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How to Get Permanent Marker Off a Whiteboard? – 4 Methods

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

how to get permanent marker off a whiteboard

It’s a given that everyone likes dry erase markets because they are easy to use and easy to remove. However, they look so much like permanent markers that I am sure you have at least once used a permanent marker on the white board because you have mistaken the two. Since permanent markers are designed to last longer on a surface, removing them is, of course, a much more challenging task.

Nevertheless, it is not the end for your whiteboard if it comes into contact with permanent marker ink because there are many techniques you can apply to get permanent marker off a whiteboard. In this article, I will show you four different ways you can try to remove permanent marker from white board at home:

  • Using A Dry Erase Marker: Apply a darker color dry erase marker on the permanent ink and quickly remove the ink from the surface.
  • Using Rubbing Alcohol or Nail Polish Remover: Put some product on the cotton ball and apply it to the permanent marker stain to remove the ink.
  • Using White or Distilled Vinegar: Apply a generous amount of vinegar on a clean cloth and gently rub it on the stained area.
  • Using Whiteboard Cleaning Solution and Magic Eraser: Purchasing a high-quality cleaning solution might be helpful if the aforementioned products don’t work. Use the solution along with a magic eraser for better results.
  • Some Other Tips on What You Should Do: Avoid cleaners that are too abrasive as they can damage your whiteboard. Also, make sure the board is clean before removing permanent marker from the whiteboard.

Are you ready to learn how to get permanent marker off a whiteboard? Let’s get started with the preparation step!

What You Will Need

Generally speaking, it doesn’t require too many tools to get permanent marker off a whiteboard. However, having all the materials readily available before getting started will make the process much faster and more convenient.

You will need some clean paper towels or a clean old cloth to remove the permanent marker. If the stained area is not too large, erasing the whiteboard with some cotton pads or swabs might be efficient.

Before beginning the procedure, lay all the materials on a flat surface so you can pick them up easily.

Note that there will be other necessary products mentioned in each section, so thoroughly read everything first.

Test The Product In Advance


Another important thing I would like to emphasize is to always test the product you are about to use before applying it to the whole surface. This is especially important with products, that contain strong chemicals as they can damage your whiteboard.

To test if a product is usable on your whiteboard:

  • Pouring a small amount of product on a cotton pad
  • Apply it to an inconspicuous area of the board
  • Wait for approximately 15 minutes

See if there are any damage on the surface. If not, apply the product to the area with permanent ink. Otherwise, quickly wipe the product off and move to another one.

Proceed to the following sections to learn how to get rid of permanent markers on your whiteboard.

Using A Dry Erase Marker

How surprising it is that you can remove permanent marker ink with another marker? Many people have tried this trick, and it works wonderfully. The reason lies in the fact that dry erase marker ink contains a non-polar solvent that is able to react with the permanent marker ink and carry it along when being wiped away.

This is the most convenient way since everyone has at least one dry erase marker in their office supplies. Beside the materials I mentioned above, a dry erase marker that is still working well is all you need. A dark color one will be more effective than a light one, so you should use a black or brown marker.

Once you have everything ready, follow the instructions below:

  • Trace the permanent marker with the dry erase market and make sure the permanent ink is completely covered.
  • Use a cotton pad to wipe off the dry erase marker along with the permanent marker stains. You should work on a small area at a time so the dry erase ink is still wet when you wipe it away.
  • Repeat the steps until all the permanent marker ink is removed.

Using Rubbing Alcohol or Nail Polish Remover


If you don’t have a dry erase marker, this method might be an alternative you can try. In addition to a clean old rag, you need some rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover. Hand sanitizer is also a good option in this case since its smell is less harsh. Baby oil is advisory as well, but it can be more difficult to completely remove the oil.

Once again, follow the steps below to get rid of the permanent marker mark on your whiteboard:

  • Apply an efficient amount of rubbing alcohol, or whichever other product you choose, on a piece of cloth.
  • Use the cloth to dab the permanent marker ink on the whiteboard.
  • Gently rub the marks in back-and-forth strokes or circular motions. When you are wiping, feel free to add more force if necessary.
  • If this can’t totally remove the stained marks, apply a larger amount of rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, or hand sanitizer, on another cotton pad and repeat the steps.

Note that the duration of the cleaning process depends on the strength of the product you are using.

If this technique doesn’t work, move to the next section!

Using White Or Distilled Vinegar

When chemicals such as alcohol do not work that well, a natural cleaning product might be the solution. You will need a good amount of vinegar for this method as well as a soft rag to absorb the vinegar.

  • Pour some vinegar on a clean rag and apply it to the stained area on your whiteboard.
  • Rub it gently in circular or back-and-forth motions.
  • Let it sit for a couple minutes before removing it.
  • Wipe the permanent ink with your rag soaked in vinegar. Applying some additional force is recommended.
  • Repeat the whole process if there is still permanent marker ink left on the whiteboard.

Using Whiteboard Cleaning Solution and Magic Eraser

If all tricks above can’t remove old permanent marker from whiteboard, consider purchasing some whiteboard cleaning solution and a magic eraser as the last resort. The steps are as follows:

  • Apply a small amount of cleaning solution on the whiteboard and let it sit for a few minutes.
  • Use the Magic Eraser to gently rub the marker off.
  • Repeat the steps until the permanent marker is completely removed.
  • Wipe the residual products with some clean paper towels.

Some Other Tips on What You Should Do

Here are some additional tips that may be helpful for the process of cleaning your whiteboard. Firstly, avoid using abrasive cleaners since it can damage the outcome of your work. Since they can compromise the whiteboard surface, you might have to deal with even more stubborn future stains.

Secondly, always make sure that your whiteboard is clean after using. That is, remember to clean the board with a good-quality cleaning product such as Cif at least one time a month. Furthermore, keep these cleaning chemicals out of your children’s reach for their safety.


That is the end of this article on how to get permanent marker off a whiteboard. Keep trying different methods to see which one works best on the marker stains and repeat the procedure if needed.

I hope you enjoy this article. Let me know which technique you tried and how it turned out in the comment section. If you think the article is helpful, share it with your friends and family as well.

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