Permanent Markers

Permanent markers are a wonderful thing, that is until there is an accident. Anyone with children knows it doesn't take long for the kids to leave permanent works of art all over the house. Of course, there is always that time little Sally thought she would draw her doll some new makeup. Other accidents can include goofing off or just being careless. Find a nicely decorated item at a rummage sale or maybe a new house came equipped with little marks here and there? Common places for those works of arts and accidents are on desk, walls, mp3 players, cell phones, toys, cabinets, computers and tables. Try these tips before totally freaking out over the little mishap or tossing it to the curb.

Cleaning Eraser:

These are little white sponge like cleaners found in the cleaning section of stores. These work on some permanent marks, but not all.


Take a dab of toothpaste and smear it onto the surface, directly where the marks are. Now rub it in and then white it away with a slightly damp cloth. Make sure to select regular, non-abrasive toothpaste. Abrasive can make scratches or damage the finish of some surfaces, especially wood and lcd screens.


Hairspray works wonders on slick surfaces, like plastic or metal. Simply hold a cloth or paper towel tightly below the marks. Then spray the marks away. As the it sprays, the marker should run with the hairspray liquid. It needs to be caught as it drips and wiped completely up. Be sure to wash the surface afterwards. Do not use this method on wood surfaces.

Sunscreen Lotion:

Seems crazy but this will work for some marker stains. Best of all this is safer to use on some surfaces because it's not stick like the hairspray and will not scratch surfaces.

Dry Erase Marker:

Go over the permanent marks, rewetting them and wipe them away.

Rubbing Alcohol:

Rubbing alcohol can be used to remove permanent marker but should only be used on nonpermeable surfaces. Wet the mark and wipe away.

Bug Spray:

This would be an aerosol canned regular bug spray like Cutter or Off. Simply spray the permanent marker, marks with the bug spray. Be sure to use a cloth of some sort to catch any that drips and to wipe away. Do not use bug spray on anything a child or pet might put in their mouth. Only use this on wood as a last resort.

How well does it work?

Some of these methods will work on all surfaces. Others will be trial and error. However, at least one of these methods should work. In some cases, it will fade the permanent marker but still leave some trace. Shades of red are the most difficult of all to remove from surfaces. Absorbent materials are also harder to work with than hard when removing permanent marker.