"You Did What?"
…drew a family portrait. On the couch. With a permanent marker.
What you should do: Soak a cloth with a solvent made to remove ink, like Lift Off #3 (liftoffinc.com for stores), and try blotting the stain to remove it, says Neeraj Gupta, director of product research and development for ServiceMaster Clean, a nationwide cleaning and restoration company. Work from the outside in (where the stain is more concentrated); you don’t want the stain to bleed out as you blot. If you don’t have success, you can try a dry cleaner or a professional upholstery cleaner. Gupta says pros do not usually recommend machine-washing cushion covers, since you can get fading and shrinkage. However, one mom, Julieta Kendall of Riverside, California, got red Sharpie marks off her couch and an armchair by doing just that. “My two-year-old drew everywhere,” she says. “The key to getting it out is not giving up.” Check out the jaw-dropping damage—and Kendall’s amazing results—on her blog, pancakesandfrenchfries.com. And for more tips on removing common kid-related stains, see How to Remove Crayon, Glue, and More Kid Stains.
Resist the urge to: Apply solvents without spot-testing first. Otherwise you could make matters worse—for example, by turning a blue fabric green.