How to remove permanent marker: FAQ

What a relief! Permanent marker stains may not be as permanent as you’d think. Check out our top tips sure to help you remove permanent marker stains from different surfaces.

Updated

removing permanent marker from plastic

Key steps

  • For plastic and non-porous surfaces, such as metal or vinyl, there are several solutions. Wiping the stain with alcohol applied directly to a cloth is particularly effective.
  • To erase permanent marker stains on unfinished wood, it’s best to consult a professional before trying to tackle it.
  • Nail polish remover is useful to remove permanent marker stains from walls, but you’ll want to test it on a small and discreet area first.

Thankfully, permanent marker isn’t as permanent as you’d think. Using the correct everyday household substance and a little persistence, you have a very good chance of removing that accidental scribble. Here is a guide for how to remove permanent marker from a variety of surfaces, including wood, plastic, leather furniture, and walls. If you want to know more about removing general ink stains from clothes, this article shows you how!

When trying out any cleaning product, always test on a small part of the surface first.

How to remove permanent marker from plastic and other non-porous surfaces

If the permanent marker is on plastic or another non-porous surface like Formica, metal, or vinyl, you’re in luck! This is the easiest kind of surface to erase permanent marker from. Therse are the most effective solutions for how to remove permanent marker from plastic or non-porous surfaces:

  • Rubbing alcohol — Ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol (often called ‘rubbing alcohol’) is very effective at breaking down the chemicals in permanent inks. Always read the label before using and test on a small, inconspicuous area first. Apply the alcohol to a clean towel and wipe away at the stain until it disappears.
  • Hand sanitizer — An alcohol-based hand sanitizer or antibacterial soap works in just the same way as rubbing alcohol. Remember to read the label and test it on a small area first before applying to the stain. Simply squirt some onto the stain and use a clean cloth to rub away at the stain.
  • Toothpaste and baking soda — In a small cup, mix together one part baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and one part white toothpaste (not the gel variety). Test this solution on a small area first and then apply it to the stain and work away at it.

How to remove permanent marker from clothes?

Rubbing alcohol is a godsend for a variety of ink stains, including clothing and skin. To remove fabric marker from clothing simply lay the stain face down on top of paper towels. Dip a cloth in the rubbing alcohol and dab around the stain and then dab directly on it. You may need to change the paper towel so that it can continue to absorb the stain, so make sure you have your towels at the ready.

How to take sharpie off skin

It’s quite easy! All you need again is rubbing alcohol. Just dip a cotton ball in the rubbing alcohol and apply it to the skin for a few seconds. You can then wipe until the stain is gone. Avoid rubbing the skin, as this can cause irritation.

How to remove permanent marker from wood

First thing’s first: is the wood finished or unfinished?

  • If it’s finished or “sealed,” you’ll stand a much better chance when it comes to removing the permanent ink stain. You can even try one of the suggestions for non-porous surfaces – just remember to test it on a small area first and read the directions on the label.
  • If you want to know how to remove permanent marker stains from unfinished wood, it might be best to consult a professional for advice.

How to erase permanent marker from walls

Any of the previously suggested solutions could work on walls, but hand sanitizer is an especially popular choice. You may also want to consider nail polish remover.

As always, test the nail polish remover out first in a discreet spot on the wall. Dampen a clean cloth with nail polish remover and work away at the stain. Just be aware that sometimes it can also remove the print from a wallpaper, so avoid using it on any decorated walls.

How to remove permanent marker off leather

Too much moisture will damage leather, so find a can of aerosol hairspray and spray it on the stain. With a clean towel, you should be able to rub away at the permanent marker stain. Finish by cleaning off any hairspray residue and treating the surface with a leather conditioner.

Whether you wish to learn how to remove permanent marker from plastic or figure out how to remove permanent marker from clothes, the key is patience and persistence. Your toddler may still go wild with the art projects, but in case there are any accidents, you no longer have to worry about permanent marker stains staying permanent.

Originally published