A Parent’s Guide On How To Get Permanent Marker Off Wood

If you’ve found permanent marker drawings on your favorite wood piece, all hope is not lost. Here’s a parent’s guide on how to get permanent marker off wood. 

remove sharpie from wood

There are several DIY permanent marker removal remedies, ranging from simple to risky. Here’s what to try.

Types Of “Wood” 

There are many types of wood furniture and hardwood floors. The harder the wood, the easier it is to remove a permanent marker stain. For soft and unfinished wood, you’ll have a more difficult time.

Real Wood Vs. Laminated Wood

Laminate or laminated wood surfaces are easier to clean and may include a large portion of your wood furniture. You can remove permanent marker stains from them without damaging the surface.

Cleaning laminated wood is similar to cleaning a dry-erase board. Real wood isn’t so easy. 

Finished Vs. Unfinished Wood

Finished wood is varnished, lacquered, or waxed. The finish protects it from absorbing stains. When removing marker stains, you don’t want to hurt the finish so try mild substances first. 

Unfinished wood absorbs moisture. If it’s stained with permanent marker ink, the ink will bleed and expand.

How To Get Permanent Marker Off Wood With Toothpaste

How To Get Permanent Marker Off Wood With Toothpaste

You may be able to remove permanent marker stains with toothpaste. Look for a variety with baking soda or use baking soda and water for similar results.

Here is the best way to remove permanent marker stains from wood with toothpaste or baking soda. 

Apply The Toothpaste

Apply toothpaste to the stain. Use more than you would for brushing your teeth. Let it sit while you move to the next step.

Get A Damp Washcloth

Dampen a washcloth or microfiber rag.

Rub Toothpaste In

Use the rag to rub the toothpaste in a circular motion over the stain. Apply little pressure. Do this until the stain disappears. 

If you notice the wood is damaging, remove the toothpaste, and dry the surface.

Get A Clean Cloth And Wash

Once the stain is gone, or after rubbing for five minutes, use a new damp cloth. This time, wipe the toothpaste away in the direction of the grain.

Dry And Repeat If Necessary

Dry the wood with a fresh rag. Start by buffing it in a round motion and then wipe it back and forth, following the grain. Repeat these steps if necessary.

Substances To Remove Permanent Marker From Wood

Substances To Remove Permanent Marker From Wood

There are other substances you can use to remove sharpie from wood or plastic

  • Rubbing Alcohol – Rubbing alcohol can remove permanent marker stains without harming wood surfaces. If you want to test it, dilute it with water before trying it at 100 percent strength. 
  • Hairspray – Hairspray is an effective way to remove permanent marker stains on wood. Look for a hairspray with high alcohol content.
  • Fingernail Polish Remover – Acetone-based nail polish remover can remove just about anything from wood. But because fingernail polish is so potent, it can also remove the finish from your furniture. Use with caution.
  • Hand Sanitizer – Hand sanitizer contains alcohol, capable of breaking down permanent marker. Try rubbing it against the stain and wiping it away.
  • Magic Eraser – Wet a magic eraser and wipe the marker away. Do a test spot first if you’re cleaning finished wood.

Tips for Removing Permanent Marker Stains without Damaging Your Wood

As with every DIY remedy, there are risks. Here are some tips for removing the permanent marker from your wood furniture.

  • Don’t Scrub – As tempting as it is to use a scrub brush, don’t. Scrubbing with an abrasive pad or brush can damage wood surfaces. If you want to scrub, use a microfiber cloth or soft sponge. 
  • Refinishing – If you can’t remove the permanent marker with one of the methods above, you’ll need to sand and refinish the piece.
  • Testing – For best results, test each method in an inconspicuous area before treating the stain. This can be the backside of a cabinet, the bottom of a rocking chair, or the corner of hardwood flooring.
  • Don’t Use Gel Toothpaste –  Gel toothpaste won’t work well and can damage wood. Soft, white, not whitening toothpaste is your best bet.

Don’t Forget The Skin

When permanent marker stains a floor, it’s because someone had an accident. While many of these substances may work, they’re not all safe for the skin.

One proven method to remove permanent marker from the skin is makeup remover.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

How Do You Remove Dried Sharpie From Wood?

Rubbing alcohol is best for removing dried Sharpie stains from wood. Every home medicine cabinet has a bottle of isopropyl alcohol. It’s the cheapest DIY ink stain remover you find today.

Use a dry cloth and pour some alcohol over it. Do not rub the cloth over the stain, You want to dab it until the stain is gone.

What Are Some Whiteboard Cleaning Hacks?

More homes today have at least one whiteboard. You can remove the stain if you use the wrong marker.

First, draw over the ink marks with a dry erase marker. Let it dry and then remove the eraser marks with a whiteboard eraser. When cleaning the stains, it should remove the permanent ones. marks away.

As a backup, toothpaste will also remove permanent marker stains from a whiteboard.

How Do You Remove Sharpie Marks From A Wall?

You might find this hard to believe but removing Sharpie marks from a wall is super easy. All you need is a magic eraser and Windex. If you don’t have Windex, water will work the same.

Spray the stained area and wipe away the Sharpie stain. Do not apply too much pressure. The goal is to remove the stain without damaging your wall.

How Can You Remove Permanent Marker Off A Polyurethane Finished Table?

Most kitchen tabletops have a polyurethane finish. The finish protects the wood. When your table is stained with permanent ink, do not freak out.

All you need is a towel and rubbing alcohol. For big ink stains, use a little fingernail polish remover.

How Can You Remove Permanent Marker From Melamine Desks?

Permanent ink stains also happen in offices. If your melamine desk at work is stained, don’t worry there’s an easy remedy.

Instead of using a towel or rag, you’ll need a few cotton swabs. You’ll need rubbing alcohol, hairspray, fingernail polish remover, and a water bottle.

Spray the ink stain and with your cotton balls, wipe the stain off your desk.