How To Get Highlighter Out Of Carpet (Step-by-Step Guide)

Heather Robbins
by Heather Robbins

Kids are attracted to all sorts of objects, but mostly those that are glittery, shiny, bright, and colorful. So, chances are, you may find yourself trying to figure out how to get highlighter stains out of your carpet at some point in your life. However, there’s no need to worry! We are here to help.

To remove the highlighter from your carpet, you will need white vinegar, liquid dish soap, and cold water. Mix in 1 TBSP of each ingredient into 2 cups of cold water. Soak a lint-free cloth into the mixture and start patting down the stain. If this method doesn’t work, you can always try using rubbing alcohol.

Our guide will take you through the correct way to take care of a highlighter stain that’s stuck in your carpet. The only thing you need to do on your end is to make sure you have the correct supplies and follow our instructions.

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Act Fast When It’s Fresh

The minute you realize there’s a highlighter on your carpet without its cap, it’s time to grab some paper towels and blot the area before it completely dries. Have another paper towel on hand that’s wet. Make sure you alternate between dry and damp paper towels to get most of the ink out of the carpet.

By doing this as your first step, you should be able to remove most, if not all, of the stain. Take the time to do this even if the ink is dry as it can lift a good 40% of it before moving on.

Two Methods To Try For Highlighter Stains

Before you begin, ensure you have the supplies that are listed below. You don’t need rubbing alcohol and safety pins at first, although it’s a good idea to have these incase the soap and water don’t work.

Materials You Will Need

  • A roll of paper towels
  • Bowl
  • Cold water
  • Dish soap
  • White vinegar
  • Several lint-free white cloths
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Safety pins
  • Liquid laundry soap

Treat The Area With Soap

Dish soap and white vinegar work wonders for any carpet stain, including highlighter ink.

  • Mix the solution. In a bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of both liquid dish soap and white vinegar in 2 cups of cold water. You will then want to soak a lint-free white cloth into the solution.
  • Soak your stain. Take the wet cloth and press it into the stain. This will release some of the water into the carpet to encourage the stain into the cloth instead of the carpet. Be careful not to soak the surrounding area as it can cause the ink to leak. Fold the cloth to minimize the amount of space the water will enter. Repeat this step for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Dry the area. Take a dry lint-free white cloth and blot the spot. Make sure you turn the cloth over frequently so you avoid putting the ink back onto the carpet.
  • Wash the soap out of your carpet. Rinse your wet cloth and squeeze out the excess water. Dab the area to remove any soap residue.
  • Remove the extra water. Take another dry cloth and pat the area until you’ve soaked up all the excess water in your carpet.

Try Out Rubbing Alcohol

If the soapy solution doesn’t remove the highlighter stains, you can always try rubbing alcohol. However, you want to test an inconspicuous area of your carpet before trying this as rubbing alcohol can stain certain surfaces and carpets.

  • Treat the stain with rubbing alcohol. If your test has proven safe for your carpet, then it’s time to try rubbing alcohol to lift the stain. You can do this by pouring a small amount onto a paper towel to dab the dye. However, if your stain is large and saturated, you can pour the alcohol directly onto the stain.
  • Rub the area with a paper towel. After you’ve dabbed or poured the solution, rub the carpet fibers with a moderate amount of pressure. Make sure you check the paper towel frequently to see if any ink is lifting. If it is, grab some new paper towels and continue so that you avoid pressing ink back into the carpet.
  • Wash the area. Now, you will need to grab a bowl and mix a few drops of liquid laundry detergent into two cups of cold water. Soak up a lint-free white cloth with the solution and scrub the stain. This will help to remove the rubbing alcohol as well.
  • Mark the stains. Now it’s time to grab your safety pins and press them into the middle of the stain or stains that you just treated. You’ll want to let your carpet dry for about an hour.
  • Check your stains. After your carpet has dried a bit, check the spots where you stuck your safety pins. If the stain is still there, you can feel free to repeat the above steps to lift even more ink.
  • Dry the area. After you’ve lifted all the ink, grab a clean towel, and scrub your carpet until it’s relatively dry. You can also turn on a fan to quicken the drying process.

If you’re scrubbing and you don’t feel you’re getting deep enough into the carpet, you can always use a soft bristle scrub brush as an alternative to a paper towel. Or you can scrub the stain with a rough textured washcloth.

Still Having Trouble? Add Some Baking Soda!

If nothing is helping to remove the stain altogether, you can add baking soda into the mixture.

  • Create the solution. Add 2 tablespoons of both white vinegar and liquid dish soap to two cups of cold water. You’ll then want to put about 1 to 2 teaspoons of baking soda into your soapy solution. Mix it all until the baking soda is fully dissolved.
  • Spray the solution onto the area. Fill a spray bottle with your mixture and apply liberally onto the site of the stain. You’ll want to make sure it’s thoroughly soaked, although do this after you’ve tried the above methods and removed most of the ink.
  • Let it sit. Let the solution work its magic for about 10 to 15 minutes. Afterward, dab the area with a wet white cloth.
  • Dry the area. Take a clean cloth, wipe the area until it’s damp, and then let it air dry the rest of the way.

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Related Questions

How do you get highlighter off the floor?

If the above methods don’t work, you can always try using a non-abrasive toothpaste. Apply the toothpaste to the area and rub it in. Let it sit for about a minute, and then rub the rest of the toothpaste into the stain using a clean towel.

How do you remove old highlighter stains?

If you found your stain too late, it’s still important to blot the area with a wet paper towel or a cloth. This helps to lift the excess ink. Afterward, you can treat the stain with a liquid laundry detergent or a stain erasing solution.You’ll then want to go over the area with some cold water and a rag to lift the soap out of the carpet, drawing up the rest of the ink.

Does lemon juice get rid of highlighter?

Lemon juice can help to make a highlighter stain almost undetectable. You can cut a lemon in half and put some of the juice onto a cotton swab or a cloth. Rub the cloth over the carpet and see if this helps the highlighter dull down a bit.

Our Takeaway

After trying these methods, the stain on your carpet should lift up, and the area should look as good as new! Ensure that you use lint-free white cloths so that inked lint doesn’t get between your carpet fibers, as this will defeat the entire purpose of removing the stain. The purpose of the white cloths is to allow you to see whether or not the ink is coming up.

If you find that these methods aren’t working, you can always add some baking soda into the vinegar mixture. This will cause a reaction with the vinegar, which will bubble the ink out of your carpet. When you’re finished, it’ll look like the accident never even happened.

Heather Robbins
Heather Robbins

Heather is a passionate writer who loves anything DIY. Growing up, she learned everything from home repairs to design, and wants to share her tips with you. When she's not writing, she's usually hiking or searching for her next DIY project.

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