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How to Get Sharpie Off a Desk? – 4 Easy Methods!

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

how to get sharpie off a desk

Regardless of how careful we are, there will always be unexpected accidents. Sometimes, they happen on our floors, all over our beloved carpet, or on our sofa. If the stains are easy to remove, then no big deal! But in cases of permanent ink, you will have to put more effort.

Talking about permanent markers, I bet the word Sharpie came to your mind right away. Despite their many benefits and convenience, it can be frustrating to see your child’s masterpiece – made from Sharpie markers – on your furniture, such as your desk, instead of the provided piece of paper.

Fortunately, there are multiple methods you can try at home to get rid of Sharpie marks on your desk or other furniture. In this article, I will talk about four ways to get Sharpie off a table and of course, detail instructions for each of them:

  • Rubbing Alcohol and Dish Soap: Apply the mixture of cold water, rubbing alcohol, and dish soap to the marker stain.
  • Nail Polish Remover: Surprisingly, acetone, or so-called nail polish remover, is especially effective to get Sharpie off wood desk without causing any damage to the surface.
  • Toothpaste: Rub some toothpaste against the Sharpie stain until all is removed.
  • Strong Chemical Products: If the aforementioned methods don’t work, you may want to purchase a good-quality cleaning product to deal with the stain.

Without further ado, let’s learn how to get Sharpie off a desk!

4 Easy Methods to Get Sharpies off a Desk


What You Will Need

It is always better that you have everything readily available before getting started; you don’t want to run back and forth between your house and the store in the middle of the procedure.

Make sure you have a sufficient amount of cotton pads or cotton balls to apply the cleaning products to the stained surface. This depends on how much Sharpie there is on your desk.

Moreover, you will need some paper towels, or at least a clean cloth, to clean up everything afterwards. Any additional materials will be stated in each corresponding section.

Always Test Your Products Beforehand

Testing your products in advance to apply them to the whole surface is a good practice to reduce the chance of having your furniture ruined by strong chemicals. To test your product, you should first identify an inconspicuous area.

Once you have found an ideal spot, apply a small amount of products and leave it there for 10-15 minutes. Then, use some cotton pads to get rid of the residual product. Check if the table surface remains intact. If you notice any loss of color, this means the product is too strong and you need to find another method.

Moreover, you should watch the spot regularly over the 10-minute duration so you can recognize immediately if the chemicals are doing damage to your table. If so, quickly remove with some cotton pads and rinse it with some clean water.

Method 1: Rubbing Alcohol and Dish Soap


In addition to all materials mentioned in the “What You Will Need” section, this method requires some dish soap, rubbing alcohol, and cold water. If you don’t have rubbing alcohol, distilled vinegar and lemon juice can be good alternatives.

Moreover, you will need a container for the mixture. Once you have these ready, follow these steps to remove Sharpie off the table:

  • Step 1: Mix 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol to 1 tablespoon of dish soap.
  • Step 2: Add 2 cups of cold water to the container and mix them well.
  • Step 3: Soak a cotton ball in the solution quickly and squeeze out some liquid if the cotton ball is too soaky.
  • Step 4: Dab the cotton balls on the stain and rub it gently for 1 minute.
  • Step 5: Use a new dry cotton ball to remove any abundant solution on the table.
  • Step 6: If you can still notice some permanent marker stains, repeat the steps until your desk is clean.

Method 2: Nail Polish Remover

As you can tell from the title, you will only need some nail polish remover in addition to the mentioned materials to get rid of the Sharpie from your table. You should not pour acetone into a container since alcohol will evaporate at a fast rate.

Therefore, make sure you put the cap on whenever you aren’t using it. Now, follow these steps to clean your favorite desk with nail polish remover:

  • Step 1: Apply a small amount of nail polish remover to the cotton pads or cotton balls.
  • Step 2: Rub the cotton balls against the permanent marker stain in circular motions. This process may take a couple minutes, depending on whether the stain is new or old.
  • Step 3: Since the cotton balls will dry out after a while, you need to add nail polish remover a couple times before finishing cleaning your table.
  • Step 4: Clean up by using some clean paper towels to remove any remaining products on the table.

Method 3: Toothpaste

Regarding the type of toothpaste, it is best to use a white solid one with baking soda. Gel toothpaste has been proven to not work as well. However, feel free to try the gel one if you only have that readily available at home. Baking soda can be used as an alternative. Additionally, you will need some clean water:

  • Step 1: Squeeze a generous amount of toothpaste onto the stain area.
  • Step 2: Dab a clean cloth into clean water and squeeze out the residual water so the cloth is damp.
  • Step 3: Use the cloth to rub the toothpaste in circular motions. You should be able to see the permanent marker being removed while the toothpaste disappears.
  • Step 4: Clean up with some clean paper towels.

Method 4: Strong Chemical Products

If the three methods above did not work, consider purchasing some good-quality products used for cleaning, such as Lift Off #3 or Windex. Furthermore, the Magic Eraser is something you should consider.


I hope you have been able to learn how to get Sharpie off a desk. It should be noted that it might require more effort if the Sharpie stain is dry and old. However, try multiple methods to find out which one works the best for you.

Let me know which products or techniques you used to remove the Sharpie and how effective they are. Share this article with your friends and family if you find it helpful as well.

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