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Reviving Dried Up Markers

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Sometimes there is plenty of ink left, but the marker tip has dried out. This is a guide about reviving dried up markers.


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August 5, 2014

My son loves to color, he is constantly asking to get the markers out. He just turned two and this is the first set of markers he has had. I noticed that some of his favorite colors were starting to run dry. I was thinking I ought to buy a new set, until I remembered there was a way to get them working again!


  • cup of warm water


  1. First, go through and find all the markers that seem to be running out of ink.
  2. Then, get a glass and add enough warm water to completely cover the tip of the marker. Some of the ink will leak out of the pen into the water.
  3. I would only add colors of a similar hue to the glass, to avoid the pen from sucking up another color.
  4. After about 1 minute of letting the marker soak, take it out and dab it dry on to a paper towel. Test it out, then, place the cap back on.
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  6. This way I was able to get a little bit more life out of the pens. But as you can see with the red marker, it will not have much longer to live.
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Comment Was this helpful? 1
August 6, 20140 found this helpful

I'm an artist, and have been since a very young age. When I was a kid and teenager, I couldn't always get markers when I needed them, or sometimes I had favorite ones, and didn't always receive the same kind each time.

I did something similar to what you did, but just a little more involved. I would take off the back end of the marker (sometimes you might have to pry it up-be careful, and don't do this around your child until he is old enough to be able to revive his own markers), and use something to add water drop by drop to the little "felt straw" inside, until the marker worked again. I think I used an old, cleaned nasal spray bottle-if I were doing it as an adult I would just buy a dropper.

This doubles the life of most colors, since you are wetting the entire tube and not just what can be absorbed through the tip. Some colors don't revive well or at all. You want to drop water slowly so you don't end up with a gush of color coming out of the felt end when you open the cap. For each revival the color will be lighter, but the markers will usually still be usable. $tretch those dollars!

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October 3, 20143 found this helpful

Try reviving your dried up markers before thawing them out. Check out this video and learn how we did it.

Comment Was this helpful? 3
February 20, 20160 found this helpful

Naphtha is the chemical /vehicle that the manufacturers use when they make permanent markers. It is more solvent with inks and evaporates faster when using the marker so the ink does not get all over your project or you. I'm in the process of tracking down a source of the naphtha. Good luck in your search.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
October 26, 2010

How do you revive a dried out magic marker?

By Patti from Portsmouth, OH

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

October 26, 20100 found this helpful

Revive dried-up dry-erase markers by dipping the tip briefly in nail polish remover. Put the cap back on for a few minutes. Test in a corner to make sure it isn't going to damage your whiteboard. There are also water-based, low odor, dry-erase markers that can just be dipped in water like a regular marker. Make sure you know which kind you have!

By Elizabeth Cardell


Revive Dried-up Dry-erase Markers

Thank you! I'll definitely try it and pass it on to fellow teachers! I can never have enough! (08/16/2004)

By sjk

Revive Dried-up Dry-erase Markers

I've found that trying to remove the marking from a dry erase marker on a plastic container can be difficult, if not impossible. It many times leaves a "shadow" of the writing even after scrubbing and bleaching.

So I came up with a way to mark it with the dry erase without leaving the "shadow." I put a strip of scotch tape on the container, then write on the tape. No more "shadows" and the tape is easy to remove. (05/04/2010)

By Cricketnc

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May 17, 20160 found this helpful

If you have permanent marker or very stubborn old dry erase marker on your dry erase board that won't come off, try coloring over it with dry erase marker. It will then come off when you erase the new dry erase marker marks. This should work on other hard surfaces as well. I haven't tried it on plastic.

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