Marker is pretty tough to get out, but there are a few products that will help. For the WGSH jumpsuit type fabrics I have a few suggestions:
First of all - get yourself some disposable gloves. Most of the stuff I use here is non-toxic, but all are recommended against prolonged skin contact. The best and cheapest solution I have found comes from the Target $1.00 Travel / Trial size section of the Pharmacy - Red Cross Examination Gloves (10 to a package) for $1. They are powder free, go on easy, and give you all the manual dexterity you need to clean.
Here are the fabric cleaners I use:
Gonzo - My favorite tool. This is a delicates fabric cleaner that you can find at most fabric stores (like JoAnn's). It works pretty well at getting out dark or set in stains. Work it into the stains with your fingers, and let it set about 10 minutes before you add it to the wash. I recommend Woolite Delicates Cleaner, as it is the most gentle I have use that still gets the job done. Let the wask soak for about 15 minutes, stirring once every 3 minutes for 15 seconds, then double rinse.
One word of caution with using it - as it soaks into the fabric to work out the stain it has a tendency to release latent dye in the material. This can cause some dye bleeding during drying from darker areas to lighter areas (like the area around Batman's trunks). If you use this make sure to blot the material between two layers of absorbent cloth (an old towel works great) to get as much water out before letting it air dry.
Oxy-Clean Stain Spray - my #2 weapon, and it works best at getting out dark stains like ink and grease. This stuff is a gel that you work into the the stains with your fingers. Work in a generous amount, and let it set about 10 minutes before you add it to the wash. Let the wask soak for about 15 minutes, stirring once every 3 minutes for 15 seconds, then double rinse, and let air dry.
Shout Stain Fighter Spray (Gel) - this works pretty well on WGSH fabric, though not as good as the first two. It does work better than the first two on tougher fabrics like denim or canvas. Since this is also a gel use the same instructions as the Oxy-Clean Spray.
It may take repeated washings (as many as half a dozen or more) but you will see even tough stains come out slowly but surely. If desired, you can also add some powdered Oxy-Clean Booster to the Woolite soaking bath. I recommend the "scent free" brand as it works the best for me, though you do have to mix it seperately since it needs hot water to activate, and you are washing with cold water for the Woolite. Take just a spoonful of it and mix with the hotest 6 oz of water your tap will offer, then mix it in a non-drinking cup (with a lid if you have it because it will foam up as it activates), then pour it into the Woolite bath. The small amount of hot water will not be harmful to the cold water bath, but it works well to power out stains..
However, at times you will come across permanent marker, oil, black ink, or set in grease, which the above cleaners will be able to clear some, but not all, of the stain. This means it is time to move onto...
The Big Guns -
Clorox Bleach Pen - this product comes with a small chisel pen point to literally mark out the stains. However, this product is not color safe, so it will remove ALL dye from the area, which means you will need to use fabric marker pens to fill the original color back in once the stain is gone. This can take repeated bleachings, washings, recolorings, repeats before it is finished, but it works on the toughest stains.
There is one other cleaner I am experimenting with now (and please forgive the fact that I can't remember the name of it off the top of my head) from Wal-Mart that works by soaking through and blotting the stain. It works like this: put some product on the set in grease/ink/etc. and let set 30 seconds. Have an absorbent cloth placed under the material to catch the soak through, and blot with absorbent cloth to remove the stains. You'll see the stains coming off onto the blotter as you go. I gave this a trial run just last night on an Iron Man suit where someone put permanent marker dots above the chest button. It looks like the first run was about 50% effective, so I have hopes for it, though it is a real pain to use.
Anyway, I hope this helps, and please let me know if you have any questions or need any others tips.
Last edited by Flynne; Feb 7, '08 at 11:45 AM.
An old Irish Blessing - "May those who love us, love us; and if they do not love us, may God turn their hearts; and if He does not turn their hearts, may He turn their ankles, that we may know them by their limping"