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How to Get Permanent Marker Off a Pumpkin? – 4 Ways

Written by Robert S. Brown / Fact checked by Helen B. Harris

how to get permanent marker off a pumpkin

Truly pumpkin carving is all fun until you make a drawing mistake, decide to change designs midway, or eventually have to erase left-over marker lines after carving out your design.

Nail polish remover, alcohol, sunblock and toothpaste are the easy answers to the question of how to get permanent marker off a pumpkin. Yes, these items lying around your house may just be the right solution to this common dilemma.

Ways to Get Marker Off a Pumpkin

It isn’t rocket science, but people seem to treat this dilemma as an unsolvable riddle when the answer is actually both easy and inexpensive. Here are four of the proven solutions to get marker off a pumpkin.

1. Nail Polish Remover


Nail polish remover contains alcohol, making it an effective stain remover.

  • Similar to when you’re erasing nail polish off your nails, saturate your cotton pad or cotton ball with nail polish remover.
  • Next, rub it gently on the pumpkin surface where you want to remove sharpie from the pumpkin. Do so until the marker lines lighten, if not get erased completely.

If you are afraid of damaging the pumpkin’s surface, you may water down the nail polish solution to create a less concentrated mix.

2. Alcohol


Gather the following materials to take permanent marker off pumpkin:

  • Cotton ball or cotton pad
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Alternative: Highly concentrated alcoholic drinks such as vodka

Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol works best when it comes to removing permanent marker stains and lines on most surfaces. Of course, this works for pumpkins too.

First, dampen the cotton ball with rubbing alcohol. Then quickly dab on the pumpkin’s surface, as alcohol dries up pretty quickly. Repeat these steps as needed.

A more pricey alternative to this is using alcoholic drinks like vodka to wash sharpie off the pumpkin.

Use a soft cloth dampened in vodka and gently wipe it on the marker stain. Upon the removal of the stain, wash off the vodka with water and wipe dry with a clean cloth.

3. Spray-On Sunblock


What you need for this method:

  • Paper towel or tissue
  • Spray-on Sunblock

Swimmers swear by this life hack as most of these athletes write their events on their arms using sharpies, and later remove them using spray-on sunblock. This hack works on various surfaces too, which means it could also get rid of sharpie on pumpkin surfaces.

First, spray the surface with sunblock once. Make sure to hold a paper towel or tissue right under the surface you’re spraying on because sunblock can cause the permanent marker ink to bleed and make more mess.

Then, wipe the area with one clean swipe.

Repeat these steps until you are able to clean sharpie off pumpkin’s surface completely. Some people claim to have effectively removed sharpie stains after repeating these steps thrice.

4. Toothpaste and Baking Soda


To get sharpie off of a pumpkin, prepare the following:

  • Soft Cloth
  • White Toothpaste (avoid gel toothpaste)
  • Baking Soda

Toothpaste and baking soda are popular alternative cleaning solutions that go beyond just cleaning your teeth. They are especially known to clean stains, including permanent marker ink stains.

To remove permanent marker from pumpkin, mix toothpaste and baking soda to create a cleaning paste. Then, apply a layer of the paste onto the stains and wait for about 5 minutes.

Then, take a soft damp cloth and rub the solution in a circular motion until it removes the ink stain. Wipe the mixture off with a dry cloth, and you’re done!

Remember, be careful with your choice of tube toothpaste, as newer gel-type kinds of toothpaste don’t work as well when cleaning specific surfaces. The safe option is to go for the original white tube toothpaste.


How to get permanent marker off a pumpkin now doesn’t seem like such a daunting task after all! What’s best is that you surely have at least one of these items inside your home, ready for some marker erasing action.

With all these easy and inexpensive solutions to back you up, you can now get all creative with your pumpkin design without having to worry about making a mistake or having to erase leftover marker lines.

The next time you’ll have to take sharpie off a pumpkin, all you have to do is revisit these options, find one that works best for you.

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