Basically every home has at least one permanent or indelible marker in a drawer somewhere. The permanent marker was invented in 1952 and the well-known brand Sharpie was first introduced for purchase in 1964.

The Sharpie brand was helped along the road to fame by the endorsement of famous actors such as Johnny Carson and Jack Parr. Former President George W. Bush preferred Sharpie brand markers; he even had personalized Sharpie pens in the White House and Camp David. By the end of 2002, over 200 million Sharpie markers had been produced. There are now 39 colors of Sharpie on the market.

Sharpie’s rank high on the permanent marker scale. The Sharpie left an average of 4.4 marker on fabric with a rating scale of 1 to 5 with the 1 being no marker remaining and 5 being all ink remaining.

A permanent marker may be classified as such if it adheres to most surfaces and is water resistant. While the permanency of the marker is the desired quality, it is also the problem when a mark is placed upon an undesired location such as piece of furniture or a wall.

Although the word “permanent” is part of the description for these types of markers, this description is actually a bit of a disguise. There are ways to remove the unwanted stain they can leave behind when dropped with the cap off or when a child creates an “art piece” in an undesired location such as a wall, clothing, or on their skin.

For removing permanent marker from a painted wall, hand sanitizer may be used. First, test a small amount on a portion of the wall to make sure it doesn’t remove the paint. Use a sponge to scrub the wall. If this process fails, try toothpaste or rubbing alcohol, again test a small area first. For carpet use white vinegar, for most furniture milk is the suggested remedy.

Clothing and cloth footwear generally respond well to hairspray applied with cotton balls. Soak the cotton ball with the hairspray and press it onto the stained area until the ink is transferred over to the cotton ball. Use a new cotton ball when the first one begins to look discolored. Additionally, the affected area of the garment may be soaked in milk overnight to remove the permanent marker, as long as the fabric won't be negatively affected.

For shoes not made of cloth use nail polish remover and a clean cloth, it is best to test a small area with an ear swab first to see if the shoe color fades.

To remove permanent marker from skin, use rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover on a paper towel and scrub the skin.

— Marla Ballard’s Master of Disguise normally appears in the Times-Journal Wednesday editions.

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