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HELP! So called "washable" fabric markers not washing out!

Hi All!
I haven't posted here much I'm sorry but I've looked on the web and not found much of a good solution to this specific problem....

I like to use those blue pens for marking my fabric and they're supposed to wash out....but it doesn't! Instead it goes a horrible brown colour as soon as I get it wet and all the projects I've used it on it hasn't come out properly.

Thankfully most have been on patterned fabric but my latest dress is white cotton and it's looking horrible.

I've given it a soak in Napisan and it's currently in the wash. After that I'm thinking of making up a paste solution of the Napisan in the hope that it will work better with less dilution.


Has anyone got any better ideas? And has anyone else experienced this before?

I know I should test it on a small piece of fabric first but isn't easy removal the whole point of these markers? I guess I will have to look for other methods of transferring pattern markings. Disappointing since the pens make such a neat line.

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Unfortunately I don't have much experience with this but mainly because when I first tried fabric pens out, I didn't like how hard it seemed to completely remove the markings.  I assumed that with a full wash it would come out, but a lot of stuff I make is so delicate or dry clean only that I didn't want to risk it.  I do use the chalk type markers - if you get a sharp edge they can give you a clean line, and they come off so easily.  Good luck though. Hopefully someone can give you more advice/tips!

I had this problem on a red skirt. Fortunately, the only place it was visible was right up by the waist where it is usually covered by my tops. It was a blue one and nothing has made it come out. Sorry I can't help there. I did read not to use the blue ones on red or pink fabric.

I've got some pics of it here too.

I've had a similar problem with "vanishing" pens not actually.. vanishing!  Was a purple pen on WHITE poly cotton.  I used baby wet wipes (my tried and tested fall back with any clothing stains) and it came out really nicely.  They seem to have the combination of good detergent/soap and a slight abrasive surface which gets the marks out.  Good luck!

I haven't had this problem lately. I did have regular ink transfer to the white button down I did for the button challenge. Regular rubbing alcohol worked wonders. It disappeared like magic! I just used a q-tip and rubbed it on. I'm not sure if it would work for this type of a marker but it might be worth a try.  I'm hoping you find a solution so you can share with all of us. Good luck!

Are you sure its a wash out one? It could be a heat marker like a frixion? Thats what I use they are pens that say they disappear with friction but actually if you stick a hairdryer or iron over it, it disappears immediately, I can totally reccomend them instead! Thats really sucky I'm sorry about your poor fabric! xx

Eucalyptus essential oil (pure, not in any sort of base) is pretty awesome for getting marker stains off don't know if it'll work in this case but its worth trying. There's also a eucalyptus based stain remover called Bosistos that sells here in Oz - not sure where you are and if its available there.. Hope that helps.

Thanks for all the help everyone! I bought some stuff called StainGo from Coles which seemed to do the trick. It's not bleach based and you can use it dry without washing the fabric after and it did a pretty good job. Still not 100% but it's helped a lot.

I might try the Eucalyptus Oil too and see if that works on the stains on the inside (like in the pic) as they are a bit heavier.


After doing a bit of research it seems that it was either ironing over the marks, or first washing with detergent not PLAIN water is what set them in. I might do some tests on a small piece of fabric to see what is it that makes these markers so permanent.

I'm pretty sure there's a warning I missed somewhere but I think that such products, clearly designed for use in sewing where we are doing a lot of ironing...Or on garments that need washing properly, that the mark that they leave shouldn't be SO hard to remove. From now on I'll use regular washable markers meant for kids!

Thanks for sharing your research. I had heard heat could set them and I think that was the problem I had years ago when it happened to me. I hadn't heard that detergent could set them too. Good to know! I always just through everything into the wash with the rest of the laundry. I won't be doing that again... Thanks again!

I use small slivers of soap to mark.  The tinier the edge, the better.  Sometimes the marks can be hard to see, but the soap slivers generally press right out.  I'd be careful with heavily colored and scented soaps like Irish Spring (green) and such and test first.  Soap smells nice when I'm pressing, too.  It sometimes doesn't come out of dark fabrics perfectly, especially on synthetics.  The plainer the soap, the better.  I'd pre-test any essential oils hand-made soaps**!  They may leave marks depending on content of oils and fats.  I've had good luck with Ivory and an old chunk of Safeguard. Play with it on a variety of fabrics and see.

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