1: Always treat the stain as soon as you can.

The first step after staining your fabric is to treat it as soon as you can. Removing the stains before they have had a chance to dry will help you move faster and easier; however, if the stain is already dried onto the fabric, dint worry. While it may take you some extra time to remove the stain, it will still surely come off.

Step 2: Remove the excess ink.

If the ink stain is still wet, you can use a microfiber cloth to blot out the excess. Don’t scrub the stain, and just dab gently to avoid spreading the stain. Also, do not use paper towels o blot out the stain. When damp, paper towels can quickly disintegrate and leave small particles in the fabric’s fiber.

Step 3: Test run the solvent.

Different solvents react differently with various ink types and solvents. Therefore, before applying it to the general area of the stain, you could first check it in on a small fabric scrap to ensure that it will not destroy the fabric. Then, if the testing area has some discoloration or any damage, put that solvent aside and find one that works for you.

Step 4: Apply the solvent.

After selecting the best solvent for your fabric, you can now apply it to the stain directly. You should apply rubbing alcohol, hand-gels, and methylated spirits until the stained area is wet. Let the solvent stay on the fabric for some minutes, around fifteen, to allow it to break the bond between the carrier and the fabric surface.

Step 5: Wash the fabric.

After letting the solvent sit on the stain for some time, you can then pop the fabric into the washing machine for a thorough wash. Allow your fabric to dry naturally after a wash cycle is complete. If there is still discoloration from the ink, repeat the above process before you dry.

If these home remedies have yielded no luck, you could try visiting an expert garment cleaning shop where they can try to remove the stain forever or advise you on how best to tackle the issue.

How Do You Make Fabric Markers Permanent?

First, you have to ensure that the fabric marker you purchase has permanent ink. If you buy a wash-out marker, you will have no chance at making I stick to the fabric through several or even one washing.

After getting the right product, you can take the next step to allow the finished garment to sit for a while before doing anything to it. Let the fabric sit for as long as it will take to dry it completely, which can take 24 hours to 3 days.

After the short drying period, some manufacturers also recommend heat setting your design. You can easily do this by ironing the wrong side of the garment with your iron set to medium-low heat with no steam for around three to five minutes.

If you cannot iron the fabric since it is not flat, such as stuffed animals or a pair of sneakers, you can instead put it in the dryer so that it can heat set.

Even though the design should be permanent as soon as you draw it on the fabric, it never hurt to take extra measures to ensure it.

Do Crayola Fabric Markers Wash Off?

Crayola fabric markers are among some of the most popular marker brands, especially among children. While light marks from Crayola markers may wash off in the washing machine, saturating the fabric with the color well will ensure that the color is more durable. After application, you can also run the fabric through a dryer cycle to permanently lock in the color.

How Do You Revive Crayola Fabric Markers?

Finding out that your fabric marker has dried out can be indescribably frustrating. But you do not have to throw out your marker pen after it has dried out. Instead, there are several ways you can revive them to full potency and working again, depending on the type of marker.

If you would like to revive permanent markers, start by filling a bowl with rubbing alcohol. You don’t need too much rubbing alcohol, just enough to allow you to submerge the tip of your marker.

After soaking the marker tip for a few minutes, you will notice some ink swirling around in the alcohol. When you see this, you can now remove your marker from the liquid and replace the cap.

Store them tip-side up and let them rest for one or two days, after which they should write again if the ink remains in them. You mustn’t allow the markers to dry with their caps off as alcohol evaporates very quickly, and the markers may quickly dry out again.

Another way you could revive your markers is by injecting the marker with either alcohol or acetone directly. Then, inject a milliliter or so of the solvent your marker uses. You can check the manufacturer’s instructions if you are not sure what solvent it uses.

How Long Does It Take Fabric Markers to Dry?

Most fabric markers take around 30 minutes after application to dry, a time during which you are not moving, touching, or heat-setting the fabric. Although it can take 30 minutes, it is always wise to let the fabric sit for at least 24 hours before doing anything to ensure complete drying.

When allowing the markers to dry, it is also essential to follow the manufacturer’s direction. Different manufacturers will have different instructions regarding the drying time required and the methods used to achieve it.

How Can I Write On Fabric Without Bleeding?

Although fabric markers do not bleed in the wash, they are still prone to bleeding during application. However, you can avoid this. First, keep the big picture in mind every time you apply the marker to the fabric. Lingering over one spot is a sure way of ensuring you have inkblots and bleeds. Instead, make large strokes at a time to keep this from happening.

Secondly, choose a smooth fabric with a tight weave. Such fabrics will cut down on any bleeding on your fabric. This preference is because loosely woven fabrics provide more opportunities for the pen nibs to catch, stutter along and create an inkblot on your fabric. The pen will effortlessly glide over the fabric in a tightly woven material instead of snagging on every other fiber.

Third, iron the fabric. If the fabric is iron-friendly, ironing it first is a great way to smoothen out the fabric and remove any rough patches that can cause the pen to snag and ink to bleed and blot.

Final Thoughts

One of the greatest benefits of fabric markers is that you can use them across various age groups, from children still learning the basics of fabric decoration to experienced artists. The pens afford an amount of control that makes learning how to use them a relatively straightforward process. Still, the main question remains,

Do Fabric Markers Wash Out

Permanent fabric markers will not wash out in the washing machine as they have carriers that are water-resistant. On the other hand, Wash-out markers are designed for the ink to be washable for specific users.

We appreciate you for reading to the end of this article, and we hope that it has been informative and addressed any issues you may have had. Feel free to engage us in the comment section below on any questions, suggestions, or comments.

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