"I have marker stains on my vinyl upholstery."
Diana Chiodo, via e-mail
If the spots stem from a permanent marker, you're probably out of luck. But if the culprit was washable ink (say, from a Crayola or Rose Art marker), rubbing alcohol may work—provided you apply it immediately, says Jotham Hatch, the training director at Chem-Dry, a cleaning company. First dab some alcohol on a white towel and spot-test on an inconspicuous part of the upholstery. If the vinyl's color isn't affected, blot alcohol onto the stain. It should disappear quickly. If it doesn't, don't persist. Instead, says Neeraj Gupta, the director of product research and development for the cleaning company ServiceMaster Clean, try the same method with a water-based solution (like Goof Off Spot Heavy Duty, $4, goofoffstainremover.com). If that tactic fails, consult a furniture-restoration professional. He can repigment the fabric ($100 to $200, depending on size) or replace the marred section.
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