8 ways to remove permanent marker stains

Here are 8 ways to remove permanent marker stains! Lil’ Duck and his friends have found the Sharpie permanent markers on occasion and boy can those make a mess! Remove permanent marker stains - Sharpie Stain Removal Mess Thankfully, it can be removed, although I still need to work on the carpet. With this list, be careful as to the surface, as some of these things will ruin certain surfaces. I’d suggest spot-testing and using common sense (i.e. not putting bleach on carpet, not using chemicals on skin, etc. ;)). Now I need to get the red kool-aid out of my carpet…

  1. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (also works for crayons, but don’t use it on skin, of course)
  2. WD-40
  3. Anti-bacterial hand gel
  4. Hairspray
  5. Cooking spray
  6. Nail polish remover
  7. Bleach (depending on the surface, of course).
  8. Goof Off

*Updated to add other suggestions….


Eagles Wings suggested acetone for taking sharpies right off of plastic or hard surfaces (keep away from children, of course). Emily said that she got Sharpie on her plastic table, and used nail polish remover to get it off, so there is another vote for that method. I would carefully test that in an inconspicuous area first though, as acetone might damage your surface (yikes!).

Renee said that rubbing alcohol will also remove permanent markers from smooth surfaces (which probably uses a similar idea to #3 above).

Mz Jay had an incident where:

My daughter got her hands on a thick black permanent marker (sharpie) she drew on paper but quite alot of it got on the kitchen table that has a wood finish on top. I used toothpaste and a toothbrush and it removed all the marker on the table! I let the toothpaste sit on all the marks for about 5 minutes and got an old toothbrush and scrubbed away! My table does not have any marker left on it, and the best part is that the toothpaste did not ruin my wood table or the finish that’s on it. I would suggest using the white toothpaste rather than the gel types that are on the market.

Pam G. is doing a penny floor and had to trim some coins – marked with Sharpie permanent marker. Bar Keepers Friend took the permanent marker off, no problem. It is abrasive, but just putting it on and letting it sit for a minute removed almost all.

Louise casts another vote: “Hand sanitizer worked! I was in a panic as my daughters got Bright Pink Sharpie marker on my parent’s newly refinished dining room table! Whew!”

Madison says that WD-40 took the Sharpie off of all surfaces that were tagged!

459 thoughts on “8 ways to remove permanent marker stains

  1. What about a couch

  2. Thanks for the tip about marker pen ink on plastic. I had hairspray which was pretty effective on the smooth surface and limited on rougher surface of my tupperware container, but it certainly made a good difference. Thanks for taking the time to share the tip.

  3. Pine sol.. the yellow one will get the red food color out.

    My issue… miss 8 decided to draw all over her bedroom door (soft, unfinished wood) with sharpie… It’s a rental and I don’t want to ruin the door.. please help. I looked thru many of the comments and didn’t see any for soft unfinished wood, only hard wood floors and finished tables.

  4. Use hot water, salt

  5. I’m doing a penny floor and had to trim some coins – marked with Sharpie perm marker – Bar Keepers Friend took the perm marker off, no problem. It is abrasive, but just putting it on and letting it sit for a minute removed almost all.

  6. well i got sharpie on my plastic table and i used nail polish remover to get it off

  7. Hand sanitizer worked! I was in a panic as my daughters got Bright Pink Sharpie marker on my parent’s newly refinished dining room table! Whew!

  8. Thanks so much! Got permanent marker on my Pergo type floor. The .Mr. Clean Magic Eraser took it right off!

  9. WD-40 took the Sharpie off of all surfaces that were tagged!

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