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Cannot remove air erasable marks – HELP!

Digi | Posted in General Discussion on

I just completed a shirt for one of my grandsons and, because I was short a button (too long to explain).  Therefore, I spread them all out a bit, made new markings, and sewed them on.  Perfect …except for one thing.  The old markings from the Dritz Air Erasable Fabric Marking Pen DID NOT COME OUT! 

It has been a couple of days now, and the marks are still glaring back at me – right down the center front of the shirt!

I tried a little bit of clear water and that did not work.  They say not to use detergent on their “water” erase marker, so I decided I shouldn’t try that on this air erase either.  I don’t think I will ever buy another Dritz product after this experience.  Other than these marks, the shirt is perfect.  REALLY!  It is perfect …and I am so terribly disappointed.

If anyone else has had this problem and has found a solution, would you kindly share it with me?  You will be blessed if you do.  Thanks so much.


  1. jjgg | | #1

    This is precisely why I NEVER EVER use markers like this. I don't use the water eraser one either (it's blue). I've had the marks come bck to haunt me.

    If I need to mark on a white or very light fabric, I use a .5 mechanical pencil very lightly.

  2. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #2

    You could try a little rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab.  Test it on a scrap of fabric first for colorfastness.  Make sure that the swab is not soaking wet either and rub very gently,from the wrong side of the garment, then dab with a clean paper towel.  Sometimes dry cleaning fluid will work as well.  Many inks are alcohol based and can be removed this way.  It also might work better if you try dabbing through the garment into a paper towel.  If you ironed over the marks, you may have set them permanently, and you may have to come up with a creative way of covering them with extra buttons or something like that.  good luck!

  3. cassiopee | | #3

    I never use the air erasable marker because sometimes they gone to fast for me . 

    I prefer using piece of soap like Ivory when they are to small to be  useful.  Nice and perfect mark staying on but erasable when you want.  Leaving no trace even on silk

    Sometimes I  use the blue marker and erase the mark with hot water (very hot) and q-tip, gently but firmly press on the spot  Sometimes I had to repeat the treatment 2 or 3 times. But it's work. 


  4. SkiNsew | | #4

    Here are some tips that I have kept from various sewing references:

    1.  Use rust remover (Whink) (Martha Pullen board)

    2.  Use a dab of alcholol on a Q-tip (Elona on Sewing World Commons 8/4/03)

    3.  Use a spoonful of baking soda dissolved in a cup of warm water.  (Welmoed on Sewing World Commons 8/4/03)

    I have not used any of these suggestions so I cannot vouch for them but it is a place to start.

    Good Luck


    1. Digi | | #5

      Thanks so much for all of your suggestions, Mary.  I will try each one on a different spot (unfortunately, there are four different places to try ...right down the front of the shirt!  Fortunately, when the shirt is buttoned, the spots won't show.  However, it is a gift for my eldest grandson, so I'd like it to be as close to perfect as possible.

      Also, thanks to everyone else who has made suggestions and helpful tips for future markings.  Needless to say, I am going to toss these Dritz markers ...AND ...I will write to the manufacturer.  I doubt they will respond, but perhaps there is someone there who actually cares if their products work or not.  If I were the head of the company, I'd really like to know.

      Thanks again to everyone who has responded - and special thanks to you, Mary.

      1. damascusannie | | #6

        After you've tried all the other suggestions, there is one thing you can do that's worked on some very stubborn stains for me. (CAUTION: if this is a colored shirt, test this method on a scrap of fabric before attempting it on the shirt. You'll be using an oxygen-based bleaching powder, which shouldn't fade the fabric, but I always test it first.) Make a paste of Oxyclean, put a generous dollop on each of the stains and walk away for an hour. By the time you come back, the paste should be dry. Rinse it off and, hopefully, the stains will be much less noticeable. I was able to pull red wine stains out of a white quilt top this way.

        1. Digi | | #7

          What a great idea.  I'll get some the next time I shop (probably tomorrow) and give it a try.  Thanks so much for the suggestion!

          1. MaryinColorado | | #8

            The marker usually does go away unless you iron it, that sets it into the fabric.  That might be what caused the problem.  Hope you have success removing it.  I have used the Oxyclean soak on light colors only and whites.  I wonder if white vinegar would remove it, maybe try the suggestions everyone made on a scrap of your fabric?  Good luck!  These things always seem to happen on  things that really matter to us it seems.  Mary

          2. Digi | | #9

            Hi Mary:  This week has been a struggle (with the ESRD {End Stage Renal Disease} and I've been quite under the weather all week.  However, I feel better today so will try everyone's suggestions on a scrap of fabric this morning.  Thankfully, the spots are on off white fabric (it is printed all over, but mostly it is off white), so hopefully, one of the suggestions will work.

            I sure do appreciate everyone's thoughtful suggestions and am quite sure at least one of them will work.  It is a shirt for my oldest grandson, so it is important to me that it looks as perfect as a human can make.  The good news is that the spots will be covered when the shirt is buttoned; but you know kids.  Sometimes they wear a cotton shirt over a t-shirt and leave it open down the front.  Anyway, I'll report back to everyone as to which solution worked best.  Thanks again to all who responded.


            PS:  Thankfully, I did not iron any of the spots!  ;-)

            Edited 5/24/2008 11:31 am by Digi

          3. Susan -homedecsewing | | #10

            Hi Digi, this has not so much to do with your problem, but a funny story none the less. I was a seamstress for one of the biggest dry cleaners in town. Anyway the story was that an irate lady came in screaming and yelling at the boss " you did not get the stain out of my blouse and I DEMAND you get it out right now !So he looks at her and says ok lady you want that stain out right now? He then took a pair of scissors and cut the stain out right in front of her ! He did pay for the blouse, but I loved the nerve of him , he's still in business, and has 21 stores !

          4. MaryinColorado | | #13

            Hi Digi, glad to read that you did manage to get the marker out!  Your grandson will be so pleased with your gift of love and talent! 

            I admire you for your perseverance and strength, continuing to enjoy your love of sewing, in spite of your struggle with ESRD.  God bless You!  Mary

    2. Digi | | #11

      Results:  I want to thank EVERYONE who so thoughtfully responded, giving me many options to try.  While I didn't have all of the ingredients to give everyone's idea equal opportunity for success, here's what I found that worked.

      White Vinegar:  The spots came out perfectly, and did not run, spread, or otherwise show in any way.  They are completely gone.

      Hydrogen Peroxide:  The spots came out perfectly using this as well, and neither ran nor spread.  They are completely gone with this substance as well.

      So thank you again for all of your suggestions.  Each was most helpful and greatly appreciated.  Now, I again have a lovely gift for my grandson.  He will be pleased, and I shall tell him that you were all part of the gift!  Blessings to you all.

      1. Teaf5 | | #14

        Thank you so much for posting your success; I'll avoid those markers, but will remember the solution just in case I have some other stain.

        1. Digi | | #15

          Thanks for your note; and you are most welcome.  I will probably continue to use the markers because the removal turned out to be so simple and very successful. 

          That said, I think I'll try them on some scraps of colored fabrics and with different fiber contents (cotton, silk, wool, rayon, etc) to see how the different removal products work on those.  I actually like the fine lines of the air removal pens, so we'll see what happens with my experiment.

          It is pouring rain in my part of the country today, so I plan to sew all day.  Wonderful!  Happy Sewing!

          Edited 6/2/2008 11:25 am by Digi

        2. MaryinColorado | | #16

          Peroxide is great for getting out blood stains I discovered when I was working as a nurse.  Since we seamstresses/seamsters often prick our fingers or "drive" the sewing machine through them at times, thought I'd mention it.  Happy and "safe" sewing!  Watch out for those sharp rotary cutters.  And sewing sounds like such a benign experience to those who haven't experienced it....ha ha, little do they know how exciting it can be.  Mary

          1. Teaf5 | | #17

            Doesn't peroxide bleach the fabric? I've never used it on anything other than whites. Since I've had plenty of practice getting blood stains out of my sewing projects, I'm a firm believer in the old superstition that a drop of blood brings good luck to the wearer....

          2. MaryinColorado | | #18

            I hadn't heard that one before, guess I "should" have really outstanding luck!  Lots of blood drops when I was a nurse as well as from sewing.  ha ha 

            Yes, I used peroxide on all my colored scrubs and on a few other things.  I would probably test it on a spot on my good clothes though.  Mary

          3. platexas | | #19

            For getting out stains from YOUR OWN BLOOD, put some of your spit on a qtip, etc. and blot. This won't work on anyone else's blood. Can't remember where I learned this but it definitely works.

          4. MaryinColorado | | #20

            Interesting!  It must be the digestive enzymes, but I can't imagine why it would make a difference who's blood it is.  Hmmm.  I wonder if that's true, now I'm curious about that.

          5. Ralphetta | | #21

            I seem to bleed a little on almost anything I do by hand. Now, I guess I will be spitting on them also. If this info gets out to the general public, no one will ever want to buy handmade items again!

      2. lakeeriebum | | #24

        I can't thank all of you enough for posting this information-even though it is old.

        I thought I ruined a 15 shirt order using that Dritz Fine Point Dissapearing Ink Pen,

        I just tossed it!

        THANK YOU!!!!!

  5. vwren99 | | #12

    Try soaking the shirt in clear water.  A little dab isn't always going to be enough to remove the markings.

  6. lenorede | | #22

    Removing fabric marker from garment

    I was on this site to see if anyone knew how to remove air erase fabric market from a garment.  I found several, but I just tried my own solution, and it worked like a charm.  I use Resolve pre-treat for my laundry, so I put some on a q-tip and gently rubbed the marker spot.  Wa La, spot gone.  I don't know how this would work on colored fabric.  I used it on white cotton.

    1. Pattiann42 | | #23

      Removing Fabric Marker From Garment

      It is always good to read an "update" as the original post is 6 years old and products can undergo manufacturing changes.

      Taking a few minutes to do a bit of testing before starting the project can help avoid of problems. 

      I use a scrap of the project fabric and include pressing as part of the test.  Heat (dry and steam) from the iron can not only affect the fabric, but can also set fabric marking products and make them permanent.

      My pre-project test also includes the settings on the sewing machine, thread, needle type and size as well as the marker.

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