Removing Permanent Marker from Wood Furniture

A colorful wooden dresser.
Permanent marker can really ruin the look of your wood furniture. While permanent marker is generally permanent you want to be careful to not further damage your furniture when trying to remove it. This is a page about removing permanent marker from wood furniture.


Check out these tips.

April 13, 2013

When my new coffee table arrived, it had these permanent marker lines (they could have been there for months, who knew where or when it was manufactured). I was afraid to try alcohol, so before buying the Mr. Clean sponges, I tried a regular white rubber eraser. You can see the results, just a very, very teeny remnant of the lines remain (all the black is gone), but you can only see them if you're looking at the correct angle. I polished it all up with Liquid Gold and it's beautiful.


Marker lines on coffee table.



Table after removing marker.


Thanks for the suggestion!


April 30, 20171 found this helpful
Top Comment

I really want to thank you for this. A houseguest dropped his permanent ink pen on the floor and the next day I noticed that there were two large black stains of ink that had spurted out (and were very dry).


I used the eraser and it worked but was slow. By accident, after taking a break, I washed my hands and came back to it. My hands were still a little wet and wet the eraser slightly. It worked twice as fast wet (a butterscotch-colored gum eraser, old style) and both spots went away completely.

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January 22, 2012

My son recently drew his Nan a lovely picture in permanent marker on her lovely new wooden dressing table. I went to the nearest Coles and bought a Chux Magic Eraser. It was all off in about five minute, good as new. Thanks Chux, they really are magic!

By jofish from Armadale, WA


21 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

August 14, 2011

I already tried furniture polish to remove on Sharpie marker on my finished wood table. Will that have put a "coating" over the marker, or will nail polish remover still work and if not, what will?

By Cheryl I.


August 14, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Goof Off worked when my little sister colored sharpie on it. You could get it from Wal-Mart for less than $3.00.

August 15, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I was able to get black magic marker off a inside wood log with Goof Off, you can buy it at Lowes.

August 15, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Antibacterial soap works great and gets Sharpie off without removing the finish!

August 15, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Don't use nail polish remover it will take finish off.

Answer this Question

November 30, 2010

How do I clean black Sharpie marker off wooden furniture?

By Sherry from Phoenix, AZ


Bronze Tip Medal for All Time! 86 Tips
December 2, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

I used hand sanitizer to get the Sharpie art work off of my coffee table. My grand drew me a pic. It worked like a charm. Good luck.

December 13, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

I just used regular toothpaste and a paper towel and removed green Sharpie from my 5 year olds white wooden dresser. Worked like a charm! Thank you for the tip!

December 20, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

I removed permanent marker off my hardwood floor with hair spray. Tried eraser, no luck, dulled it but it didn't remove it completely. Tried Awesome, again only dulled it and then finally I tried hairspray and wiped away with paper towel.


My mother found this in an old book of home remedies. It said to wipe away with water and vinegar. I think to take the stickiness away.

January 21, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I used regular toothpaste to get a large amount of black permanent marker out of my kitchen table and chairs. It took some srubbing, but it worked like a charm! After, I used vinegar and water with a paper towel to get rid of the stickey-ness. It is as if nothing ever happened!

August 20, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

My gosh I have a polished wooden Japanese antique and my daughter's sharpie was on a baggie placed on the wood. Overnight the ink adhered itself to the wood. I thought it was gone forever, and almost fainted with grief (I really like Japan).


I quickly came online to see what would take off Sharpie pen from wood, and saw this. I tried white toothpaste, and lo and behold, it worked! It worked! Thank you thank you thank you!

Answer this Question

September 11, 2017

My son has got permanent Sharpie markers all over my new gloss, white table. What can I use to get it off?


Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,298 Posts
September 11, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

Spot test if you draw over with dry erase and erase it off. It happened to me but not on a table.

There are other remedies that may be useful:


Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,246 Posts
September 11, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

I'd try the dry eraser method first, if not then try diluted isopropyl alcohol with a magic eraser.


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 433 Posts
September 12, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

You can try Goof off bought in the automotive section. Try on the underside of your table first.

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October 7, 2013

I drew a heart on my hand with red permanent marker. Then when I sat down on my chair I (not knowingly) put my hand down on the white chair. I went to go to the bathroom and came back to see it on the chair, I'm so panicky. The chairs are new and my parents will kill me! Please help. And please answer ASAP! I tried Expo over it, but it only made things worse.

By Chrysanthemum J


October 8, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

Use finger nail poish remover! It works on Sharpie and gets it out or off of anything without leaving any stain or residue.

Answer this Question

June 4, 2004

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


May 26, 20100 found this helpful

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.

July 3, 20160 found this helpful

I have the same problem with my wooden kitchen table. Permanent black Sharpie marker roll over from my son. I tried the toothpaste remedy and it didn't do a thing. I tried a little alcohol and it did come off immediately but also took off the Finish. Did you find a remedy that worked and if so can you please email me. Thanks

August 22, 20190 found this helpful

I found red marker on my beautiful walnut grand piano. I was absolutely sick. Murphys Oil Soap failed. A damp white magic eraser took it right out.

Answer this Question


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

December 22, 2009

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


Removing Permanent Ink from a Table

I know toothpaste gets ink out of fabric. Maybe try it with your table.

Good Luck! (06/06/2004)

By Lee-Ann

Removing Permanent Ink from a Table

I've heard that rubbing alcohol gets permanent marker off. I'd test it on an inconspicuous spot of the table first. (06/06/2004)


By Rennie

Removing Permanent Ink from a Table

Two products which should be available in stores like Wal-Mart are OOPS and GOO Gone. (06/07/2004)

By Linda

Removing Permanent Ink from a Table

Thanks for the tip. I used toothpaste to remove black marker off my dining room table and it really works! (06/22/2004)

By Deborah

Removing Permanent Ink from a Table

Alcohol did the trick. Two months ago I refinished our dining room table with Minwax Polyurethane. My daughter got Sharpie permanent marker on it right in the middle of the table.

Formula 409 did nothing, toothpaste did nothing, but rubbing alcohol took it off with minimal effort and did not damage the finish. (09/15/2004)

By Paul Barry

Removing Permanent Ink from a Table

Toothpaste just got Sharpie off my kitchen table. Wow! (12/30/2004)

By Jaye

Removing Permanent Ink from a Table

I just tried the toothpaste and the rubbing alcohol after my daughter got black permanent marker all over an expensive desk and my computer screen. The toothpaste works, but takes some effort and did damage the surface. The rubbing alcohol worked amazingly better. It took no effort and didn't scratch the surface. (01/09/2005)

By Angela

Removing Permanent Ink from a Table

Just used toothpaste to remove permanent marker from my Teak dining room table and it worked a treat. (02/06/2005)

By Andy

Removing Permanent Ink from a Table

I used Windex to get it off my monitor screen. I had to rub real hard but it came off. (08/11/2005)

By Rob

Removing Permanent Ink from a Table

If you have permanent marker (like a Sharpie) marks all over something, you can easily remove it if it is a smooth surface, like appliances, glass, tables, etc, by using a dry erase marker. Take your dry erase marker and write over it, let it sit a minute, then use a dry erase marker, or better yet, a Mr. Clean Magic eraser and erase it. The chemicals in the dry erase marker breaks down that in the sharpie, so it can easily be erased. I work for a Public School, and we are all the time having this same issue happen. Hope this helps! (08/20/2005)

By Jenny

Removing Permanent Ink from a Table

Didn't know how to execute the toothpaste advise, but the alcohol worked great with a bit of elbow grease. Thanks! (10/27/2005)

By Big muffin

Removing Permanent Ink from a Table

My 2 yr. old son just "drawed" on our brand new wooden table with a blue Sharpie permanent marker. I tried 409, Dish soap, and baby wipes. Then I found this site. I didn't have baking soda (just moved into our new house) or rubbing alcohol. I tried the toothpaste. It took 6 or 7 times. I put on Aquafresh Whitening Expressions toothpaste and rubbed it in with a soft toothbrush. I let that sit for about 5 minutes each time and then scrubbed with a rough sponge. After about 6 or 7 rounds of this, our table is clean again. There is just the faintest blue left in the deep cracks, but you can only tell if you're looking! Thanks everybody! (06/12/2006)

By Leah

Removing Permanent Ink from a Table

Several years ago, when my daughter was one, she got hold of a permanent marker and wrote all over, in big huge swirls, my brand new sofa. I cried hysterically for twenty minutes, then got on the internet. I used rubbing alcohol and that sofa looked brand new in minutes. Same sofa lasted six years and only recently got the boot, only due to too much dog usage.

Today the same daughter used a permanent marker to write on paper and it went through, ruining our wood table. I tried the rubbing alcohol but it didn't seem to do much good. After reading this about "elbow grease", I tried again. Brand new. I also used the alcohol to get some other stains off the table. It worked on two others. Thanks, all. (07/16/2006)

By Annie

Removing Permanent Ink from a computer screen

Thank God for rubbing alcohol. It came right off. (02/18/2007)

By Mary

Removing Permanent Ink from a Table

The tip about toothpaste is excellent. Don't worry about needing alcohol. The toothpaste alone took care of our son's handy artwork on our dinning room table. (03/03/2008)

By Turk

Removing Permanent Ink from a Table

We couldn't get it to work with just the toothpaste, but the rubbing alcohol and a little elbow grease took the permanent marker right out of my son's headboard. (06/29/2008)

By Cate

Removing Permanent Ink from a Table

I was cooking my dinner one night after I got home from work and noticed that there was permanent marker ink on my mom's 100 year old dining room table. I immediately got online and found the website which said use toothpaste and rubbing alcohol. It worked GREAT! The marks are out of the table. Thank Goodness! Thank you so much for this great tip! (07/10/2008)

By Hayley

Removing Permanent Ink from a Table

You're great, toothpaste really works! You saved my table, thanks! (12/13/2008)

By chris


August 31, 2006

How do you clean permanent marker off of wood coffee and end tables without ruining the finish?

Laurie from Havre de Grace, MD


Tip: Removing Permanent Market from Wood Furniture

Do you have permanent marker on your wood furniture? Well, don't worry. Go to the store get Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Apply it and wipe the marker away, it doesn't hurt your wood.

By Desiree W.(10/17/2005)


Thanks so much for the help. I tried Pledge. It didn't work, then I tried some wood cleaner that didn't work, then I tried alcohol. It removed the stain right away! (11/13/2005)

By Celeste

Rubbing Alcohol

I was so mad at my son for using a Sharpie on our new office furniture (also really mad at myself for letting him in the office unsupervised!) I saw the postings and rubbing alcohol worked like a charm! No need to go out and buy the Magic Eraser!(02/28/2006)

By vienna

Clean Magic Eraser AND Rubbing Alcohol

Wow!! Great site, my five year old found a Sharpie and used it early this morning on laminate flooring, a computer desk, linoleum tile, a small wooden desk, the freezer, the fridge. I'm half expecting to find others.

I went to the drug store and sure enough both Mr Clean Magic Eraser AND Rubbing Alcohol (I used 95% Ethanol NOT 70% Isopropyl) were in stock. I found that the Ethanol worked well on the wood, but it left a trace in the linoleum. For some reason, it left a trace on the microwave, but took all the marker off the freezer and small wooden desk. I will post back with results of the Magic Eraser... but this has been interesting if nothing else.

Thank you VERY much to all for taking the time to post your experiences. (03/10/2006)

By Jim Jütte


My daughter was using permanent marker to make pictures, YIKES. It leaked through onto our brand new wood coffee table. I read on a site to use a regular old fashioned eraser. I didn't believe it, but what did I have to lose? It worked like a charm! You need a little elbow grease, but my coffee table looks new again! (03/10/2006)

By Tracy B.


Wow, what a life saver! My daughter just got permanent marker on our wood table; black, blue and red. Googled this site and found the answer. A regular eraser worked like magic. Thank you -- and my daughter thanks you since it will not be coming out of her allowance after all. (03/27/2006)

By Cali Nurse

Praise the Lord for the Magic Eraser!

I just told my daughter that when she goes to Sunday School tomorrow - she better Praise the Lord for the Magic Eraser! I cannot believe it just got green Sharpie off my family room coffee table! Thank you, everyone! (04/22/2006)

By Kathryn

Magic Eraser

I'm so happy I found this site. My 2 1/2 year old got hold of a blue sharpie pen and scribbled all over the front of my computer cabinet. I thought I was going to have to look at that forever. Using the pink eraser worked great but I had to really rub hard and my arm started to hurt. I then tried a magic eraser which worked fantastic. The marker came out completely and I didn't have to rub as hard. Thanks for the tips. I'm sure I'll be back for some other cleaning advice! (04/25/2006)

By Patty


I found that if you rub deodorant on the wood; then you erase it with a regular eraser, it will go away 99.9% of the way and the rest blends in with the wood. Thank you lots! (05/16/2006)

By Mark L.

Regular Eraser vs. Magic Eraser

A regular eraser was doing the job, but the Magic Eraser cut the time at least in half. Now I won't have to put the kids up for adoption when their father comes home! (05/18/2006)

By Carol

Goo Gone

People! The eraser did remove most of the permanent marker from my hardwood floor (with a lot of elbow grease, because my 2 year old damaged a large area) but the eraser also took the finish off the floor. I stopped, went to the pantry and grabbed the Goo Gone and decided to go for it with this powerful stuff, since nothing else was going to work. Guess what! 10 seconds after spraying it on the site, I wiped it with a dry cloth and it disappeared immediately. Goo Gone literally dissolves permanent pen on contact! And it did NOT remove the finish from my floor. I wouldn't let it sit for more than a few seconds though, because it's super strong. I am amazed that it didn't hurt the finish and the ink is 100% gone! (05/24/2006)

By Angela

Magic Eraser

I can't believe the Magic Eraser took the Sharpie artwork of my two year old out in no time - with little effort! Saved my brand new dining room table! It is important to go back and wipe-down, otherwise a chalky reside remains when dry. I just went immediately over it with half and half - H20 and vinegar. Looks perfect! Thanks for posting - your advice was a life saver... (06/03/2006)


Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

I saw the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Idea and was about to run to the store first thing tomorrow, but I saw the Goo be gone listing by one guy and tried the stuff I have called Goof off. It took the marker off my laminate floor without the elbow grease. Cool. Thanks for the help. (06/11/2006)

By Janell in Roseville, CA

My Experience

First, I tried Goo Gone, which did not work for me. Then I used an off-brand eraser. It worked like a charm getting the marker off, but it did scratch the table a little, which will no longer be noticeable the next time I polish the table (and it is probably only still noticeable to me).

Maybe it is more noticeable because it is a light colored solid wood table, and not a darker or laminate wood finish (it is probably the same with solid wood floors as opposed to laminate wood floors). If it happens again I will try the rubbing alcohol first and then the eraser, which takes the marker off because it is mildly abrasive, not some secret chemical.

If I use the eraser again, I will polish the wood first, that way hopefully only the polish will get scratched away with the marker. (06/18/2006)

By Roxanne

Magic Eraser

I am SO happy I found this site. My 4 yr old got a hold of a BLACK permanent marker and was putting dots on a piece of paper AND my husband was supposed to be watching her while I was cooking dinner. Needless to say, he wasn't on top of the situation and there were little black dots on 2 nice size areas on the table. I went and got the hairspray thinking it would take it out. WRONG!
Well, after she kept throwing a fit cause I took the marker away from her and after I chewed my husband out I found this wonderful site. I used a Magic Eraser without using very much effort at all it ALL came out. I then washed the table down with dishwashing liquid and then used furniture polish and now it looks like my 4 year old never touched it and my husband is out of the doghouse. (06/19/2006)

By Tarena

Pencil Eraser

The regular pink eraser worked beautifully and FAST to remove black permanent marker from a Longaberger basket. I was amazed! Thank you! (07/22/2006)

By Valerie

Excellent Advice

I was writing on a CD with a permanent paint marker and somehow it got all over my hands without me knowing and then I proceeded to touch all over my desk with my hands. Brand new desk as well. Thanks for the advice. I used the deodorant and an average pencil eraser to help remove the oil-based paint marker. Thanks again! (07/22/2006)

By Single guy with marker

Off Bug Spray

Thank you so much, OFF bug spray did the trick right away. How amazing!(08/05/2006)

By Cristen

Magic Eraser

I read the responses to this and thought, "No way this will work. I use the Magic Eraser for tons of stuff, but there's no way it will take indelible ink off of my mom's antique hutch. But it's worth a try."

Minutes later, the ink is gone. Unbelievable! Thank you so much! You just saved my three year old from boarding school! (08/17/2006)

By Erin


The off worked perfectly on my countertop. (08/20/2006)

By Kevin

Tropical Off

Wow! Tropical Off worked on a black sharpie stain on my wood countertop. My 5 year old owes his video game privileges to you guys! (08/26/2006)

By Zak

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