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Removing Permanent Marker

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Tip of a Sharpie marker at the end of a squiggly line on white background.

Permanent marker stains are a common household mini disaster. Despite the name, permanent marker stains may sometimes be removed quite effectively. This is a guide about removing permanent marker stains.

Solutions: Removing Permanent Marker

Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: Dry Eraser to Remove Permanent Marker

My name is Shannon and I have found an amazing, magical, cleaning assistant. You see, I have an almost 3 year old at home who loves to get his hands on permanent markers and color on things he shouldn't. Like my antique coffee table and 2 end tables that happen to be solid wood and my favorite cherry stain color. Today, I found 3 more "drawings" he had been hiding from me all in permanent marker.

Now, I do drawings and art projects that require me to use such markers and I have them in EVERY color you could possibly think of. This time he had gone to far, he drew on all three of my tables, HIS cherry stain sleigh bed, his cherry stain dresser AND our RENTED white walls.

Frantically I called my mother to ask her what to do. She told me that at the hospital where she works at; when someone accidentally gets permanent marker on a solid surface where it doesn't belong, they just take a dry erase marker and go over the permanent marker and it comes right off. I then explained that I had NO idea how long it had been there and that it was in all different colors; but all she said is it won't hurt to try.

She said to use any dry erase marker color you have, it doesn't matter. Scribble over the permanent marker and then wipe it away with a paper towel, cloth or whatever you have and, "POOF", it's gone. She also told me that when I use it on the white wall it might leave a hint of the dry erase markers color but all you need is a wet rag or something to get that off.

To my surprise, IT WORKED! ON ALL THE SURFACES! It almost makes me want to draw on things with a sharpie just for fun. So I guess grandma saves her grandson yet again from one of his goofy mistakes.

By Shannon

Tip: Toothpaste to Remove Marker

For those of you who were wondering how to get Magic Marker off walls, leather, and anything other than wood furniture, use toothpaste (not gel). Rub it in, then use a damp rag to wipe the toothpaste and magic marker away.

By castleberrycc from Saint Louis, MO

Tip: Dry Erase Marker Over Permanent Marker On White Boards

Should someone get permanent marker on your dry eraser board, there is a very simple way to fix that problem. Trace over the words or marks with a dry eraser marker, and then wipe clean. I learned this from a teacher. This tip came in handy when my 4 year old accidentally used a red permanent marker for a dry board marker.

By Mandee from Spokane, WA

Tip: Tips for Removing Permanent Marker

  • furniture - milk

  • clothes - hand sanitizer

  • walls - toothpaste or hairspray

  • wood - rubbing alcohol

  • carpet - white vinegar
Hope this tip helps.


Tip: Removing Permanent Marker

As a teacher, once when I was preparing for a class, I used a permanent marker on the new dry eraser board. I read the marker and found EXPO's 1-800 number and called it for help. You can erase permanent marker by writing over it with another marker and wiping it off with a tissue.

The second method for removing it is EXPO Erase spray. I have removed many a nasty note (middle schoolers) from desks, chairs, and mirrors in the bathroom. It should be named Miracle Spray.

By SandyE from Battle Creek, MI

Tip: Use Insect Repellent to Remove Permanent Marker

If you every need to get permanent marker off of a hard surface (folder, notebook, counter, floor, etc.), use bug spray.

By Fun-n'-dorky

Tip: Use Alcohol To Remove Permanent Marker

If you get permanent marker on appliances/counter tops (like store receipt blue!), you can remove it with rubbing alcohol on a paper towel.

Source: My Mom

By JodiT from Aurora, CO

Tip: Goof Off to Remove Permanent Marker

Use a product called Goof Off. I spayed this on the marker spot and it ran off. Be sure to have a dry rag to wipe it up quickly. It's the only thing that takes it all off.

    By jerryminshall [1]

    Tip: Sun Tan Lotion for Permanent Marker on Leather

    The only solution for removing permanent marker on leather furniture is spray on sun tan lotion, with SPF or not. I used Coppertone spray on with 30 SPF. Nothing else worked, not 99% alcohol, Goo Gone, leather package - all set the marker stain. Fortunately ours is a dark couch so I can follow it up with a bit of leather conditioner, Vaseline jelly, or other product which should take care of the almost unnoticeable rest. I am very glad I found this. It saved a very expensive, virtually brand new, all leather recliner from being thrown out.


    Tip: Removing Sharpie Off a Table

    Just get an eraser, get it wet and erase the mark. It worked really good for me. Hope it works for you!

    By Jordan

    Tip: Removing Permanent Marker

    I was able to get permanent black marker off of wood logs with Goof Off.

    By LaDonna from KS

    Give a "thumbs up" to the solution that worked the best! Do you have a better solution? Click here to share it!


    Here are questions related to Removing Permanent Marker.

    Question: Removing Permanent Pen from Leather Car Interior

    How do I remove permanent pen from leather car interior?

    By Margaret

    Question: Removing Sharpie from a Painted Door

    How do I remove Sharpie permanent marker from a door with yellow paint?

    By EE from Malaysia

    Question: Removing Permanent Marker from the Bottom of Pottery

    I have purchased several pieces of pottery from various thrift shops over the years and they insist on marking them on the bottoms where they are unglazed with permanent markers. Some of the markings are on a ceramic type of pottery as well as clay. Any suggestions on getting it off? Thanks.

    By Jay

    Question: Texta (Permanent Marker) on Phone Cover

    I need ideas for removing gold texta (marker) from either a vinyl or leather phone cover.

    By JS

    Question: Removing Permanent Marker from Inside Dryer

    My friends left a permanent marker in my dryer and I didn't notice until the dryer stopped. How can I get the permanent marker out of my dryer?

    By SDA from Bluefield, WV

    Question: Removing Black Marker from Rubber Gym Ball

    I played a practical joke on my girlfriend by drawing a face on her gym ball to discover to my horror that it was in fact her sister's. To make matters worse, the pen that I thought was just a dry board pen was in fact a marker and isn't coming off. I've tried sunscreen, toothpaste, nail polish remover, and my aftershave, and nothing is removing it.

    Please help!

    By Andy

    Question: Removing Permanent Marker from XBox 360 Controller

    My 2 year old got a hold of a permanent marker this morning and wrote all over my boyfriend's Xbox 360 controllers. Any ideas how to get the marker off?

    By Nataley S.

    Most Recent Answer

    By Maggilu06/19/2013

    Rubbing alcohol should remove most permanent market without damaging electronics. Dip a cotton ball in the Isopropyl alcohol, squeeze it out, and gently rub it on the marks. Be careful, it might also remove printing on the controller. If that fails, an acetone nail polish remove might work, but could discolor the plastic. You might want to do a test spot with a cotton swab before trying to clean the whole thing.
    And make sure those permanent markers are kept out of reach!

    Question: Removing Black Permanent Marker on Blouse

    I just bought a brand new very pale pink blouse from Lands End and my first time wearing it at work today I accidentally got black permanent marker on it. I read some suggestions here and tried hair spray first which didn't work. Then I tried rubbing alcohol and that didn't work. I just threw it in the wash after putting a ton of detergent on it. I doubt that will work. Any other suggestions?

    By Jeanie H

    Most Recent Answer


    Try "Krud Kutter". I bought a lace tablecloth at a garage sale and after I washed it, I saw red nail polish on it. I sprayed it with Krud Kutter 3 times and the red polish came out. It worked great on wood trim that had old paint on it. You might have to do it a couple of times but it works great.

    Question: Removing Black Magic Marker Stains on Fabric

    How would you get out black stains from a black Magic Marker out of nylon?

    By J Miller

    Question: Removing Marker from Painted Door

    I want to remove marker pen from my painted front door. Any suggestions?

    By Sandra from Bristol, England

    Most Recent Answer

    By Jackolyn Smith [14]01/31/2012

    Nail polish removers will take off permanent marker. When my son was around 5 yrs. old, he decided to redo the outside of 10 kitchen cabinets with black marker! I tried scrubbing them with everything I could think of. I finally tried the nail polish remover and it took it right off without even scrubbing! But then I had to put some wax on the doors to put the shine back on.

    Question: Removing Permanent Marker from Tupperware

    How do you remove a name written with black permanent marker from a vintage piece of Tupperware? We have tried Goof Off, Goo Gone, finger nail polish, baking soda paste, hair spray, alcohol, Barkeeper's Friend, Comet, and the name still remains. Although dull, it is still distinctly there. Any other suggestions?

    By Frances

    Most Recent Answer

    By Kat [7]10/14/2011

    WD40 might do the trick...

    Question: Removing Black Permanent Marker from Clothing

    I bought some white and pink little girls onesies to add a cute little a skirt onto. They were on sale when I bought them. The store marked a black line through the fabric where the tag is in the back. Does anyone know of any kind of cleaner or home remedy that will take the mark out without ruining the fabric? Desperate!

    By Sheila H.

    Most Recent Answer

    By Shirley Darby [7]09/23/2011

    I have used tea tree oil to remove both permanent marker and non-waterbased paint from hard surfaces, skin and fabrics. A little goes a long way, use a rag or a cotton ball to saturate the stain and absorb the ink. Once the stain is gone, use Formula 409 or other grease removal cleaner to treat the oily areas, then wash with regular laundry.

    Question: Removing Permanent Marker from a White Board

    How do I remove permanent marker off of a white board?

    By Annie

    Most Recent Answer

    By Kim McGrantham [16]10/11/2011

    To get permanent marker off any hard surface; go to a craft store and buy a 1/2 ounce glass jar of Testors Enamel Thinner. Dip a qtip into it or dab some on a cotton ball.. then wip off with a paper towel! It works great!
    On a white board however, the tip from gondodeb is true! Just go over the marker with a dry-erase marker and it will rub right off :)

    Question: Removing Permanent Marker on a Signed Shirt

    Please could you help with some advice. I have a fully signed England shirt (in black permanent marker), which is great. Unfortunately at the top it's signed "to all at XXX", XXX being my work place. But I've been given it as a gift from management. Is there a way of removing the "to all at, etc." without removing any of the rest (signatures)? Thanks, much appreciated.

    By JamesF

    Most Recent Answer

    By Jess [111]06/06/2013

    I have had good luck in removing sharpie from a backpack with isopropyl alcohol. There is a chance that it will take away the background color too so test it first to be sure.

    Question: Permanent Marker Inside Dryer

    How do we remove permanent marker from the drum of a dryer?

    By Bill from Dubuque, IA

    Most Recent Answer

    By Grandma J [46]03/06/2011

    Permanent maker won't come off on clothing, the heat just keeps setting it into the metal.

    Question: Removing Permanent Marker

    I need to get permanent marker out of multi-colored comforter. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

    By atjojo from OH

    Most Recent Answer

    By Anne [3]12/30/2010

    This may sound a little nutty. First buy a small bottle shampoo for Oily Hair. I've found that of all brands, Head and Shoulders still makes a shampoo for oily hair, yes a dandruff shampoo. The base ingredient in almost all permanent markers is oil.

    Regular Plain Old Vegetable oil will remove permanent marker from any surface, including=lamp shades, antique embroidered chairs, sweat shirts, t-shirts, curtains, pretty much any fabric in my home has had permanent marker on it, when my daughter was between 3 years and 7 years. She was always sorry and it truly wasn't on purpose-well except maybe the lamp shade-she was trying to make it prettier, but all it did was make my hair stand on end, as that shade was in perfect shape, it is silk, and was my grandmother's. Arghh.

    I prefer the least yellow oil that I can find. Using just a paper towel, or soft cloth (swiffer cloths work well) Then I set in to scrubbing the area with the smallest amount of oil at a time until all the marker is gone. If it's on clothing, you can just wash the clothing in your washer normally after hand scrubbing the area with the shampoo for oily hair.

    With furniture, a very thin mixture of Dawn dish washing liquid & water, mixed with a bit of rubbing alcohol will pull the oily mixture right out of that piece of furniture. Trust me, I must have done this over a thousand times since having my baby-now 21 yrs, and just on Monday, she got a sharpie marker in her khaki work pants, her favorite pair.

    Good luck!

    Question: Permanent Marker on Flat Based Paint

    I need to know how to remove markers off flat painted walls.

    By Nasha

    Question: Permanent Marker on Walker

    I was recently give a walker, which I assume is aluminum or some light weight metal. A previous owners name was written on it in what appears to be black permanent marker. There is also a sticker on it that will not peel off. Is there a way I can remove the name and sticker?


    Most Recent Answer

    By patty [7]06/13/2010

    There is a product called ink away made by goo gone.
    The bottle I have is 2 fl.oz. so its a small bottle. My kids got ahold of a permenent marker in my van and it took it off! I was amazed! and so relieved!
    I got it at menards or lowes.

    Question: Removing Sharpie Marker from Cement

    Okay, this may sound lame but does anybody know how to get sharpie off cement? We had a few vandilizers and need help!

    Most Recent Answer

    By Shanell06/20/2012

    First, I loosen up the stain with soapy water and brush. Then, I pour fingernail polish remover over the stain and it works perfectly to remove the stain.

    Question: Removing Permanent Ink from a Table

    Help! My daughter got black permanent ink on my kitchen table. It is medium oak color. Any ideas?

    Most Recent Answer

    By JB05/26/2010

    My 4yr old decorated our wooden stools with black Texta. I tried toothpaste - it didn't work, hand sanitiser - didn't work, hair spray - didn't work (this is great though for Biro on velour), then Gumption. This is a paste you can buy in the cleaning section of the supermarket. It was great. Bit of rubbing required with a damp cloth and all gone.


    Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

    Archive: Removing Permanent Marker

    My child drew on his car seat with a permanent marker do you know of anything that will get it off. it is my friend's son's seat, it is not even mine.



    Nail Polish Remover

    To clean permanent marker from almost anything, use non-acetone nail polish remover on a cotton ball. It even took the marker off of an antique piece with no damage. (04/05/2005)

    By Mary Engeling

    RE: Removing Permanent Marker

    We used rubbing alcohol to get it off the counters at my workplace. That ought to be safe for faces. (04/06/2005)

    By Anna

    RE: Removing Permanent Marker

    I've tried to use tooth paste then use oxy clean. Most people don't know how to use it. You have to let it set for 30 min then wash and scrub and do again for it to work on most things. (05/06/2005)

    By Amanda

    Removing Permanent Marker from Tables and Counters

    Hair spray will dissolve permanent marker from tables, counters,etc. instantly. Then just wipe off. (05/09/2005)

    By glohndorf

    RE: Removing Permanent Marker

    The non-acetone nail polish remover worked great! it got red permanent marker out of my favorite pair of jeans. (10/30/2005)

    By Emily

    RE: Removing Permanent Marker

    to jennifer who 3yr old put permanent marker on her face. My 4 yr. old just did that yesterday and I used the kandoo wipes from pampers. i just took one rubbed it on her marks they came off so easy.hope it helps. (11/22/2005)

    By Elana

    RE: Removing Permanent Marker

    Using hair spray and rubbing alcohol worked great. I thought my carpet was ruined (02/18/2006)

    By Gail

    RE: Removing Permanent Marker

    I had permanent marker on a white cotton dress shirt and got it out with some advise from above, and a little of my own experimentation. I had left it for 3 days before even attempting to get the stain out. I used the non-acetone rubbing alcohol and got the majority of the stain out. It was still very visible so I took some Tide laundry detergent and let that set on the stain for about 5 minutes, rubbed the fabric together and the stain is history! Thank goodness. (02/25/2006)

    By Lee-Anne

    RE: Removing Permanent Marker

    Try some pures (hand sanitizer) mixed up with rubbing alcohol.That got most of my 2 year olds permanent marker artwork of my microfiber sofa ! ;O) (03/20/2006)

    By TANJA

    RE: Removing Permanent Marker

    Non-acetone nail polish remover worked for me on my drum set. I rubbed off all the autographs so i can sell it clean. (05/08/2006)

    By Rusty SHakelford

    RE: Removing Permanent Marker

    The nail polish remover worked perfect on my microfiber couch. It was a blue sharpie that my son used to draw on! (05/17/2006)

    By TODD

    RE: Removing Permanent Marker

    The Huggies baby wipes worked brilliantly on my one years olds face. thank you very much for advice. (05/24/2006)

    By Tony

    RE: Removing Permanent Marker

    A Magic Eraser and Orange Clean removed a pitch black area of permanent marker from a beige computer monitor. (06/10/2006)

    By Christian Willman

    RE: Removing Permanent Marker

    Nail polish remover works GREAT on kid's toys and mirrors! Takes the marker right off! (06/25/2006)

    By Morgan

    RE: Removing Permanent Marker

    I got permanent marker on my kitchen table and I used Deep Woods Off on it and if worked like magic! I recommend it. (09/09/2006)

    By Danielle

    RE: Removing Permanent Marker

    I used the toothpaste trick on my wood coffee table, and it worked great. My son recently wrote on our microfiber sofa with a sharpie, so I'm about to try the nail polish and possibly the insect repellant. As far as the kid's face goes, I'd say give it a few baths. (09/12/2006)

    By Emmy

    RE: Removing Permanent Marker

    The insect repellant works great on everything except for wood. Or maybe it just doesn't work on unfinished wood. It lightened the color of the wood when I used it. (09/16/2006)

    By peaches2627

    RE: Removing Permanent Marker

    My 2 yr. old son just decorated our hardwood side table with a green Sharpie. While I was reading to see how to get it out, my father tried Orange Clean and it worked!! (09/16/2006)

    By Heather

    Archive: Removing Permanent Marker

    How do you get permanent marker off of wood floors, laminated wood desktop and a variety of toys?

    Nonnie from Worth, IL


    I am so glad first of all, not to be the only one with a child that likes to write on everything. My Son decided that he wanted to write not only on my desk but the keyboard and monitor. The monitor was easy I just used windex, but the nailpolish remover really worked on the keyboard. THANKS (02/04/2007)

    By Melissa

    Brake or Carb Cleaner

    I to have experienced the infamous 2 year old with a permanent marker. I tried everything I could think of around the house. Hair spray, nail polish remover, all kinds of cleaners. Then discovered the greatest thing in the world, brake or carb cleaner. Every parts store carries it, most men have it laying around. Smells strong but removes sharpie and permanent marker with no scrubbing. (02/07/2007)

    By Daniel

    Fresh Stains

    Hate to say.. I tried almost everything everyone has said to try.. Unless the stain is fresh it won't come off. My son's girlfriend wrote on his car's gray dashboard with black permanent marker... well he didn't tell me upfront (tried to fix it himself). Now the stain has set and won't come off, unless there is a miracle cure out there... get the stain while its fresh. (03/04/2007)

    By Monica

    Rubbing Alcohol

    We have a new dining room table, cherry wood grain, with four Sharpie marks from my artist daughter. Worried about the wood finish and thinking it was all over for her rear end, I read the notes here and tried a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol on it. IT WORKED great and I followed with a good rinsing. Our daughter now owes $10 for pain and suffering but I think her bottom will survive! (03/15/2007)

    By Heidi

    Archive: Removing Nail Poish from LCD TV Screen

    My 6 yr old accidentally touched the LCD screen while her nail polish was still wet. I tried soap, detergent, and LCD cleaner each separately. I could get some of it out, but most of it still remains. I see suggestions on 50/50 isopropyl/water and non-acetone polish remover. But I am worried about damaging the plastic coat of the screen. Please suggest to me what to do. Thanks.

    Archive: Removing Permanent Marker

    How do I remove Sharpie ink from my computer flat screen and keyboard?