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How to Remove Permanent Marker from Dry Erase Board?

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

how to remove permanent markers from dry erase board 1

You mistakenly wrote something on a whiteboard using a permanent marker. Now you’re searching on Google, how to remove permanent marker from dry erase board?

The good news is that permanent markers are not “permanent,” so don’t feel bad! In this tutorial, I will walk you through some techniques using materials you already have at home or your workplace.

You may notice that I use the terms “whiteboard” and “dry-erase board” interchangeably. To avoid confusion, let me emphasize that these two are one and the same. Before we start, I encourage you to check out the cleaning materials and products I listed below and see what you already have.

What You Need


Chemical-based cleaners

You can find a whiteboard cleaning solution in art and office supplies shops such as the MB10W Whiteboard Cleaner. Other options include hand sanitizers and rubbing alcohol, which many of you have at home or in your bags. Youtuber Ed Tchoi recommends 99% isopropyl alcohol. Meanwhile, Wikihow suggests that 100% ethyl alcohol can do the trick. Alternatively, you may also use nail polish removers or acetones.

Whiteboard marker and eraser

One approach to erasing permanent marker ink on a whiteboard is by using a whiteboard marker or markers for black dry erase board if you have a black dry erase board. It may sound counterproductive but, believe it or not, it works! I’ll explain this further in the instructions below.

Since you have a whiteboard, it’s safe to assume that you have a whiteboard eraser. Be sure to have it on hand!

Cloth or paper towel

With a clean cloth or paper towel, you can apply the chemical-based cleaners onto the dry-erase board and rub out the stubborn marks. Some examples of cloth include microfiber cloth, rag, or old towel. Have at least 2-3 cloth or rags ready as you will need to wipe the whiteboard to dissolve the remnants of the chemical and dry it.

Pencil eraser

Believe it or not, pencil erasers remove permanent marker ink but I would only recommend this as a last resort. Rubbing the eraser on the whiteboard can potentially damage the surface.

Other cleaning supplies

Chemical-based cleaners like window cleaning solutions like Windex and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser products are proven to be effective in removing permanent ink stains on dry-erase boards. But, I would caution you against using these types of cleaning solutions too often as they may damage the whiteboard’s surface. Instead, use these cleaning solutions only when the other methods do not work.



Using chemical-based cleaners

  1. Get a clean cloth, or paper towel, as well as your chemical-based cleaner. This could either be a hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, acetone, or whiteboard cleaning solution. Mr. Whiteboards say that you can also use cotton swabs or cotton pads. Based on experience, I prefer cloth or paper towels as they can cover bigger areas.
  2. Dampen your cloth or paper towel with the chemical-based cleaner, then rub it on the permanent marker ink on the whiteboard. If you have drawn or written a lot, repeat the process on the other parts of the surface. You will notice that the ink will fade as you rub more.
  3. Wet another paper towel or cloth with water and rinse away the residue of the ink and chemical-based cleaner.
  4. With a dry clean cloth, wipe the surface until it dries. Be sure that the whiteboard is completely dry before you start writing with a whiteboard marker.

Using a whiteboard marker

  1. Gather the whiteboard marker and whiteboard eraser or paper towel.
  2. Using the whiteboard marker, retrace the lines that you drew with the permanent marker. By doing so, the whiteboard ink will dissolve the permanent marker ink. Thus, it will make it easier for you to wipe off the permanent marker ink.
  3. Once you have retracted all the permanent marker ink, Just Boardslllll\ mnbmnb says that you let the ink rest for 5 minutes. Then wipe the marks off using a paper towel or whiteboard eraser.
  4. If you still see traces or smudges from the marker, spray rubbing alcohol onto the board. Dampen a cloth with water and use it to wipe the smudges off.

Pro tip: If the ink has not completely dissolved despite applying the methods above, try pouring a small amount of acetone onto a paper towel or clean cloth and wipe the affected surface.

Using a pencil eraser

  1. Take a pencil eraser and rub it on the permanent marker ink until the color lightens. You can check this video tutorial by Sarah Houldcroft on Youtube.
  2. Get a clean, dry cloth or a whiteboard eraser to remove the eraser shavings that are stuck on the dry-erase board. You can also use your hands to sweep away the eraser dust.

Using Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

  1. Wet the magic eraser with water then rub it on the surface of the whiteboard.
  2. Be sure to let the surface dry before you start writing again.

Pro tip: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is a nice all-purpose cleaner for stains and permanent marker ink on most surfaces. Having one at home or work will save you a lot of headaches. You can check this Family Handyman blog to see the different ways you can use this product.

Using a window cleaning solution

  1. If all of the above methods fail, spray a window cleaning solution onto a clean rag and rub it on the stubborn ink.
  2. Once the permanent ink dissolves, wipe the surface dry. According to this article on Wikihow, ammonia-based cleaning products like Windex should not be used on the whiteboard heavily.


Erasing permanent markers from a whiteboard using the techniques I shared is not anything difficult, don’t you think? All these methods have been tested and proven to be effective. That said, let me reiterate that you choose the chemical cleaners that are less “harsh” whenever possible.

Would you mind sharing your thoughts on how to clean up permanent marker ink from the whiteboard? I’m interested in learning your ideas and do not hesitate to post if you have any success stories using the methods above. Also, I would appreciate it if you could share this article with your friends and family!

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