Add to GuideAsk a Question
To Top

Setting Permanent Marker on Clothes

Whether you are assigning or decorating clothing, sometimes you want that marker not to be washed away. This guide is about setting permanent marker on clothes.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

July 12, 20051 found this helpful

How do you SET Sharpie Ink into clothes (primarily cotton or cotton blend t-shirts and also dennim pants/jeans).

I work at a Scout camp and at the end of each week all the staff and kids sign each other's camp shirts (or Jeans - mom's GOTTA love that! LOL). Anyway, last year, my daughter wore her t-shirt a lot and all the sharpie "permenant" ink came out in the wash - isolated case of NOT wanting it to come out, but I can't find anywhere to tell me how to make sure it DOESN'T come out!

Scouter James


By Heidi (Guest Post)
August 27, 20050 found this helpful
Best Answer

I would iron it (as someone else suggested) and then soak it in cold strong saltwater (just as you do when dying a garment). Afterwards wash in cold water only.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By trykbos (Guest Post)
June 16, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

Someone told me to put it in the dryer first.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question...

By 0 found this helpful
March 21, 2017

I have pair of Stone jeans and I wanted to color one with a drawing. If I use permanent markers would it stay on the pants and not fade?



March 21, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

Fabric markers work much better, and won't run when washed.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question...

September 10, 20060 found this helpful

I've drawn on my pants with Permanent Marker and I LOVE the designs I did. How do I preserve it?

Serena from WPB, FL


September 11, 20060 found this helpful

Hand wash in cold with VERY mild soap, hang to dry.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
September 12, 20060 found this helpful

If the designs begin to fade too much.... trace over them again w/ the permanent markers, or maybe you will enjoyu the faded look also, for a while.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
September 12, 20060 found this helpful

If it is the design you love and not the color, draw over it with a bleach pen and you will have a white version. If you want both design and color, then I agree with previous posts, gentle washing and repeat as necessary. A sharpie marker should stay in fairly well.


TC in MO

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
September 16, 20060 found this helpful

why not go over the designs with fabric paint?

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
June 1, 20082 found this helpful

You can use a colorless, water--based, acrylic paint as a sealant for the marker designs. Just brush a thin coat over your designs and allow to dry for 24 hrs. I'd probably turn jeans inside out and apply the acrylic to the back side of the designs as well, to prevent fading from both sides. Once dry, the treated fabric will feel stiffer than the rest but, it should soften up when washed.

Reply Was this helpful? 2
June 18, 20170 found this helpful

Put in inside to wash

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question...

May 22, 20120 found this helpful

This is the last week of school for me and I'm gonna have people sign my jeans, but if I wash them the Sharpie will come out. I need to know to get the ink to set so that it will be there for a while and not wash out after the 1st or 6th wash. I can't get out to get some special fabric ones, so help please!


By Kitty H.


May 23, 20120 found this helpful

What a great idea!

Have you thought about going over the Sharpie signatures with fabric paint after your friends sign the jeans?

You can buy it at stores in the US like Michael's HobbyLobby, JoAnn Fabrics, and other craft stores. You used to be able to buy it at WalMart but most of the stores have really cut back on their craft departments.

Read the labels and directions carefully-several companies make a machine washable line of fabric paints, the paints come in gorgeous colours, some even sparkle and 'puff'.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
May 24, 20120 found this helpful

I don't know what kind of sharpies you use, but I have gotten accidental marks on my clothing that have NEVER washed out after numerous washing.


I had been using the brand name Sharpie (the expensive ones. I know you can get knock offs that have that name). I do use Sharpies to mark names on t-shirt necks that have stayed also. Sometimes alcohol will get some of the ink out, so stay away from that.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
May 24, 20121 found this helpful

You can also hand stitch/embroider the signatures. I have a linen tablecloth from long, long ago that quests would sign and were embroidered over each signature. It looks really cool and you can use whatever color embroidery thread you would like for each signature. Yes, it's time consuming but it's worth it and a piece of artwork that cannot be washed away no matter what and will defintely last for your lifetime and beyond :-)

Reply Was this helpful? 1
May 12, 20170 found this helpful

what a beautiful and original idea

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question...

By 0 found this helpful
May 26, 2005

I made a homemade t-shirt with different colors of permanent Sharpie marker, and would like to know how to wash it without smearing the marker and ruining the t-shirt?




May 27, 20050 found this helpful

i would wash it on permenant press with Woolite

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
June 9, 20050 found this helpful

Before washing, place it in a dishpan or bucket with 1 part white vinegar to 5 parts water for an hour to set the colors. Rinse thoroughly in cold water, then wash by itself, on permanent press cycle, cold water.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
February 24, 20144 found this helpful

(Submitted via email)

The vinegar mixture made the marker run all over the shirt. Do not do this!


Reply Was this helpful? 4
October 19, 20160 found this helpful

The vinegar did the same to a t shirt, colors ran.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question...

By 0 found this helpful
November 4, 2015

I got the autographs of some soccer players on one of the team shirts and I washed it and the ink smudged a little. I was wondering if there was a way to take it out without completely ruinin the real signatures?


October 13, 20170 found this helpful

You can try the Rit Color Grabber.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question...


Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

February 13, 2011

Do you have a child or teen's birthday coming up? How about a church youth group? Here is something we did that youth of all ages enjoy. We bought a package of colored Sharpies. They come in a set of 24 and might be a wee bit on the expensive side, but are worth it for the different shades of colors you get.

Have the young ones, and young at heart bring a t-shirt, pair of jeans, or anything else they have permission to decorate. Place a stiff piece of cardboard in between the front and back sides of the clothing. Lay out the markers on the table and let them go to it.

I have found that after they air for about an hour it helps to heat set the clothing in the dryer for about 10 to 20 minutes. Airing helps get rid of the lingering odor from the Sharpies.

By McCollonough from Nashville, TN

Comment Was this helpful? 7
Related Content
Consumer Advice Tips for ConsumersJanuary 16, 2013
Christmas Ideas!
New Years Ideas!
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Better LivingBudget & FinanceBusiness and LegalComputersConsumer AdviceCraftsEducationEntertainmentFood and RecipesHealth & BeautyHolidays and PartiesHome and GardenMake Your OwnOrganizingParentingPetsPhotosTravel and RecreationWeddings
Desktop Page | View Mobile

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us

© 1997-2017 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Published by .

Generated 2017/12/11 17:13:12 in 1 secs. ⛅️️ ⚡️
Loading Something Awesome!