How To Get Sharpie Off Leather (Properly)

by Albert Varkki updated 07-31-2023

Table Of Contents

child accidentally getting sharpie on dad's leather bag

Due to their waterproof and fade-resistant qualities, Sharpie markers are a standard tool for numerous arts and crafts.

People use them to create edgy designs on various surfaces, including that of leather shoes.

However, the durable characteristics of these markers can be a problem for leather shoes as stains are difficult to remove.

Removing Sharpie stains from leather shoes, bags, or other items can be a headache, whether they result from a poorly executed design or your child’s scribbles.

Either way, you can save your shoes in several ways, so don’t fret:

man trying to clean leather bag

Magic Eraser

  • With a magic eraser, you can eliminate scuffs and stains like ink, paint, and nail polish.
  • To avoid damage, dip the magic eraser in water before rubbing the Sharpie stains lightly in circular motions.
  • Once you’ve removed the Sharpie stains, wipe the area with a moist towel to remove any eraser residue.
  • Use a leather cleaner on the stain and rub it with a soft sponge to properly clean the shoe.
  • Wipe it clean with a moist cloth.
  • After air drying the shoes, condition the leather with a leather conditioner to replenish its natural oils and protect it against other damage.

Rubbing Alcohol

  • Isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol, is a powerful alternative that works well to remove Sharpie stains.
  • Soak a soft cloth or cotton swab in rubbing alcohol. Dab the cotton swab or cloth lightly to remove the Sharpie stain.
  • Rub a cotton swab or fabric on the stain to remove Sharpie stains.
  • Once you can no longer see the Sharpie stain, it’s time to polish the surface with a clean wet cloth.
  • If you can still see the Sharpie stain, continue the procedure until it’s gone.
  • Dab a small amount of leather conditioner on the affected area once you’ve removed the stain to protect the leather and keep it soft.


leather bag next to suncream

  • An unusual yet perfectly doable way is to remove Sharpie stains from your leather item with sun cream.
  • Dab about a pea’s worth of sunscreen onto the soiled part of your leather shoes.
  • Use a delicate cloth to gently rub the sunscreen in a circular motion on the stained area.
  • Let the stain soak in the solution before cleaning it with a damp cloth.
  • Repeat this until the Sharpie stain is gone.
  • Once you can no longer see the stain, apply a leather conditioner to help protect the leather against future stains.

Distilled White Vinegar

  • A popular home ingredient that efficiently erases ink stains from leather is vinegar.
  • Dampen a soft cloth with a tiny bit of distilled white vinegar.
  • Gently rub the soiled area with the cloth in a circular motion.
  • Let the vinegar stay on the stain for a few minutes so the Sharpie ink breaks down.
  • After you’ve let the vinegar sit, remove the vinegar and any leftover Sharpie stain with a clean wet towel.
  • Repeat as necessary until the stain is completely gone.
  • Allow the leather shoe to air dry before you condition it.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get Sharpie marks off shoes?

To remove Sharpie from the shoes, gently clean the remaining stain with a clean cloth or Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol.

You can also use a magic eraser or distilled white vinegar. After the Sharpie stain has faded, you can use a damp cloth to wipe the leather surface and condition the footwear.

Can you use nail polish remover to remove Sharpie off shoes?

Oh yes. Nail polish remover is a fantastic way to make Sharpie get a move on. But it’s not the only way to get Sharpie stains off leather. Learn alternative techniques, too, so you don’t depend on nail polish remover.

Will Sharpie come off leather shoes?

Sharpie features permanent inks that cannot be removed without special solvents or a leather cleaning item. But you can remove Sharpie stains on leather shoes with the right tools and techniques.

Is it possible to remove Sharpie from leather shoes?

While it appears complicated, specific techniques can remove Sharpie from leather shoes. You’ll need rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, and a pea-sized amount of sunscreen.

Apply any of these on a cloth and gently rub it into the Sharpie-marked parts. This should help it dissolve and allow it to disappear. Test a small section of the shoe before working on the complete Sharpie.

Will permanent markers remain on leather shoes?

A permanent marker stays on leather shoes, but you had better use it cautiously in art. Permanent markers are meant to stay on most surfaces, including leather.

The ink from permanent markers can be challenging to remove from leather and create stains when scribbled on.

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We hope you enjoyed our article on how to get sharpie off of leather.

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Author: Albert Varkki

Albert Varkki is the co-founder of Von Baer. He understands leather products as a consumer, supplier, and a manufacturer, helping you with the inside knowledge you need, to choose the perfect leather product for you.

We always aim to have the highest editorial standards, and only publish accurate information on our website.

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