How To Remove Permanent Marker From Wood

Learn how to get sharpie off wood
How To Remove Permanent Marker From Wood Image

The term “permanent” on markers can lead you into believing that they will last forever. They won’t. This guide is especially here to exemplify how to remove permanent markers from wood. That is, if the marker stain is on the wrong surface and you are determined to erase traces of its existence from your wood. 

So if you accidentally had your permanent marker bleed out to your wooden surface, or a toddler decided to be artistic or had a pet pick the wrong toy, don’t panic! By the time you finish reading this, those pesky permanent marker stains will not be among the things you worry about.

How You Can Tell The Type Of Permanent Marker On Your Wood

Permanent markers can either be alcohol-based or oil-based depending on the type of solvent used:

Alcohol-Based

Soak a ball of cotton wool in rubbing alcohol, and then rub gently on the permanent marker stain on your wood. If the marker paint comes off, you automatically know that it was an alcohol-based permanent marker and if not, that’s definitely an oil-based permanent marker.

Oil-based

An oil-based permanent marker stain can be removed using vegetable oil or baby oil. Pour a little bit of the oil on the stain; rub with a paper towel to remove it from your wooden surface. 

How To Remove Permanent Marker From Wood

Image courtesy of cutthewood

The perks of using this guide on how to remove permanent marker stains from wood are that all the materials you will need are most likely already in your pantry. So you just need to get them and remove that oops! situation.

You will realize that most methods I will talk about here can remove permanent marker mishaps from almost all the wood surfaces. But, I will tell you the best-suited method you can use for a specific surface.  So, let’s dive right in.

Read: How to remove mold from wood

How To Remove Permanent Marker From Wood Floor

Here are some of the options you can choose to remove permanent marker stains from your wooden floor.

Using Baby Oil Or Vegetable Oil

Materials

  • Baby oil or vegetable oil
  • Paper towel
  • Cotton cloth

Steps

Step 1: Drip a few drops of oil on a paper towel.`

Step 2: Rub the permanent marker stain using the paper towel. 

Step 3: Add more oil if needed and continue rubbing until you get rid of all the marker stains.

Step 4: Wipe your floor with a damp soapy cloth to remove traces of oil that might cause one to slip

Step 5: Finally, wipe the floor area with a clean damp rag and follow up with a dry one.

Using Peanut Butter

Here goes another fantastic option. 

Materials you Need

  •  Peanut butter
  • Clean cloth. 

Steps

Step 1: Scoop a reasonable amount of peanut butter using a spoon or butter knife.

Step 2: Spread it on the marker stain on your floor. Let it sit for about five minutes.

Step 3: Rub on it gently using a damp cloth to lift whatever stain is still stuck to the wood.

Step 4: Wipe off the residue. Rinse and wring that cloth in running water.

Step 5: Give the wooden floor a final wipe with a clean damp rag.

Using Lighter fuel

Materials You Will Need

  • Ronsonol Lighter fuel
  • Cotton wool or a clean cloth

Steps to Follow.

Step 1: Saturate a ball of cotton wool with lighter fuel

Step 2: Rub the saturated cotton wool on the permanent marker stain. You will notice the stain lifting out.

Step 3: Rub the residue using a ball of clean cotton wool.

 If you find fainter traces of the permanent marker, then that’s a sign that you need to repeat the process.

Step 4: Give your floor a final wipe with a ball of damp cotton wool to completely clean out any residue left.

Using A Pencil Eraser

The steps here are pretty simple. Grab a pencil eraser and rub on the permanent marker stain. Erase that stain like you would erase anything on paper using a pencil eraser. Wipe the surface with a paper towel or a damp cloth.

If any or all these methods fail you, try using rubbing alcohol, toothpaste, baking soda, and toothpaste combination. The application process is the same.

Related: How to remove glue from wood

How To Remove Permanent Marker From Wood Table

Here are helpful item options you can use to salvage your wood table. But, of course, you don’t want to have that marker stain getting comfortable on your space.

Using Baking Soda

Materials

  • Baking soda
  • water 
  • Clean cloth

Preparation

Scoop three tablespoons of baking soda into a bowl. Add water. If you can, use a tablespoon to add water to the baking soda to avoid adding too much water.

Your mixture should be in a paste form with a fine-sand-like texture.

Steps to Follow

Step 1: Apply the baking soda paste on the permanent marker stain on the table. Let it sit for a few minutes. Don’t let it dry out.

Step 2: Use a damp cloth to gently rub the paste on the marker paint.

Step 3: Wipe the table with a damp cloth

Using Mayonnaise

You can definitely count on this item to get rid of that permanent marker stain from your table. You only need some mayonnaise and a clean cloth.

Steps to Follow.

Step 1: Scoop or squeeze a tablespoon of mayonnaise

Step 2: Spread it directly on the spot covered with the permanent marker stain. Let it sit for about a minute or two.

Step 3: Use a cloth or soft sponge to rub the soaked stain off.

Step 4: Give it a clean wipe with a damp cloth. Repeat the process if you notice some stain left.

If none of the two methods give you satisfying results, don’t hesitate to try on some rubbing alcohol or toothpaste. The application process is pretty much the same as we have covered in this guide.

How To Get Sharpie Off Finished Wood 

Another magic-working item you cannot fail to have in your home. Here is another one of its uses other than keeping your teeth perfectly clean and white.

Using Toothpaste

The only acceptable kind for this purpose is the regular white toothpaste. Any other type, such as the gel one, is not recommended as it might damage your finished wood.

Materials You will Need

  • Regular white toothpaste
  • An old toothbrush or a sponge
  • Clean cloth

Steps

Image courtesy of Washington post

Step 1: Squeeze the toothpaste on the permanent marker stain on your finished wood.

Step 2: Spread it lightly and make sure to cover the length of the stain. Leave it on for about two minutes.

Step 3: Gently rub the toothpaste on the stain using an old toothbrush or a soft sponge in back and forth motions for a few minutes. You can add a few drops of water and hand washing gel on the paste so that you have your sponge or brush gliding smoothly on the stain.

Step 4: Wipe the affected part with a damp cloth to remove the toothpaste and permanent marker residue. 

Step 5: Wring a clean cloth in water and give your surface a final clean wipe.

If there’s still some stain left, you can use equal parts of baking soda and toothpaste for better results. Use the same procedure above.

Interesting read: How to remove burn marks from wood

How To Remove Permanent Marker From Unfinished Wood

The unfinished wood is not as delicate as the finished one. While your primary concern could be to remove the permanent marker stain, ensure that you retain the integrity of the wood.

Sanding

This method is best suited for the unfinished wood. This is because the permanent marker bleeds and seeps into the wood grain. Therefore, a little intense method like this is perfect.

Remember to obey the rule of thumb in this case; always sand along the wood grain and not against it.

Materials

  • Sandpaper (80 and 100 grit)
  • Wet wipes
  • Clean rag

Steps to Follow

Step 1: Use the wet wipe to wipe the wood surface with the permanent marker. The alcohol content in the wipes will help remove some of the permanent markers on the wood.

Step 2: Sand the permanent marker off the unfinished wood. Use 80-grit sandpaper. The aim is to remove as much stain as possible. You may lose a bit of wood in this process, but it’s within the acceptable amounts.

Step 3: Follow in with100-grit sandpaper to sand the same spot with the marker stain. This fine-grit sandpaper will ensure you have no more permanent marker stain on your wood. Also, it will aid in achieving a smooth and even wood surface.

Step 4: Give the wood a clean, final wipe using a damp rag.

Using Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and A stain Remover

You may need to purchase these items from a hardware store accessible to you if you don’t already have them.

You will Need

  • Amodex Ink & Stain Remover
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Steps 

Step 1: Apply a little amount of the stain remover on the permanent marker stain.

Step 2: Take the magic eraser and rub the permanent marker stain gently. As you rub, you will notice the stain coming off instantly.

Step 3: Finally, wipe the unfinished wood with a damp cloth to remove any residue left.

You may also have some luck removing permanent marker stain using Mr. Clean Magic Eraser without any stain remover. In that case, you would follow the same procedure above, starting from step 2.

How To Remove Permanent Marker From Wood Cabinets

Wood cabinets aren’t exempted from permanent marker stains. However, here are ways you can use to reverse that situation.

Using Nail Polish Remover

Materials

  • Nail polish remover (it can either contain acetone or without it)
  • Cotton wool or swab
  • Clean cloth

Steps to Follow

Step 1: Soak a ball of cotton wool in nail polish remover.

Step 2: Apply it on the permanent marker stain while rubbing gently. You should be able to see the marker stain transfer onto the cotton ball.

Step 3: Wipe the affected part of the wood cabinet with a damp cloth.

Do not leave the nail polish remover on the wood for too long; it may damage the finish on the cabinets.

Using Vinegar

Materials You Need

  • White vinegar
  • Cotton wool

Steps to Follow

Step 1: Soak a ball of cotton wool in vinegar

Step 2: Rub the cotton wool on the permanent marker stain. The stain should come off within a minute or two. Repeat the process if the stain doesn’t clear from the first attempt.

Step 3: Wipe away the residue using a damp cloth or cotton wool.

Regular white toothpaste, rubbing alcohol, or hand sanitizer is your equal bet to removing permanent marker stains from wooden cabinets. Whichever you choose, refer to the guide on how to use them.

How To Remove Permanent Marker From Wood Paneling

Here’s a handy item you can put to good use to remove that permanent marker stain from your wood paneling.

Using Hairspray

The most efficient ones contain some alcohol in them. You can find this information in the ingredients section of the hairspray container.

Materials

  • Hairspray
  • Clean cloth

Steps to Follow

Step 1: Ensure the wood paneling is dust-free. 

Step 2: Spray the hairspray on the spot with a permanent marker.

Step 3: Rub on it gently using a clean cloth to remove the permanent marker stains.

Step 4: Wipe the wood paneling with a damp cloth to remove the hairspray and permanent marker residue. Let it dry.

Using Sunscreen

The same item that protects your skin can have other purposes as well. Take a look.

Materials You Need

  • A spray-on sunscreen or a lotion type.
  • Clean cloth

Steps to Follow

Step 1: Spray the sunscreen on the permanent marker stain on your wood paneling. You only need two to three spritzes. For a non-spray sunscreen, squeeze out a few drops and apply them directly to the permanent marker stain.

Step 2: Use a clean cloth to rub the stain out.

Step 3: Finally, wipe the treated spot with a damp cloth.

How To Remove Permanent Marker From Wood Door

A wooden door goes through lots of traffic, in and out of the house or between the rooms. It tends to go through so much that getting a permanent marker stain on it is no surprise. Here’s what you can use to remove that stain.

Using WD-40

Materials

  • WD – 40
  • Clean cloth

Steps 

Step 1: Spray WD-40 directly on the permanent marker stain on the wood.

Step 2: Rub gently using a clean cloth to remove the marker paint.

Step 3: Wipe with a damp cloth.

Using  Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

This sponge-like item is entirely safe to use. All you gotta do is dip an edge of the magic eraser in water and use it to rub on the permanent marker stain. You are literally going to watch the stain lift off before your eyes. Then give it a final wipe with a damp cloth. Voila.

Using Men’s Cologne or Insecticide Spray

This is one option I haven’t tried on, but other people have sworn by them. I’m telling you about it so you can try it out if you are up for an adventure. Go for a “cheap” men’s cologne. The procedure is quite the same as using hairspray.

How To Get Rid Of Permanent Marker From Treated Wood

When handling a treated wood, you may want to choose a gentle method not to interfere with the wood finish while effectively removing the marker stains. Focus on getting rid of the stain, don’t work the entire wood.

Using Hand Sanitizer

An everyday item to the rescue.

Materials

  • Hand sanitizer gel
  • Clean cloth

Steps

Step 1: Squeeze enough hand sanitizer drops onto a clean cloth.

Step 2: Dab it on the permanent marker paint. The alcohol in the hand sanitizer will go a long way into breaking down the marker for easy removal.

Step 3: Gently rub the marker stain out using the cloth containing a hand sanitizer.

You should be able to see the marker paint transferring onto the cloth, leaving your treated wood clean as new.

Step 4: Give your treated wood a final wipe with a damp cloth.

Read: How to unglue wood

How To Remove Permanent Marker From Varnished Wood

You can remove permanent marker stains from varnished wood without causing any damage to it. Here’s a pretty easy and fast method guaranteed to give you gratifying results.

Using Rubbing Alcohol

This home essential will come in handy in helping you get rid of that unsightly permanent marker stain from your varnished wood. Here’s how to

What You Will Need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton wool or a washcloth

Steps to Follow

Step 1: Pour some rubbing alcohol on a ball of cotton wool or a clean cloth. Use whichever item you can easily access.

Step 2: Rub the saturated ball of cotton wool on the permanent marker on your varnished wood. Gently rub back and forth as the coloring transfers onto the cotton wool.

Step 3: Reapply the alcohol if there’s still some faint marking left on your varnished wood.

Step 4: Once all the permanent marker stain has come off, wipe the affected wood with a damp cloth.

How to Get Sharpie off Wood

A permanent marker (sharpie) can only last long enough on an unwanted surface. So sooner or later, it’s going to have to come off. We have talked about a wide array of everyday items you can use to remove permanent marker stain situations on wood.

Note, however, that the efficiency levels of one method over the other primarily rely on the type of finish on the wood. Anything with alcohol in the ingredients, toothpaste, and baking soda tops the efficiency chart of how to remove permanent marker stains from wood.

The bottom line is; test it out on a small area first before working on a larger surface.

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