How To Remove Permanent Marker

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A permanent marker might be a nifty art tool, but it can be an incredibly frustrating tool at the same time due to the whole “permanent” nature of the pen. Whether it is a little one scribbling on something that they shouldn’t or an art piece that goes a bit wrong, a permanent marker can be a total nightmare if it gets into the wrong places. 

The name “permanent” has some rather frightening connotations, and they can leave some stubborn stains, but it is far from a problem that cannot be solved. No longer do you need to dread once you see a permanent marker pen in the hand of a tyrannous toddler or if your hand slips at the wrong moment whilst drawing! 

We have created a handy guide that will help you through removing permanent markers from a wide range of materials and surfaces. Let’s take a look. 

What Removes Permanent Markers?

The first thing to remember is that permanent markers are water-resistant, which means that they don’t come off with soap alone. They won’t dissolve easily in alcohol, either. They’re very hard to remove without causing damage to whatever surface they were applied on.

The best way to get rid of permanent markers is by using a solvent known as acetone. Acetone is commonly used as a household cleaner, used for cleaning everything from paintbrushes to glass. It works well because its ingredients dissolve most types of ink (inclu­ding permanent) and leaves no residue behind.

Acetone is available at most hardware stores and grocery stores. If you’re not sure whether what you’ve got contains pure acetone, then look for the ingredient “acetone” on the label.

There should only be two things listed there – acetone and water. If there is anything else at all listed under the acetone section, then it isn’t pure acetone. 

Acetone is quite strong, so be careful not to get any on your skin. If you have sensitive skin, wear rubber gloves; otherwise, regular cotton ones will do just fine. Acetone is flammable, so make sure you don’t let kids or pets near it. Avoid breathing in the fumes, too. 

You can use rubbing alcohol instead if you don’t have access to acetone. Acetone is stronger than alcohol, but it is still effective enough for removing most types of ink. Make sure you don’t mix them together, though, as this may damage your paper.

If you’ve tried everything else and nothing seems to work for you, then you may need a different approach. For example, if your goal is to remove ink stains from fabric, you might need to soak the fabric in hot water. Hot water will soften up the material so that the marker can be washed off easier. 

You can also use nail polish removers too, as they are solvents that contain chemicals that are designed to break down certain kinds of ink. However, if you’re dealing with a particularly stubborn marker stain, then even this method might not be enough.

There are certain methods that are more effective when it comes to removing permanent markers than others, depending on the material involved.  With this in mind, let’s take a look at how to remove permanent markers from certain materials. 

Removing Permanent Marker From Fabric

Fabric is an incredibly tough material to remove permanent markers from. Fabric is made up of fibers that stick together tightly, which is why it is hard to get permanent marker stains out of it. When you use permanent markers, the ink doesn’t get absorbed into the fibers and remains on the surface. 

To remove permanent marker off fabric, you need to be gentle when removing it. Soak the fabric in warm water for a few minutes until it becomes soft, then proceed to squeeze out as much moisture as possible before applying the aforementioned acetone. Use plenty of acetone, because too little will leave the stain intact.

After you’ve removed most of the moisture, you’re ready to start working on removing the ink from the fabric. Rub the area where the marker has been applied with a clean cloth or sponge. Keep doing this until you’ve removed the stain. 

When the stain has been removed, rinse the fabric thoroughly under cold running water to remove any remaining traces of aceto­ne. Dry the fabric carefully with a towel and you should-hopefully- have removed the marker stain, or at least made some decent progress!.

Removing Permanent Marker From Skin

Permanent markers can be harmful to your skin, as they can cause significant irritation and dryness. Therefore, if you do end up with permanent marker on your skin, it is best to remove it as quickly as possible. Wipe off any excess ink that comes into contact with your skin. This way, you won’t end up leaving a residue behind.

One particularly effective method when it comes to removing the marker from your skin is by using an old toothbrush to scrub the affected area thoroughly. Be careful not to scratch yourself while you do this. After scrubbing the area, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water

Next, apply some moisturizer to your skin as this will help prevent your skin from drying out. You should be able to find one specifically designed for removing ink stains. You can use baby oil if you’re having trouble finding an appropriate moisturizer.

Removing Permanent Marker From Metal, Plastic, Or Laminate

Metal, plastic, and laminate surfaces are usually hard to clean off permanent markers because they don’t have any natural oils present. If you want to remove permanent markers from these surfaces, you’ll first need to make sure that there isn’t any grease or dirt present. If there is, then you’ll need to clean the area thoroughly before you attempt to remove the permanent marker. 

Take extra care when removing permanent markers from metal, plastic, or laminate though, as you can sometimes do yourself an injury whilst handling these kinds of materials. Always wear gloves when handling these types of items.

Once the area is clean, and you are sure that you are able to handle the material carefully, there are a few different ways that you can use to try to get rid of the permanent marker stain. If you have access to a blow-dryer, then you can use this to heat up the item and make it easier to remove the permanent marker. 

Alternatively, you could place the object into a bowl filled with hot soapy water. If neither of these methods works, then you’ll need to soak the item in alcohol. You need to act fast because alcohol evaporates quickly.

To do this, put some rubbing alcohol on the surface and leave it alone for about five minutes. If you have a cotton swab handy, this is a really handy way to get rid of the marker stains once the rubbing alcohol has been applied.

The rubbing alcohol should have softened the permanent marker, allowing you to remove it much more easily.

Removing Permanent Marker From Leather

Another type of material that resists removal of permanent markers is leather. It doesn’t contain any oil, making it difficult to remove permanent markers. To remove permanent marker from leather, you’ll need to soak the item in warm water. Make sure you only use water that is at room temperature to make for the most effective way to remove the marker. 

After you’ve soaked the leather, rub it vigorously until there are no traces of permanent marker left. Use a damp cloth or paper towel to remove the remaining ink.

After wiping off the ink, rinse the item under running water and clean and dry it with a towel, which you can then use to pat down the leather item. This helps to ensure no residual moisture remains on your leather.

Removing Permanent Marker From Wood

Wood is another type of material that is tricky to remove permanent marker stains from, such as wooden furniture. To remove permanent marker ink from wood, you’ll first need to scrape off as many of the residues as possible.

Use a sharp knife and carefully slice along the lines drawn by the permanent marker, and then scrape the excess ink off the blade of the knife. 

After removing as much ink as possible, wipe off the knife against a cloth or a piece of newspaper. Use a soft brush or sponge to gently clean the wooden surface. Don’t be too rough when cleaning the surface. 

Clean the area with a clean cloth, and then use a damp sponge to apply a bit of dish soap to the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes before you rinse the area thoroughly with cold water. If necessary, repeat this process and then use a clean cloth to wipe away any remaining liquid.

Final Thoughts

So there you have some helpful tips to get rid of permanent marker stains across a wide range of different materials and surfaces! It is easy to accidentally get markers in places where they really shouldn’t be, but hopefully, you’ll be able to get rid of them much easier thanks to our tips.

Just make sure that your little terrors don’t get their hands on them anytime soon!

How to Remove Permanent Marker (From Almost Anything)