Help! My 3-year-old daughter attacked my 6-year-old son with a green marker. The 6-year-old totally deserved it, but the trouble is, the 3-year-old missed and marked up the leather couch! Anything we use tends to take away the coloring of the leather, turning the brown leather white. Any ideas on how to get out the green?? Then we have the white areas to touch up as well….
I certainly hope you took the 3-year-old aside and high-fived her for the BOLD ATTACK against a much larger and more formidable opponent! Way to go 3-year-old! I admire her moxie. Just … when you're taking her aside to tell her that she's awesome, maybe suggest next time she go after the 6-year-old with a Tide Pen instead of a Crayola?
With that said, yeah, marker stains are gonna happen if you have kids. I mean, basically everything bad is going to happen if you have kids, let's be honest here. The good news is that, unlike other messes that kids make, marker stains don't smell and are easy to clean up.
When it comes to ink stains, the two things I want you to remember, if I can ask such a thing of you, are: 1. stay away from water and 2. rubbing alcohol is your go-to cleaner.
The reason you want to stay away from water when you've got an ink stain on something on which you would prefer not to have an ink stain is that the water is quite likely to make the stain spread, which obviously we don't want to have happen!
That same notion is a thing I'd love for you to bear in mind when working with the rubbing alcohol—don't, like, douse the stain with the stuff. What you want to do is dab at the stain with a rag or sponge or even a cotton ball to which you've applied the rubbing alcohol. If need be, squeeze that rag or sponge or cotton ball so that it's damp but not dripping with alcohol. It may take a few applications, but eventually the rubbing alcohol will lift out all those marker stains. This process can also be applied to non-leather upholstery and clothing.
Now, you and I both know that I'm the only cleaning expert in your lives, but on the off chance your cheating heart leads you to another person, place, or thing on the internet doling out cleaning advice, you may see suggestions to use either hairspray or suntan lotion to remove ink stains from leather. If you've got those things in the house, by all means go for it. The reason they work is that they contain alcohol. I already knew about hairspray and why it works, but the sunscreen thing is relatively new to me, so just to be sure, I looked up the ingredients in Banana Boat Sport SPF 30 and, sure enough, denatured alcohol is the first item on the list. A quick note on hairspray: make sure to check the ingredients list—most newer formulations sadly no longer contain alcohol, and so you may end up wasting perfectly good hairspray for naught.
In most instances, the rubbing alcohol or alcohol-based products will work, but if they don't (or if you're dealing with permanent marker stains, which are obviously much trickier) there are some commercial products designed to remove ink stains that you can look for. Hardware and home-improvement stores are your best bet for locating this type of stuff. I cannot encourage you enough to spend any and all excess time you may have on your hands hanging around in a hardware store just checking things out. Perhaps you will get as lucky as I once did and see something like this!
If you're not up to a trip to your local Ace, or just want to familiarize yourself with some brand name ink removers, here are a few products to look out for:
And while its primary use isn't ink-stain removal, WD-40 will take the marker out of your leather. Just spray and wipe, spray and wipe. Perfectly safe on leather. Oh! And since we're talking about kids and their messes, WD-40 is also the stuff you'll want when the kids write on the walls with crayon.
Now that I've written a master's thesis on ink stain removal, let's turn quickly to the triaging of the leather that's gotten bleached out. This is blessedly easy: Brown leather polish (like, shoe polish) is the way to go. Apply the polish to a soft cloth or rag, rub it on the discolored areas in a circular motion, and then buff to shine and remove excess polish.
The glass shower door in our bathroom is constantly turning white with some sort of deposit. We've got a good water softener but that doesn't seem to help much. What is the best way to clean off the white deposits? My wife says the only way to clean it is with a razor scraper, but that is tedious and I don't want to scratch the glass.
Way, way back in October, when there was still sunshine and hope and leaves, and happiness was an actual achievable state rather than but a fond but distant memory, we came together in this here space to talk about tricks for keeping the bathroom clean. Three of them, actually! The thing is, though … I sorta buried the trick for cleaning glass-shower doors down at the bottom of the post in a way that was far too easily overlooked. So here we find ourselves again, poised to pay this subject the attention it so richly deserves.