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Leather is one of those materials that is incredibly versatile and durable. From belts to purses to wallets to shoes to furniture, leather is rugged and long-lasting, and it stands up to a lot of use.

However, if there’s one thing that can negatively impact any leather product and have it looking bad, it’s a sharpie. While this writing utensil has its uses, seeing it on your leather product can be incredibly stressful and aggravating. It may also have you wondering how to get sharpie off leather.

Thankfully, if you notice that any of your leather items have been marked with a sharpie, there are several different methods you can try to remove the ink from the surface.


There are numerous ways to remove sharpie stains from your leather item, with some being more aggressive than others. Depending on the size of the stain, how long it’s been there and the type of leather, you may need to use more than one method to get rid of the sharpie. Always start with the least aggressive option and move on from there.

How to Get Sharpie Off Leather

If you happened to notice sharpie on a leather couch or are wondering how to remove sharpie from leather shoes, any of the following options might work.

Remember: before applying these techniques to your leather item, you want to test a small, inconspicuous area to make sure the removal method doesn’t cause further damage.

1. Sunscreen that You Spray

When wondering how to get sharpie off leather, the first thing you can try is using spray sunscreen. When you find yourself wondering how to remove sharpie from leather shoes or to use this method when dealing with sharpie on a leather couch, here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Spray a Clean Towel with the Sunscreen

Don’t apply the sunscreen directly to the couch. Spray enough on the towel to form a wet spot.

Step 2: Rub in a Circular Motion

You don’t need to be overly aggressive on this step. In fact, it’s best to rub slowly and gently.

Step 3: Use More Sunscreen if Needed

Using sunscreen can be effective, but it takes some patience, and it may require more than application. When learning how to get sharpie off leather, remember to re-apply the sunscreen to the towel before wiping it on the leather surface to remove the sharpie.

Step 4: Remove Sunscreen Residue

When asking how to remove sharpie from leather shoes, once the ink has been removed from the surface, use a clean, dry towel to remove the sunscreen residue.

Step 5: Condition the Leather

To ensure that the leather is restored to its former beauty, after removing the sharpie with sunscreen, you’ll then need to apply a leather conditioner.

2. Hairspray

Another item you might have floating around your house that can help when asking how to get sharpie off leather is oil-free hairspray. The reason this product is so effective is because it contains a high concentration of alcohol.

If you don’t have hairspray in your house, some other options you might consider trying to include hand sanitizer and rubbing alcohol. No matter which option you choose, these are the steps you’ll need to follow:

Step 1: Apply the Product to a Clean Towel

You don’t want to add any of the products listed above directly to your leather item. You should always add it to a towel.

Step 2: Rub the Marked Area

When learning how to remove sharpie from leather shoes, once you have created a wet spot on the towel, you’ll then want to gently rub the marked area on the leather.

Don’t scrub vigorously, as this will damage the leather.

Step 3: Apply Leather Conditioner

Once the sharpie has been removed from the surface of the leather, apply a leather conditioner to repair the damage that might have been done and to ensure your leather item looks good.

3. Baby Wipes

When wondering how to get sharpie off leather, another option you might try is to use baby wipes. These are incredibly effective at removing permanent markers from the skin, and they can be helpful when it comes to leather items as well.

For this, all you need to do is remove the baby wipe from the container and gently wipe it on the stained area.

Once the sharpie has been removed, you can then use a leather conditioner to restore the leather.


Finding a sharpie stain on your leather item can be incredibly frustrating, and trying to remove it might cause stress and worry. However, keep in mind that the sharpie has already ruined the item. Attempting to remove the stain yourself can only improve the situation. If effective, it reduces the cost of having to buy a new leather item.

4. White Vinegar

If you’re looking for something more natural when it comes to asking how to get sharpie off leather, you might consider using white vinegar. This option works best on fresh sharpie stains. It can be used on stains that have been there for a while, but the process may take more time.

Here’s how to use white vinegar when wondering how to remove sharpie from leather shoes and other products:

Step 1: Apply the Vinegar to the Stain

When it comes to applying the vinegar to the sharpie stain, you can either apply it to a clean towel or you can add it to a spray bottle and mist it onto the leather surface.

Step 2: Dab the Stain

After applying the vinegar either with a towel or spray bottle, using another clean, dry towel, you’ll want to dab the stain. Don’t rub. Pat the stain, applying a bit of pressure to remove the ink.

As mentioned, white vinegar works best on fresh stains, but it may still take some time to get the mark out. Continue applying vinegar and blotting for as long as it takes.

Step 3: Use Leather Conditioner

Once the stain has been removed, add a leather conditioner to keep your leather looking amazing.

5. Baking Soda and Toothpaste

Another more natural option you might consider when asking how to get sharpie off leather is to use baking soda and toothpaste.

Baking soda is a versatile, effective product that can be used to clean a variety of items, and it may help you remove sharpie stains from leather as well. The toothpaste helps it stick to the surface.

Step 1: Combine Equal Parts Baking Soda and Toothpaste

Add the same amount of baking soda and toothpaste together in a bowl and mix. If the stain is large, you’ll need to use more of these products than if the stain is smaller.

Step 2: Apply to the Stain and Let Sit

Once you’ve created a paste, you’ll then apply your concoction directly to the stain on your leather item.

Let the baking soda and toothpaste sit for a few minutes.

Step 3: Wipe Away the Paste

After a few minutes have passed, use a damp cloth to wipe the baking soda and toothpaste away from the surface of your leather item.

Step 4: Clean and Condition the Leather

Once the paste and stain have been removed, you’ll then need to use the right leather cleaner to get rid of any residue that might have been left behind. Once the area is clean, apply a leather conditioner.

6. Magic Eraser

By this point in time, you’ve hopefully heard about the Magic Eraser. If you’re like most people, you have several of these in your home because they are so effective at cleaning a variety of surfaces and removing stains that you never thought could be removed. They can also be effective at removing sharpie from leather. All you have to do is follow these steps:

Step 1: Moisten the Magic Eraser

Magic Erasers work best when they are damp. Run this under some water and squeeze out the excess.

Step 2: Wipe in Circular Motions

To remove the sharpie stain from your leather item, you’ll want to gently rub the area in circular motions. Be very cautious with this step. Magic Erasers may feel soft and smooth, but they are incredibly abrasive.

If you get too aggressive with your rubbing, this can scratch the leather and pull out the dye.

Step 3: Condition the Leather

Once the stain has been removed, use a conditioner to bring it back to your leather’s luster.

7. Nail Polish Remover

When wondering how to get sharpie off leather, nail polish remover can be effective, but use this only as a last resort tool. Not only will it remove the sharpie stain, but it could potentially also take out the dyes. If you are asking how to get sharpie off white shoes, this is a good option.

Step 1: Apply the Nail Polish Remover to a Towel or Cotton Swab

The size of the sharpie stain will determine if you need a towel or something smaller. Don’t apply this directly to the leather item.

Step 2: Gently Rub the Stained Area

When asking how to get sharpie off white shoes or other light-colored leather items, once the nail polish remover has been applied to a towel or cotton swab, gently rub the stained area.

Step 3: Clean and Condition the Item

Once the stain is gone, use an appropriate leather cleaner and conditioner to restore the leather.

Applying the Leather Conditioner

On every one of the removal steps listed above, the final step is to apply a leather conditioner. This is because many of the methods can dry the leather out and make it look worn and/or cracked. When it comes to applying leather conditioner, these are the steps you’ll need to take:

Step 1: Add the Conditioner to a Lint-Free Cloth

Adding too much conditioner can damage your leather, so it’s advised that you add a small amount to a lint-free cloth before applying it to your item.

Step 2: Wipe in Circular Motions

Using gentle circular motions, apply the leather conditioner to the surface of your item. Make sure to get it on the area where the stain was just removed, but don’t be afraid to expand beyond and condition other areas as well.

Step 3: Let the Conditioner Dry

Place your leather item in a cool, clean place so that the conditioner can dry.

Keeping Your Leather Looking Good

People are drawn to leather items because they were built to last. They can withstand a variety of uses and abuses and still look good. However, sharpie has a way of taking away your leather’s natural beauty. If you are wondering how to get sharpie off leather, there are several different options you can try, including:

  1. Sunscreen that You Spray
  2. Hairspray
  3. Baby Wipes
  4. White Vinegar
  5. Baking Soda and Toothpaste
  6. Magic Eraser
  7. Nail Polish Remover

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