How do you get a Permanent Marker Off Of Wood?

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Wood is a beautiful natural material commonly used in furniture, flooring, and other projects. The polish and finish of wood make it an attractive material to use, and it is not uncommon to see wooden cabinets or tables in homes, offices, and other places where people gather together. In this article, we will teach you ways on how do you get permanent marker off of wood.

It is durable and strong enough to withstand most normal wear-and-tear that happens with regular use. But there are many disadvantages that you may want to consider before using wood for your next project. One such drawback of wood is that permanent markers can sometimes be tough to get off.

It can easily become stained with permanent markers if children are left alone with them or if they fall off of a table. If you have children at home who like drawing on their clothes or things in their room, they will eventually run out of paper and turn to the nearest wood surface to continue their masterpieces.

Don’t worry, though, because there are a few ways to remove permanent markers from wood. With a little elbow grease and the right supplies, you should be able to get those pesky marks off in no time!

10 Ways to Remove Permanent Marker from Wood

Try at least one of these ten methods to remove permanent markers from wood:

1. Rubbing Alcohol

Amazon Brand - Solimo 91% Isopropyl Alcohol First Aid Antiseptic, 32 Fl Oz (Pack of 6)

The first and most obvious way is to try a dab of isopropyl alcohol on a cotton cloth or paper towel. Simply dab the cloth or paper towel onto the permanent marker until it begins to fade, and then repeat as necessary until all of the marks are gone. Make sure you’re wiping away any residue with a clean cloth afterward.

2. Nail Polish Remover 

Pronto 100% Pure Acetone - Quick, Professional Nail Polish Remover - For Natural, Gel, Acrylic, Sculptured Nails (8 FL. OZ.)

Nail polish remover can remove permanent markers from wood. Be sure to use acetone, as this will work best. Apply nail polish removers to a cotton ball or paper towel and begin rubbing marks. Repeat until all are gone. Wipe away any residue afterward with a clean cloth.

3. Hand Sanitizer Gel

Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Soothing Gel, Fresh scent, with Aloe and Vitamin E , 8 Fl Oz Pump Bottle (Pack of 4)

Now, this may sound odd but bear with us. Many hand sanitizers contain alcohol, which, as we now know, can be used to remove permanent markers. Simply squirt some hand sanitizer gel onto a paper towel or cotton ball and begin rubbing at the marks. You may need to repeat this process a few times, but eventually, the marks should start to fade away.

4. Melamine Foam 

50 Pcs/lot Magic Sponge Eraser Multi-Functional Melamine Foam Cleaner 100x70x30mm

This is also known as a “magic eraser” and is used by many people to remove water stains, ink stains, and other types of marks from various surfaces. Don’t worry; it won’t damage the wood if you use small amounts and are not aggressive with the scrubbing.

5. Baking Soda 

Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda, 8 Ounce (Pack of 3)

For this, you’ll need to form a paste of sorts by mixing some baking soda and water. Once you have a paste, apply it gently to the marks with a soft cloth or brush and begin scrubbing. The paste should help to loosen the ink and make it easier to remove. Wipe away any residue afterward with water.

6. Toothpaste 

toothpaste used to get permanent marker off of wood

Another odd one, but again bear with us. Many kinds of toothpaste contain abrasive particles that can help to loosen and remove stains. Apply a small amount of toothpaste (not the gel types) to the marks and begin scrubbing gently with a soft cloth or brush. Rinse away any residue when you’re done.

7. Hairspray 

L'Oreal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Lock It Bold Control Hairspray 8.25 Ounce

The most important component of hairspray is alcohol, which, as we now know, can be used to remove permanent markers. Simply spray some hairspray directly onto the marks and let it sit for a minute or two before wiping away with a clean cloth. You may need to repeat this process a few times for stubborn stains but remember to be gentle. 

8. Dry-Erase Board Cleaner

EXPO Whiteboard/Dry Erase Board Liquid Cleaner, 22-Ounce

Do not attempt this on natural or unfinished wood surfaces as it may damage the wood, but it can be used on finished wood. Simply spray some dry-erase board cleaner onto the marks and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping away with a clean cloth. The solvent in the cleaner will help break down the ink and make it easier to remove.

9. Vodka 

vodka used to get permanent marker off of wood

It’s pretty clear by now that alcohol can be used to remove permanent markers, and vodka is no exception. Simply apply some vodka to a clean cloth or cotton ball and begin rubbing at the marks until they start to fade away. You may need to repeat this process a few times for stubborn stains, but eventually, they should all come off as vodka is indeed one hell of a solvent and alcohol!

10. Fine Grit Sandpaper 

3M General Purpose Aluminum Obyide Sandpaper, 9 in. by 11 in.

This is the most dangerous method and should only be used if all else fails. This involves using fine-grit sandpaper (200 or higher) to lightly abrade the surface of the wood and remove the stain, but it must be done with great care and only in small amounts. Do not use this method on finished wood as you will damage it. 


There are many options available if you are looking for ways to remove permanent marker stains from wood. Some of the most effective methods include using nail polish remover, hand sanitizer gel, melamine foam, baking soda, toothpaste, dry-erase board cleaner, vodka, and fine-grit sandpaper. However, it is essential to be gentle when using these methods and always test them on a small area first to ensure they do not damage or discolor your wood surface.

Neglecting to treat a permanent marker stain right away makes it more difficult to remove. If the wood is unfinished, sanding may be required to remove some of the wood’s natural color and finish. Be sure to use extra caution when treating any type of wood with chemicals or abrasives. Regardless of your chosen method, taking care of the stain as soon as possible will make the task much easier before the stain can set in.


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