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Permanent Marker Stain vs. Stinky Pinky

Anyone who has children also has the unenviable task of troubleshooting the inevitable stains that follow those cute little bundles of energy: ink and blood on the carpet, pencils and crayons on the walls, and permanent marker on the table, etc. The wonderful thing is that there is generally a simple and beautiful solution to most common stains and the results are so emotionally satisfying and energizing it pretty much balances out the trauma of discovering the original stain. So, for all of those out there seeking the silver bullet for getting permanent marker off of that heirloom wood trunk, read on for my two Favorite Stain Removal Tricks:

Permanent Marker on Finished Wood I discovered this one in a moment of desperation when the girls had drawn nice swirly patterns on my mother's hand crafted heirloom steamer trunk, not a happy moment I can tell you. I scoured the internet, tried alcohol and everything else under the sun, and then as I sat there in the depths of despair, I noticed I was holding a pink eraser that they had also left at the scene of the crime. We call them stinky pinkies, you know the type, and I thought, "well, it can't hurt" so I tried just erasing the marks. It worked! Permanent marker erases very nicely from finished wood surfaces. Wahoo! I've since had the occasion to use this technique more often than I'd like, but it works every time and the wonder never fades. I tried it the other day using a white eraser instead of the ubiquitous stinky pinky and it still worked.

Blood on Carpet, or Clothing Maybe other parents have children who always get bloody noses right by the bathroom toilet, but we don't. Generally bloody noses are accompanied by trails all around the house: the primary trail as the child in question comes to find me, and a more sporadic one as we together make the trek to the bathroom. I used to dread those experiences until I discovered hydrogen peroxide. Simply pour it on the bloody area, let it foam up, blot it, and repeat until the blood is gone. Voila! One really nice side benefit is that the foaming is so fun and interesting that generally the kiddo who made the mess originally is happy to help clean it up! I've heard that the hydrogen peroxide can bleach some fabrics. I've never had a problem with that, but you might want to be careful.

As with all stains, both of these tricks work better on fresh stains. Once a stain is old and set in its ways, it's a lot harder to get rid of, not impossible, just a lot harder.

I would also like to note here that there is one particular stain that I have never found a solution for (if anyone has, please share and you will be my hero): dry erase marker on anything other than a dry erase board. It won't come out of fabric, it won't come off of walls, it doesn't even fade after lots of intense effort. My eventual solution for one particular set of impervious dry erase wall murals was to repaint the whole room. I think it's kind of tragically ironic that product developers have come up with a whole range of educational products using dry erase markers: coloring books, ABC books, math exercise books, etc. They must have children who always color in the lines and never use any writing utensil on anything other than it's intended surface, certainly not on their hands and shirt. So, two pieces of advice, hide all dry erase markers you own and never buy any product for your children that comes with dry erase markers. There is an upside to all of this though: if you ever want to do fabric drawings, skip the very overpriced fabric markers and go for the much more effective and much more reasonably priced large set of dry erase markers in assorted colors from Sam's Club!

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