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How to Get Permanent Marker Off Painted Wood? – 10 Tips

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

how to get permanent marker off painted wood

One of the disasters that a marker can create is bleeding on your painted wooden furniture. The same mishap can happen when you have kids who grab markers any chance they get.

It’s understandable that you freak out, but don’t panic on thinking: how to get permanent marker off painted wood? There are several substances that you can rely on: acetone-based nail polish remover, alcohol, baking soda, toothpaste, sunscreen, hairspray, and some cleaner.

You may also be curious about how to administer these substances. Go over this entire article on how to get permanent markers off wood to find out.

Substances and the Application Guide to Remove Permanent Marker on Painted Wood


These are the essential substances and processes when you need to get permanent markers off of lacquered wood:

1. Acetone-based nail polish remover

You only need three things: an acetone-based nail polish remover, a rag, and a sponge. Put a small drop of nail polish remover on the napkin that will be rubbed against the specified area. You should follow the grain’s direction. After getting rid of the unwanted markings, clean up the residue of the nail polish remover. You may want to add soap to the cleaning sponge.

2. Alcohol

The most common solution to remove permanent markers from painted wood is alcohol due to its ability to quickly dissolve the ink. You may also utilize hand sanitizer as it contains alcohol. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Step 1: Get a cotton swab or a clean cloth.
  • Step 2: Wet either of the two items with the right amount of alcohol.
  • Step 3: Wipe it on the damaged wooden part of the furniture.
  • Step 4: As the alcohol dissolves the ink, the color will transfer to the cotton or rag.
  • Step 5: Depending on the thickness of the ink, you’ll need to do more than just one application.
  • Step 6: After wiping and the ink gets on the cotton or rag, clean the surface with a damp, clean cloth.

3. Baking Soda

Since baking soda is an unbeatable cleaning agent, it’s not a surprise that you can use it to get a permanent marker off the wood.

  • Step 1: Put one tablespoon of baking soda in a cup.
  • Step 2: Pour lemon juice slowly as you don’t want it to be watery. Mix the solution and add some of the said juice if it’s necessary.
  • Step 3: Keep on stirring so you can achieve a semi-sandy paste.
  • Step 4: When you accidentally add too much water, offset with more baking soda.
  • Step 5: Rub the paste over the stain.
  • Step 6: Let the paste work for 2 to 5 minutes. Clean with a damp sponge.

Note: You must make the paste with the right consistency so it can penetrate well into the stain.

4. Toothpaste

Things you’ll need:

  • Toothbrush

Regular toothpaste (not the gel type; don’t use the toothpaste with an abrasive part or additional ingredients for whitening)

Sponge or dish sponge that has a hard coating on the top

Steps to follow:

  • Step 1: Take out some toothpaste to cover the stained area.
  • Step 2: Let the substance work for around 15 minutes.
  • Step 3: After the given period, scrub the area with a damp sponge or toothbrush. You may add a bit of dishwashing soap to the sponge.
  • Step 4: Take out the excess water from the sponge or brush. Remember to go along the wood’s grain when scrubbing.
  • Step 5: Since there’s enough time given to the toothpaste to get marker off painted wood, the stain should be gone at this point for you to remove the substance.
  • Step 6: If the stain is still visible, you can repeat the process.
  • Step 7: Rinse the area with a clean, damp sponge. Every bit of the paste should be wiped away but don’t rub too much.

5. Sunscreen

Things you’ll need: some dishwashing detergent, filtered water, sunscreen, and a rag napkin


  • Step 1: Start with cleaning the permanent marker with water and some dishwashing detergent.
  • Step 2: You should avoid pressing the surface and scrubbing the permanent marker stain too hard. Using too much force may drive the stain deeper into the wood.
  • Step 3: Next, put a medium-thick layer of sunscreen over the stain.
  • Step 4: Allow it to dry before going to the next move.
  • Step 5: Wipe the whole area with a damp rag. In this step, the stain will just come off without much effort.
  • Step 6: Again, rubbing should be done in the grain’s direction.
  • Step 7: If there are remaining marks, get rid of them with warm, soapy water.

6. Hairspray

You may need something stronger when you’ve tried the previous solutions to get permanent markers off the finished wood table but bits of the stain still remain.

Just spray the affected areas and let them sit for a few seconds before wiping with a dry towel. The next thing you’ll know is that every bit of the stain has vanished.

Alternatives in Getting Off Permanent Marker on Painted Wood


Since it’s not good to let the stain stay for too long and you may not be able to immediately grab the above substances, here are some alternatives that you may find on hand.


If you don’t have baking soda, you can replace it with mayonnaise. Get a tablespoon of mayo and put it on the stained area then rub. Give it five minutes before wiping it off together with the ink. Repeat the process if necessary.

Baby oil

You don’t have to search for the previous substances if you have baby oil. Put some oil on a cloth then rub it on the affected area in a circular motion. Do this until the stain is gone.


You may dampen a cloth with a small amount of turpentine and rub it on the stain. Brush the area lightly. Then, follow it up with a damp cloth and polish it with a dry, soft cloth. Finally, ventilate the wooden furniture.

Dry erase marker

This is only advisable to execute if you’ve done it before. Proceed to the step when you’ve tested how this marker works.

Tips in Getting Permanent Marker Stain Off the Painted Wood

  • Don’t leave the permanent marker on the painted wood for a long period. Be wary that it can damage the paint or finish.
  • You may use sandpaper to get the marker off painted wood. But you have to be extra careful as it can cause the paint to peel. If unavoidable, use it before and after applying the chosen substance.
  • If you’re not too certain about the result, you can test first. You can do it on non-exposed areas like the bottom part. As long as you follow the recommended substances, you won’t cause further damage to your furniture.
  • If you damage the painted surface, patch it up by refinishing. Make sure to find the exact paint color.

The Last Words

You can ditch the idea that you need to repaint the whole furniture since this article has shown you several effective solutions. It makes you realize that there are several ways on how to get permanent marker off painted wood. You also can refer to ways to remove permanent marker from tile or doors. It will only take a short time and most of them use substances that can just be found lying around the house.

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