How to Remove Highlighter Stains from Carpets: A Step-by-Step Guide 

children studying on carpet

Highlighters are great tools for studying, but they can be a real pain when they end up on your carpets. Their bright, colorful ink can leave stains that are tough to remove, especially if not attended to immediately. 

In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to remove highlighter stains from carpets, as well as tips on how to avoid damaging the carpet during the cleaning process.

Let’s begin.

Types of Highlighters and their Effects on Carpets

Highlighters come in different types, such as water-based, alcohol-based, and wax-based. The type of highlighter used affects how it interacts with carpet fibers, making some stains harder to remove than others. 

Water-based highlighters are the easiest to clean, while wax-based highlighters can be the most challenging to remove.

Preparing for Stain Removal

Before you start removing the highlighter stain from your carpet, it’s crucial to prepare the affected area. You’ll need a few materials such as rubbing alcohol, vinegar, baking soda, dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, a clean cloth, and a vacuum cleaner

Also, make sure to take necessary precautions such as wearing gloves to protect your hands and testing the cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the carpet to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Remove Highlighter Stains from Carpets

Using Rubbing Alcohol: 

  • Apply rubbing alcohol on the stain and let it sit for 5 minutes. 
  • Blot the stain with a clean cloth, repeating the process until the stain is removed.

Using Vinegar and Baking Soda: 

  • Mix vinegar and baking soda to form a paste. 
  • Apply the paste on the stain and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. 
  • Scrub the stain gently with a soft-bristled brush and rinse with water. 
  • Blot with a clean cloth until dry.

Using Dish Soap and Hydrogen Peroxide: 

  • Mix dish soap and hydrogen peroxide in a bowl. 
  • Apply the solution to the stain and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. 
  • Wipe with a clean cloth until dry.

Using a Commercial Carpet Cleaner: 

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the carpet cleaner. 
  • Apply the cleaner on the stain and let it sit for the recommended time. 
  • Pat with a clean cloth until dry.


After removing the stain, it’s essential to take proper care of the carpet. First, let the carpet dry completely. 

Once dry, vacuum the affected area to restore the texture of the carpet fibers. If the stain isn’t entirely removed, repeat the cleaning process.

Fabric Types and Cleaning Solutions

When it comes to removing highlighter stains from carpets, the cleaning solution you use should match the type of fabric to avoid damaging the fibers. Here are some cleaning solutions that work best for each type of fabric:

  1. Wool Carpets: Wool carpets are delicate and require a gentle cleaning solution. One of the best cleaning solutions for wool carpets is a mixture of vinegar and water. When in doubt, it’s best to call a professional to clean a wool carpet.
  2. Nylon Carpets: Nylon carpets are more durable and can withstand harsher cleaning solutions. A mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water works well for removing highlighter stains from nylon carpets. 
  3. Polyester Carpets: Polyester carpets are stain-resistant, making them easier to clean. A mixture of dish soap and warm water works well for removing highlighter stains from polyester carpets. 
  4. Olefin Carpets: Olefin carpets are known for their resistance to water and stains. A mixture of rubbing alcohol and warm water works well for removing highlighter stains from olefin carpets. 

When to Call a Professional Cleaner

While many highlighter stains can be removed using DIY cleaning solutions, there are times when it’s best to call a professional cleaner. 

Here are some situations when it’s advisable to seek the services of a professional cleaner:

  1. Delicate Carpets: If you have a delicate or high-quality carpet, it’s best to hire a professional cleaner who has experience in handling delicate fibers. Attempting to clean the carpet yourself may result in further damage, leading to more costly repairs.
  2. Set-in Stains: If the highlighter stain has been left for an extended period, it may have set in, making it harder to remove. In such cases, a professional cleaner may be required to remove the stain. Professional cleaners have access to specialized cleaning solutions and equipment that can effectively remove even the most stubborn stains.
  3. Large or Multiple Stains: If you have large or multiple highlighter stains on your carpet, it may be challenging to clean them all using DIY cleaning solutions. In such cases, a professional cleaner can assess the situation and provide a thorough cleaning that will leave your carpet looking new and clean.
  4. Lack of Time or Resources: Cleaning a carpet can be a time-consuming and challenging task, especially if you have a busy schedule or lack the necessary cleaning equipment. In such cases, hiring a professional cleaner can save you time and ensure that the job is done correctly.


Removing highlighter stains from carpets may seem like a daunting task, but it’s entirely possible if you follow the steps above. 

Remember to act fast, avoid using harsh chemicals, and always test cleaning solutions on a small, inconspicuous area of the carpet first. 

With this guide, you can keep your carpets looking clean and new, even if an accident happens.

Do you have more highlighter stains you need to take care of? Read How to Remove Highlighter Stains from Fabric: Effective Methods.

Thanks for dropping by my blog.

-Baking Soda Guy

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