How To Get Sharpie Off Plastic Without Damaging it

Sharpies can get away from anyone, especially children who are just old enough to use one. But to be truthful, anyone can make a mistake, and that’s okay. The problem is how to get rid of that new stain without causing further damage.

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We’ve come up with plenty of solutions to give you an option that works for you and your family. Whether you’re efficient, chemical-free, or vegan, there is a way for you to get sharpie off plastic today! 

Best Way To Get Sharpie Off Plastic

This is probably the most surefire way to get Sharpie off plastic. It is a very common and effective method that most people can do right now. The materials are common household items so it shouldn’t be a problem finding them. 

However, if you don’t have all of them, you can always use substitutes, which we will talk about later. For now, let’s talk about the best way to remove sharpie from plastic. This method rarely fails and is easy to accomplish.

Materials Needed:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton ball
  • Damp cloth
  • Dry cloth
  • Liquid soap

Directions To Get Sharpie Off Plastic:

Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol. Then, gently rub the surface of the plastic with it. The alcohol will break down the marks and return them to their liquid state. When this happens, the marker will lift right up.

Make sure to keep the lid on the rubbing alcohol when you’re not using it. Spilling it can be disastrous. It can break down materials, stink up a whole house, and waste a great bottle of stain remover/disinfectant. 

When you see the marks liquefying, you can wipe them off with a damp cloth. They should come right off. Then, use the cotton ball again as an added measure. Finally, wash the plastic with soapy water then dry it with a dry cloth. 

How to Remove Sharpie Off Plastic With Another Marker

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Another great way to remove sharpie off plastic is to use another marker. This works because the dry-erase marker also has alcohol in it. But it also has friction from the marker. It marks over it and can be erased. 

The first thing you do is color over every inch of the marker, making sure to cover it well. Then, wipe it off with a cloth or dry eraser, just like you were using a dry-erase marker only. If this doesn’t work, move onto other methods. 

Non-Toxic Ways To Get Sharpie Off Plastic

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Most of us want to keep our homes as natural and chemical-free as possible. That’s why trying to remove stains the natural way first is always a good idea. There are plenty of household substances that can remove sharpie. 

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser 

Though Mr. Clean Magic Eraser does contain some unnatural substances, it is considered non-toxic. You can use it to remove most surface stains. Homekeepers swear by Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Use it as instructed to wipe away Sharpie stains. 

The best part about a magic eraser is that you don’t need anything else. No other substances or cloths. Just use the magic eraser the same way that you always do and voila! 

Toothpaste (Or Baking Soda)

Both toothpaste and baking soda can be used to remove Sharpie stains on most substances. Use it like you use rubbing alcohol only make sure you scrub the stain with baking soda or toothpaste. Then wash it well so there won’t be any residue left on the plastic. 


Vinegar is a natural stain remover and cleaner. It can be used on rather tough stains, either alone or with baking soda. Use it just like you would rubbing alcohol. It’s not quite as strong, so may need to sit on the stain for a while. 


Despite popular belief, peroxide is only toxic if consumed and consumed in large, concentrated amounts. Keep it away from children and you won’t have any problems. It works like a slightly weaker rubbing alcohol. 

How to Get Sharpie Off Plastic With Chemicals 

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When it comes down to it, removing a stain is usually more important than staying away from chemicals. You can go right back to your natural, chemical-free life in thirty seconds. Just get rid of the stain first. 


Acetone is a dangerous thing to keep around if you have pets and children. It is used to remove fingernail polish, but can remove almost anything! It’s stronger than rubbing alcohol so it can be useful for stubborn stains. 


A hairspray is a great option. The fumes can be toxic, so try not to spray the can near your face. When using hairspray, the marker streaks stick to the hairspray sprayed and can lift right up when washed. 


WD-40 can grease a Sharpie stain right up. When the stain is greased, it may just wipe right up. But you will be left with another mess to clean up, but WD-40 won’t stain plastic, so it’s just a bit of oil. 

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Other Solutions

There are dozens of solutions to problems like getting permanent markers on plastic. Some require a new way of cleaning and others take a lot of stress out of the equation. Here are other solutions that may fit your lifestyle. 

Throwing The Item Out

If you have to buy new solutions or chemicals to remove the marker stain, it may be cheaper to just buy a new item. If you value your time and money, then this could be the best option. That is if the item is replaceable. 


If the plastic is paintable, sometimes re-painting it is better than removing the stain. This is especially true of the plastic needs a new paint job anyway. Most paints will cover permanent markers, with white being the least effective. 

Strange Household “Cleaners”

Anything with an alcohol base can work to remove sharpie stains. Hand sanitizer is one of the best ways to do this. The gel in it can also be easier to work with than a liquid base like standard rubbing alcohol. 

Lotions, especially sunscreens, can also work wonders. Bug sprays are another option to try if you don’t have anything else on hand. It’s safe to use on skin, just like sunscreen, so both are very safe options. 

Essential Oils

Some essential oils, like tea tree oil, can be used to remove stains. Use a very small amount in a cotton swab and rub the stain away. This is a great way to keep strong, unpleasant smells at bay because tea tree oil smells amazing. 


If the plastic is dishwasher-safe, washing it in the dishwasher may work. However, it may take multiple rounds in the dishwasher to completely rub off. It’s suggested to try to remove it with a substance before running it through the dishwasher. 


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As with any cleaning methods, getting rid of sharpie on plastic comes with its list of warnings. Take heed and read through these warnings before attempting to remove the stain on your own for the best results. You can never be too safe! 

Using Harmful Chemicals

Any time that you use harmful chemicals, you should be very careful. Wear gloves, a mask if need be, and keep your eye on the bottle at all times. Don’t spill or inhale any more than you need to. Stay safe and stay smart. 

Messing Up A Paint Job

If your plastic is painted, then stay away from things like rubbing alcohol, acetone, and peroxide. These can damage paint. Stick to milder methods, perhaps a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or vinegar. As long as the vinegar doesn’t stay on the stain for too long. 

Children’s Toys

When cleaning things that children use, be careful not to use chemicals. If you need to, clean it really well with antibacterial soap and warm water. Let it stay put up for a day after cleaning it before letting them sue it again. 

Wear Gloves 

Even if you’re not using chemicals, it’s good practice to clean while wearing gloves. You will prevent your body oils from getting on the stain and making it worse. You will also prevent getting anything on your skin, even if it’s more Sharpie! 

How To Get Sharpie Off Wood

Getting Sharpie off wood is a lot like getting sharpie off of plastic. More precautions are taken since wood is more easily affected than plastic. Most of the same substances can be used, just in slightly different ways. 

Wood is quite touchy, but it can also be sanded whereas plastic cannot. Wood is natural and is easier to mold and change. Plastic is quite set when purchased. It also depends on whether the wood is finished or not. 

Unfinished wood will soak up whatever is placed on it. Finished wood will not, but you can damage the varnish or paint if you use stronger substances. For a full guide on how to get sharpie off wood, follow these instructions.