How to Remove Permanent Marker from Plastic

How to Remove Permanent Marker from Plastic – Our Top Tips

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If you have ever used a permanent marker, you will understand how infuriating it can be to try and get rid of it. Fortunately, there are a handful of items scattered around your home that can be used to get rid of these stubborn stains. If you are keen to find out what removes permanent marker from plastic and other surfaces, keep reading to find out more below!



Understanding Permanent Marker Stains on Plastic

While there is no single solution that is effective for removing marker from all types of plastic, there are quite a few household products that can help in a variety of situations. The possibilities for removing marking pen stains from plastic, such as lunch boxes, toys, and plant tags, are determined by the type of marking pen as well as the type of plastic.

Cleaning Plastic Stained with Permanent Marker

Marking pens are classified into two types: oil-based and water-based. Another important thing to keep in mind is that the more porous a plastic surface is, the more difficult it is to remove permanent marker stains. This is most noticeable on a whiteboard, which has a flat and non-porous surface and a dry eraser effortlessly removes the stain.


Water-Based Markers

Water-based markers, despite their packaging, are not truly “permanent” and will eventually begin to discolor in the sun and under extreme weather conditions. Sharpie, for example, sells water-based markers labeled “permanent,” but additionally sells oil-based markers, which are truly permanent unless purposely removed.

If you want a genuinely permanent marker in the future, ensure that it is oil-based.


Oil-Based Markers

Since they do not discolor in direct sunlight or break down in harsh conditions like sleet, snow, or rain, oil-based markers are the best option for tasks like marking plastic plant tags maintained in the garden.

Where to Use Permanent Marker on Plastic

Gardeners are increasingly using oil-based paint markers since they do not fade in the sun or when exposed to severe weather. Choose any reputable manufacturer of oil-based markers if you want a product that will endure for years.


Not Using Harsh Chemicals

Some chemicals or solvents can be absorbed into plastic when used to erase permanent marker from plastic products. As a result, the plastic softens and loses strength and hardness.

Most plastics are dissolved and destroyed by solvents such as paint strippers, therefore using this kind of solvent to remove permanent marker stains is not a smart idea.

If you would like to learn how to get permanent marker off plastic without damaging the surface, take a look at the paragraph below.



Household Items for Removing Permanent Marker Stains

There are a variety of household items that can be used to get rid of tough stains. The list that we have provided below can be used as a cheat sheet for those who are learning how to remove permanent marker from plastic. Not only are these everyday items, but they are also extremely cheap and can be found at your local supermarket or hardware store.

  • Nail polish remover
  • Dish soap
  • Bleach
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Regular toothpaste
  • Baking soda
  • Hand sanitizer
  • WD-40
  • Dry eraser marker
  • Aerosol hairspray
  • Rubbing alcohol


Using Rubbing Alcohol to Remove Permanent Marker

Rubbing alcohol is a fantastic cleaning agent since it dissolves the compounds in the permanent marker spot and enables you to quickly remove it. Rubbing alcohol is acceptable to use on plastic goods; however, it may not be as effective as other solutions.

Clean Permanent Marker with Rubbing Alcohol

It may also be necessary to use it several times until the stain is removed. For this method to work, you must use rubbing alcohol with a concentration of 90% or greater.


Using Toothpaste and Baking Soda to Remove Permanent Marker

Mix equal parts of regular toothpaste as well as baking soda in a bowl until you get a thick paste. Spread the paste evenly over the stain, being careful not to make it too thick or too thin. This implies that if the mark is still visible after you apply the paste over it, you will need to spread additional paste over it until the stain is no longer visible.

Toothbrush Removes Marker Ink


Using Dry Eraser Marker to Remove Permanent Marker

How to remove Sharpie from plastic you ask? Take any color dry eraser marker. This approach is ideal for flat plastic surfaces, such as whiteboards. If the surface of the plastic is rough; however, this approach may not be as successful, and you may instead try one of the other methods.

Since dry eraser markers are alcohol-based and will likely dissolve the Sharpie marker stain, draw across the permanent marker spot and the mark should begin to disappear.


Using Acetone to Remove Permanent Marker

To understand how to remove permanent marker from plastic, acetone, which is also found in nail polish, is by far the most powerful and effective solution. However, it should not be used on painted surfaces or delicate plastics. If you are unsure about using it, dab a little bit on an inconspicuous location and wipe it away after a few seconds.

Acetone Removes Marker from Plastic


Using Other Items to Remove Permanent Marker

You might not have all of the items indicated above on hand, or you might wish to try an alternative way. There are several additional solutions that will efficiently help you understand how to remove Sharpie from plastic.

  • WD-40: Spray WD-40 on the marker stain, wipe it clean with a clean cloth, and then rinse with warm soapy water to remove the residue.
  • Hairspray: Spray hairspray on the mark and wipe it away with a paper towel. The marker stain will be dissolved by the compounds in the hairspray.
  • Bleach: Dip a cotton ball in the bleach solution and dab it over the marker stain for minor spots.
  • Vinegar and baking soda: Drop some baking soda on top of the marker stain, then pour some vinegar on top of it. This will create a foam combination that you must let for a couple of minutes before wiping away with a cloth.
  • Sunscreen: Sunscreen lotion includes oils that help remove Sharpie marker stains, but be cautious since certain sunscreen lotion oils might discolor the plastic surface.
  • Hand sanitizer: When removing permanent marker marks from plastic, hand sanitizer is far safer than acetone. Do the same thing you did using the rubbing alcohol.

Sunscreen or Hairspray Removes Marker Ink



Specialty Products for Removing Permanent Marker Stains

You do not need to use household products when trying to figure out how to remove permanent marker from plastic. Instead, you can opt for a specialty product that is designed to remove stubborn marker stains. Take a look at the products that are listed below.



Goo-Gone is a professional cleaning product that is ideal for removing Sharpie stains from plastic surfaces, however, it must be used on a firm plastic surface for optimal results.

Spray Goo-Gone onto the Sharpie residue and let it sit for five minutes before wiping it away.


Magic Eraser

This serves as one of the specialist items available in the grocery store’s cleaning aisle. Make sure you get the white simple magic eraser without bleach. To make it easier to use, cut the magic eraser into smaller pieces. Then, dampen the sponge and begin rubbing the stain in circular motions.

Magic Eraser for Permanent Marker Ink



Prevention Tips

Since we are learning how to remove permanent marker from plastic, it is a good idea to also learn how to prevent these stains from popping up in the future. Below are some of the most important prevention tips that will save you from needing to repeat the process once again.


Replacing the Cap After Use

Markers can easily run and get onto different surfaces, so it would be best to ensure that you always replace the cap after use.

Some markers require a bit more force to properly replace the cap, so wait until you hear a click before you put it down.

Always checking that your cap is secure will not only prevent permanent marker staining, but will also keep your marker from drying out.


Store It Properly

It is best to keep your markers, regardless of the brand, in a cool and dry place such as a cabinet, but it is best to keep them out of the sun. Most people would commonly store markers upright, but it would be best to store them on their side. Storing markers properly is usually the last thing on our minds, but it is best to prioritize it to prevent leakage.

How to Prevent Marker Stains on Plastic


Be Careful

This goes without saying, but it is a good idea to exercise caution while using a marker. It would be best to ensure that you hold it properly and always replace the cap when you are not using it. If it drops onto your clothing or furniture, you will need to go through the process of cleaning the stain.



Removing Marker Stains from Different Surfaces

Permanent marker spots and stains may be erased from almost any surface; it simply takes some patience and time. This is why we have compiled a list of home remedies that will explain how to remove permanent marker from plastic and a number of surfaces, notably wood, skin, fabric, and so on.

  • Fabric: Before you throw away your marker-stained garments, try rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, hand sanitizer, hairspray, or granular toothpaste to erase the marker from ordinary fabric items like shirts, pillows, or sheets.
  • Leather: The most important aspect of erasing permanent marker from a leather surface is attempting to do so as quickly as possible since the stain might become permanently stuck to the material.
  • Carpet: This is one of the most challenging surfaces to clean as the fibers are often quite dense. Fortunately, hairspray, rubbing alcohol, and a mixture of detergent and toothpaste.
  • Skin: It is not very difficult to remove permanent marker stains from your skin. You can use sunscreen, oil, nail polish remover, and makeup remover wipes.
  • Wood: Because permanent marker stains are extremely hard to remove from wooden surfaces, removing them may be exceedingly irritating. Permanent marker stains on hardwood surfaces may be erased with a few easy processes. Determine the sort of wood and polish on the surface before trying to remove the marker stain.
  • Wall surfaces: If your kid gets their hands on a permanent marker, you may find yourself surrounded by more wall art than you anticipated. Common household items include soapy water, hand sanitizer, toothpaste, and a blend of lemon and oil.
  • Laminate, metal, and plastic: Simply reach into the pantry to easily erase permanent marker stains from laminated surfaces without causing damage to the sheen or leaving a hazy residue. Tea tree oil, lemon, eucalyptus, and pure vegetable oil may all be used to remove stains.

Permanent Marker Removal Tips


Removing permanent marker stains from different surfaces is not as difficult as it seems, but it can be a bit tricky if you do not know what you are doing. Fortunately, our guide has provided all of the information that you would need when it comes to removing these stubborn stains from different surfaces. Markers are commonly used items, and we hope that you will take extra care when using them. Good luck in removing your stains!




Frequently Asked Questions


What Removes Permanent Marker from Plastic Surfaces?

There are a variety of household items that can be used to remove permanent marker stains from plastic. The most common way to remove these stains is to dip a cotton ball or round in some rubbing alcohol and rub it on the stain. However, there are other ways to easily figure out how to get permanent marker off plastic, but we have already discussed that above.


How Long Will a Permanent Marker Stain Remain on a Plastic Surface?

This depends on a variety of factors, such as the temperature that it is exposed to and how often it is touched. Even without using a dry eraser or rubbing alcohol, you will find that the permanent marker stain will eventually start to fade.


Will Rubbing Alcohol Remove Any Permanent Marker Stain?

In most cases, it would, unless it is a very strong permanent marker. There is no reason why it wouldn’t work, since rubbing alcohol can generally be used to remove a variety of ink-related stains from different surfaces. This should not come as a surprise, since rubbing alcohol is capable of breaking down the ink.

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