How to Get Permanent Marker Off Wood? DIY Tips

crteam November 23, 2020 Do It Yourself
Permanent Market Off Wood

Raising children is an uphill battle and if you have mischievous pets, your home will not be less than a mess. No matter how hard you try to keep your home spick and span, accidents tend to happen. Wall, floors, everything might appear as a canvas for the growing kids as they love showing their creativity on it. Negligently, if they get hands-on permanent markers, you know well, the rest is history.  

Removing permanent marker stains seems almost impossible, right? If the permanent marker marks are left on the wooden surface then you are lucky enough. Your child did a good job by choosing this canvas as it is easy to remove the marks and that too in no time. Another good news is, ordinary household products can work as great stain removal agents. 

DIY Tips to Remove Permanent Marker from the Wood

Let it be any type of wood, around 98-99% of the marker can be removed by simple cleaning methods. Here is the list of cleaning agents and methods to get rid of permanent marker marks:

Isopropyl alcohol or Rubbing alcohol

You can use isopropyl alcohol to remove the permanent marker. But before using, perform a spot test to ensure the alcohol doesn’t damage the finish of the wood. Test it on the underside or unnoticeable spot of a wood element. Use it if it’s safe.


  • Go for the blotting technique. Take a cotton cloth and blot it with alcohol
  • Gently saturate the spot by dabbing the cloth on it
  • Wipe the residue
  • Do not scrub or rub hard as the ink stain can spread and possibly you will be left with a bigger area to clean
  • If the mark is still visible, repeat the cleaning process until the mark completely fades away


There is no house without toothpaste. However, for removing the permanent marker from wood, you will need a baking soda based toothpaste. Gel toothpaste won’t work effectively. If it is not available, you can add baking soda to your regular toothpaste and use it for cleaning purposes.


  • Apply a good amount of toothpaste on a clean cotton cloth or it would be best to use a makeup remover pad
  • Now gently rub the paste on the wood surface 
  • You might have to repeat the process a couple of times to remove the mark 
  • Rinse the space
  • Toothpaste will remove the mark well-enough

Baking soda  

Baking soda is the best cleaning solution. It works effectively on many types of stains, including permanent markers. 


  • Make a thick paste of baking soda and water 
  • With a soft cloth, rub the paste on the permanent marker spot 
  • This technique will gently lift the stain without causing any damage to the wood 

Hair spray 

Just like toothpaste and alcohol, even aerosol hair spray can easily lift the permanent marker stain from the wood. You need to test it first. Test it on some inconspicuous space and see if it is safe. This works best when the mark is fresh. 


  • Just spritz the hair spray on the permanent marker spot 
  • You can notice, the marks instantly getting vanished in front of your eyes

Nail polish remover

Since nail polish remover contains isopropyl alcohol, it too works efficiently on permanent marker as rubbing alcohol. 


  • Take a cotton cloth and blot it with nail polish remover
  • Gently saturate the spot by dabbing the cloth on it
  • Do not rigorously rub as the ink stain can spread and also damage the finish of the wood
  • If the mark is still visible, repeat the cleaning process until the mark completely fades away

Hand sanitizer gel 

In these days of the pandemic, hand sanitizer is something which is found in every household around the world. And it comes as no surprise, this alcohol-based gel works great as a permanent marker remover. 


  • Drip a few drops of hand sanitizer gel on the affected spot
  • Now, gently wipe off the gel with a soft cloth. This will loosen the ink
  • The permanent marker stain will fade away. If you still find the stain. Repeat the process using hand sanitizer

Magic eraser 

The name says itself – magic eraser. Melamine foam popularly known as magic eraser magically works on permanent marker spots. Make sure to test it first on some inconspicuous space as it can damage the finish of the wood. So testing is recommended. 


  • Just gently follow spot treatment with a magic eraser to easily lift the permanent marker stain off the wood
  • Avoid scrubbing or hard rubbing as it can damage the finishing 

Board cleaner 

The solvents present in the dry-erase board cleaner can help to remove the stains of permanent markers. However, avoid using it on natural or unfinished wood. This spray board cleaner is suitable to remove the permanent marker from the painted wood surface. 


  • Just spray a small dose of dry-erase board cleaner on the permanent marker spots present on the polished wooden surface 
  • Wipe off, the markings will be faded in no time at all

How to remove permanent marker spots from unfinished or unsealed wood?

The best way to remove the permanent marker stains from the lumber or wood before finishing is by using fine grade sandpaper. As it is sanded, the marker will gradually lighten.

For larger surface or larger marker spots, it is better to use a palm sander. It will easily and quickly remove the markings, no matter how large the surface is. 

The don’ts to follow

  • Never use a scrubby or rough sponge. Better go for soft and absorbent cleaning cloths to clean wood
  • If you are using any cleanser, do not use it on larger areas. Just focus on the spots/stains and not on the whole surface
  • Do not use sandpaper on finished on polished wood as it will completely damage the surface 

No matter how careful you are, you know how weird mishaps can happen at home. It is always wise to stay ready with solutions and take instant action. This will ensure everything is overhauled within budget and without much effort.