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How to Get Permanent Marker Off Stainless Steel Effectively

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

how to get permanent marker off stainless steel

Stainless steel is widely used in most household appliances because of its durability, heat, and corrosion resistance. It has been a kitchen and household must-have for all appliances’ smooth and modern finish.

But what happens if a permanent marker accidentally gets on there? Such stains are indeed hard to remove, as markers are used for purposes like labeling products or marking industrial equipment.

Fortunately, there are different methods you can use to remove permanent marker stains from any stainless steel effectively.

Read on as we answer the burning question, how to get permanent marker off stainless steel?

Ways to Remove Permanent Marker Off Stainless Steel

1. Use Dry Erase Marker and Whiteboard Eraser


This method is very simple yet it’s a sure-fire solution to marker stain problems. It can remove permanent marker stains on any stainless steel appliances like stainless steel fridge without harming the surface.

This combination can also be used on other surfaces susceptible to permanent marker stains such as computer monitors.

What to prepare

  • Dry erase marker (you should use the same ink color as the permanent ink on your stainless steel surface)
  • Whiteboard eraser
  • A clean dry rag
  • Paper towel

What to do

  • Step 1: Using a rag, wipe the surface to remove any moisture, dirt, or dust.
  • Step 2: Write over the permanent marker stains with fresh writing using a dry erase marker. If markings are too many, do it by portion.
  • Step 3: Follow through by erasing it using a whiteboard eraser. If you do not have a whiteboard eraser you can also use a paper towel alternatively.
  • Step 4: Repeat the process if needed. Then, wipe the whole thing again with the dry clean rag.

2. Use Toothpaste and Bicarbonate of Soda


This is a powerful combination that can remove permanent marker from stainless steel. The resulting mixture is a mild abrasive and is not advised to be used on steel with a glossy finish.

You can use this method on stainless steel tables and kitchen or bathroom sinks.

What to prepare

  • Toothpaste
  • Bicarbonate of Soda
  • Mixing bowl
  • Sponge
  • Paper towel

What to do

  • Step 1: Mix a small amount of toothpaste and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl.
  • Step 2: Apply the mixture on the steel surface with a permanent marker.
  • Step 3: Scrub off markings using a sponge.
  • Step 4: Add more mixture and scrub again until all ink stains are removed.
  • Step 5: Finally, wipe excess with a paper towel.

3. Use a Suitable Solvent

Solvents like alcohol and lacquer thinners can dissolve ink efficiently forcing permanent marker come off stainless steel.

This method can get Sharpie off stainless steel but be aware that these solvents readily evaporate and fumes could be suffocating. It is recommended to be used in an open or a well ventilated area.

What to prepare

  • Alcohol
  • Lacquer thinner
  • Soft rag

What to do

  • Step 1: Pour alcohol on the rag.
  • Step 2: To get away with Sharpie on stainless steel, gently rub it on the affected portion.
  • Step 3: If stains are hard to remove, prepare the lacquer thinner.
  • Step 4: Apply a small amount on a fresh rag.
  • Step 5: Rub the permanent marker again until all stains disappear.

4. Use Fragrant Deodorant Spray


You might wonder why it’s on the list, fragrant deodorant spray usually contains significant amounts of solvents like alcohol that could help lift ink and remove Sharpie from stainless steel.

This method could also be used to remove marker stains from other surfaces.

What to prepare

  • Fragrant deodorant spray like Axe
  • Paper towel
  • A clean dry rag

What to do

  • Step 1: Apply deodorant spray directly on the spot on the stainless steel with Sharpie.
  • Step 2: Wipe it vigorously using a thick paper towel.
  • Step 3: Reapply deodorant spray and wipe again until the Sharpie marking is gone.
  • Step 4: Now, use the clean dry rag to completely remove all residues.

5. Use White Vinegar or Cider Vinegar


Vinegar is commonly used as a home remedy to remove scales or white particle formation on stainless steel surfaces and appliances.

It may be unusual but they are also a powerful tool that can help clean sharpie off stainless steel.

What to prepare

  • Any white or cider vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Baking soda
  • Clean rag
  • Non-abrasive pad
  • Paper towel

What to do

  • Step 1: Pour the vinegar into the spray bottle for easy application. Then, spray vinegar on the marker or Sharpie stain.
  • Step 2: Let the vinegar agent sit for at least 15 minutes.
  • Step 3: Once the ink is starting to lift off the stainless steel surface, rub it off using a clean rag.
  • Step 4: Reapply vinegar and rub again. If this doesn’t work, back it with some cleaning powder.
  • Step 5: Spatter baking soda on the ink residue.
  • Step 6: Finish cleaning the marker stain by scrubbing it using a non-abrasive pad.
  • Step 7: After all stains are gone, dry them using a paper towel.

6. Use WD-40


WD-40 can remove almost everything from grease, gunk, tough stains, and ink stains from stainless steel marker.

At the same time, it can also serve as a protective coating for metals like stainless steel from moisture that can cause corrosion.

What to prepare

  • WD-40
  • Clean rag

What to do

  • Step 1: Shake the bottle before starting.
  • Step 2: Spray liberally targeting the surface with marker stains.
  • Step 3: Rub off the marker stain using a clean rag.
  • Step 4: Continue working to remove the marker stain completely.


With many methods mentioned, now you know how to get permanent marker off stainless steel with ease.

One of the safest ways to remove markers on stainless steel appliances is to use a dry-erase marker and whiteboard eraser combination or the WD-40 method.

The rest of the methods are best for stainless steel surfaces that are less sensitive such as stainless sinks and tables.

If in doubt, test it first in small areas for yourself. That is the best way to find out which of them works better for you.

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