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How to Remove Permanent Marker

Posted By Tipnut On August 9, 2010 @ 11:55 am In Fixes & How-To,General | 307 Comments

Did the kiddos get a little “creative” with their coloring? Cleaning things up isn’t so hard with this tip:

  • Try covering the marks with toothpaste then scrub off with a damp cloth (just plain–not the gel kind). I’ve tried this on wood paneling, painted walls and even a porcelain doll face.

ExampleWorks like a charm for me, but didn’t work out so well for you? No worries, there’s a list of more ideas below.

First, this is an experiment I tried on a wood table [1] which had old permanent marker stains. Another several years old abuse. I decided to try toothpaste and they lifted quite nicely.

What I Did: I simply rubbed some in, left it for a minute or two and then took a soapy, wet dishcloth (excess water squeezed out) and rubbed out the stains going with the direction of the grain of the wood. I had to apply some pressure, but it worked!

Caution: Be careful about using toothpaste, make sure to choose a regular kind that doesn’t contain any abrasives. Especially when working on items with a fine finish (such as wood furniture) since you don’t want to scratch the surface.


Here are more helpful tips I’ve organized from readers in the comment area below (for use on wood, walls, floors, clothing–all kinds of things):

  • Color over spot with a dry erase marker, wipe it off and it should pull up the ink too.
  • Try erasing with a pencil eraser.
  • Spray sunscreen over top (don’t leave on wood too long or there may be damage).
  • Apply a bit of hair spray.
  • Spray insect repellent over the ink.
  • Mix 3/4 cup household ammonia with 1 quart water and soak the clothing or laundry item in the solution (tie up the pail of cleaner with the clothing in a plastic garbage bag for 24 hrs).
  • Wipe them away with baby wipes.
  • Hand sanitizer gel rubbed into the spot then washed away does a nice job.

Have I missed your tried & true remedy? Please share it in the comments section below!

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[1] on a wood table: http://tipnut.com/diy-how-to-remove-white-heat-stains-on-wood-table/

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