3 Best Ways to Get Highlighter Out of Carpet

Remove highlighter stains from your carpet, including old highlighter stains, with our 3 most reliable methods. Learn how the pros get highlighter out of carpet.

Whether you’ve got kids or you love using highlighters to stay productive and organized, there’s a chance these brightly colored markers might accidentally end up meeting with your carpet at some point. 

While highlighters aren’t as difficult to remove from carpet as say, crayon or gum, you need to act quickly once you notice a stain to prevent the fluorescent color from sinking into your flooring fibers. We’re sharing three proven methods for how to get highlighter out of carpet easily.

If getting stains out yourself feels like too much work, you can always book a professional, affordable cleaner to take care of things with Homeaglow.

Can highlighter stains be removed from carpet?

Yes, the good news is that highlighter stains can be removed from your carpet quickly and easily. But as with most stains, it’s best if you begin the cleaning process as soon as you notice it.

The longer you leave highlighter ink on your carpet, the harder it can be to remove. Some carpet fibers tend to absorb and hold color more than others, so if you have a light-colored carpet especially, it’s wise to not leave the ink to set in.

Before you start

If you have highlighters in your home, it’s a good idea to keep these items on hand in case you need to remove ink stains from your carpet at any point:

  • Liquid dish soap
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Paper towels
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Clean cloths and towels

If you’ve just noticed a highlighter mark on your carpet and it’s fresh:

  1. Take a paper towel and blot the stain to remove excess ink before it dries
  2. Then use another wet paper towel to dab gently at the highlighter stain. This will help dilute the ink. 
  3. Dry with a fresh paper towel and repeat. 

Depending on the brand of highlighter and the type of carpet you have, these simple steps might be enough to remove a small, fresh stain. If not, it’s time to try out one of these other trusted methods below for getting highlighter out of carpet.

Remember never to vigorously rub at a highlighter stain on your carpet, as this can spread the problem around. Always blot gently, or wipe from the outside edges of the ink stain into the center.

How to get highlighter out of carpet: 3 trusted methods

1. Liquid dish soap method

Our first method is a tried and true way to get fluorescent ink out of carpet. And the best thing is, you’ll probably already have everything you need in your kitchen to get started.

  1. Mix a tablespoon of liquid dish soap and a tablespoon of white vinegar together in a bowl with 2 cups of warm (not hot) water.
  2. Wet a small, clean cloth with your soapy solution, then fold it into a square and press it down on the highlighter stain so the liquid soaks into the carpet fibers. The moistened cloth should rest on top of the stain without wetting too much of the surrounding carpet. 
  3. Leave the cloth sitting on the stain for about 10 minutes (you can weigh it down with something like a book or a plate to keep it pressed down). Then it’s time to get to work on the stain. 
  4. Blot the wet, stained area of carpet with a clean, dry cloth. Make sure you use clean areas of cloth as you work, to avoid re-staining the carpet with the highlighter ink that’s being lifted off the carpet.
  5. Repeat the above steps if there’s still some stain remaining.

Homeaglow pro tip: If there’s still some faint color remaining in your carpet after you’ve completed the above steps a few times, you can wet a clean cloth or cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and press it gently onto the stain. This should quickly lift out any remaining color. 

Finish up by moistening a clean cloth with fresh water and applying to the newly cleaned area of carpet, then dry with a fresh cloth or towel.

2. Baking soda and vinegar method

Baking soda is one of our favorite natural household cleaners, and it’s also one of your secret weapons to get highlighter out of carpet. This method adds a little extra strength to the steps we talked about above.

  1. With a damp paper towel, dab away as much highlighter ink as possible before it dries on your carpet.
  2. Then, mix together two tablespoons of baking soda and two tablespoons of white vinegar in a bowl with two cups of warm water. The baking soda and vinegar will cause a chemical reaction that will help break down the ink in the carpet and make it easier to remove.
  3. Dip a clean cloth into the baking soda solution and gently press it onto the stained area, making sure the carpet is well-saturated so that these natural cleaning substances can do their best work. 
  4. Leave this solution on the stain for around 10 minutes.
  5. The stain should gradually disappear during this time. Then all you’ll need to do is rinse the area gently with a clean cloth dipped in water, and dry it off with a towel.

3. Rubbing alcohol method

If you’ve got rubbing alcohol (aka isopropyl alcohol) in the cupboard, this can make short work of removing highlighter from carpet. 

We recommend putting a dot of rubbing alcohol on a small, inconspicuous area of your carpet before tackling your highlighter stain - as it can occasionally stain or bleach certain types of soft flooring.

  1. Wet a cloth with some rubbing alcohol and gently press it down onto the highlighter stain. 
  2. Repeat this step until the stained area of carpet is well-soaked with the alcohol solution.
  3. Dip a fresh cloth in the rubbing alcohol, and gently rub the stain in a circular motion, taking care not to spread the stain outwards. Avoid vigorously rubbing at the stain. We know it’s tempting, but this can cause damage to your carpet fibers.
  4. When the stain has lifted, carefully rinse the alcohol out of the newly-cleaned area with a cloth soaked in cold water, and then press dry with a towel to remove the excess moisture.

How do you remove old highlighter stains?

If you’ve discovered an old highlighter stain on your carpet, it’s not too late to remove it. We recommend using the rubbing alcohol method mentioned above as your first step.

You can also try a commercial carpet dry cleaning solution or a carpet-safe stain remover. You’ll be able to find both of these at any good homeware or hardware store.

Ready to get that neon highlighter stain out of your carpet?

Highlighter stains aren’t too hard to remove, but as with all stains and spills, you’ll get the best results if you tackle them as soon as you find them.

If you’d like some help keeping your floor or home clean, the Homeaglow team is always available to help out when needed. Find and book your perfect cleaner online today.

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