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How To Get Permanent Marker Out Of Almost Anything

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Permanent marker can be tough to remove. Whether the offending spot is merely an errant swipe on your granite countertop, or is the output of an artistic child who tapped into her inner Banksy and graffitied all over your walls, that stuff is tenacious.

After all, the word “permanent” is right there in the name. Which means it’s not gonna come out, right?

Wrong! Clever mamas have lots of expert tricks for getting permanent marker off everything from curtains to countertops to clothing. Penny Pinchin’ Mom, in particular, seems to have it all figured out. In fact, she made this handy infographic to help people figure out how to remove permanent marker from just about everything:

Okay. So these sound great in theory. But do these handy tips really work?

I decided to find out.

Removing Permanent Marker From Your Clothes (?)

First, she says you can get permanent marker out of your clothes by using hand sanitizer. So I grabbed a permanent marker, plus a shirt I don’t really wear anymore, and I gave it a quick swipe:

Bridget Sharkey

Good. Then I took some hand sanitizer and proceeded to drown the stain in the gel:

Bridget Sharkey

You guys.

Bridget Sharkey

Hmm. OK. Like I said, I don’t really wear this shirt anymore. But, I was starting to get a bit concerned about the rest of these experiments. (For what it’s worth it did FADE the permanent marker a bit, but I’m inclined to think that a regular washing cycle would have the same impact.)

Removing Permanent Marker From Ceramic

So what if you get permanent marker on a glass or ceramic surface? In those cases, according to the chart, you’re supposed to use a combo of baking soda and toothpaste.

Bridget Sharkey

This is one of my favorite coffee mugs. I like it because it’s giant and it has a sassy pink octopus on it. My tentacles were definitely gonna get into a twist if this toothpaste-baking soda trick didn’t work. Also, I had to use up the very last of the toothpaste, so let’s just say this was a high-stakes game.

Bridget Sharkey

Oh my gosh! It’s working!

Bridget Sharkey

It looks like the mark was never even there.

Removing Permanent Marker From The Walls

Encouraged by this success, I made a mark with the permanent marker inside my bedroom closet. I was scared it wouldn’t work (and my husband was freaking out), so I made the mark as small and subtle as possible:

Bridget Sharkey

A spritz of the hairspray:

Bridget Sharkey

Heck yes! Just like magic.

Bridget Sharkey

At this point in the experiment, I happened to look down onto the bed where I had tossed the shirt with the permanent marker stain. Egads! Instead of getting rid of the stain, all the hand sanitizer did was make the marker bleed onto my blanket! (Please learn from my foolishness: If you’re going to try and put hand sanitizer on a stain, don’t lay it on a surface you don’t want getting stained.)

Bridget Sharkey

Removing Permanent Market From Wood

It had been a real roller coaster of emotions since I’d started this experiment, but I figured I should attempt one last tip from the list. I put a swipe of permanent marker onto the back of a decorative wood storage bin:

Bridget Sharkey

The infographic said that rubbing alcohol would get permanent marker off wood, and I sure hoped it was right.

Yes! It worked! The stain was totally gone.

Bridget Sharkey

It turns out the infographic was (mostly) legit, and could be handy to have around in case of an emergency. Sure not everything was a success (RIP pink shirt), but at least we all now know that we can get permanent marker off most of our surroundings with hardly any effort.

[h/t: One Good Thing]