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How to Remove Permanent Marker from Metal: 4 Easy Methods!

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

how to remove permanent marker from metal

Permanent markers were invented to adhere to various surfaces permanently or over a long period. This quality of ink makes it one of the toughest stains to remove. However, some delicate items and surfaces need extra care before permanent ink stains may be removed. Such surfaces are wood, plastics, concrete, and other delicate items like fabrics.

On the other hand, metal surfaces are not as delicate as fabric or wood. That is why many stain-removing agents and household items can be used to remove permanent ink stains or markers from metal.

You can attempt using a dry-erase marker, rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, or toothpaste. These options should effectively remove marker stains when applied!

In this article, we are going to discuss some of the most effective methods on how to remove permanent marker from metal easily.

4 Methods to Remove Permanent Marker from Metal

First Method: Use Dry-Erase Markers as Solvent


The non-polar type solvent in a dry erase marker can dissolve the permanent marker ink underneath, making it soft and easily wiped off the metal surface. Writing over the permanent marker will do the trick.

Things You Will Need

  • A dry-erase marker of the same or similar color
  • A clean damp cloth or wet wipes


Step 1: Make sure the dry erase marker or whiteboard marker is not dry and works well by testing it. I used the AmazonBasics dry erase markers with this one.

Step 2: Use the dry erase marker to write over the permanent ink on the metal surface. Cover the whole area to be removed and let it stand for five (5) seconds then wipe it off with a damp cloth or wet wipes.

Step 3: Since the solvent in the dry erase marker will tend to dry up quickly, the solvent’s efficacy to soften the permanent ink will be reduced. It is recommended to write over a small amount first if the area is a bit larger or longer. Repeat the same procedure for the rest of the permanent ink on the metal.

Final Step: If the permanent marker was not completely removed, use the dry erase marker again to the remaining permanent ink. This time, use the wet wipes a bit harder.

Second Method: Rubbing Alcohol with 91% Concentration

Things You Will Need:

  • 91% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol
  • A bowl
  • A clean cloth for soaking
  • Tissue or dry cloth for final wiping and cleaning


Step 1: In a bowl, pour an ample amount of alcohol and soak the clean cloth. Wait until the cloth absorbs the alcohol just enough to completely soak it without dripping.

Step 2: Place the cloth with alcohol on top of the permanent ink for 3 seconds before rubbing it over the metal surface.

Final Step: At this point, the permanent marker is softened and removed but not quite yet. Rub the metal surface again with the damp cloth to ensure the removal of the smeared permanent ink. The permanent ink should now be completely removed.

Third Method: Using Hand Sanitizer


Hand sanitizers are similar to rubbing alcohol but usually have lower alcohol concentrations of 40 to 70%. But since it has alcohol content, it is useful enough to break down the components of the permanent ink on metals, making it easier to remove with a damp cloth.

Things You Will Need:

  • Any hand sanitizers available
  • Tissue or dry cloth for wiping and cleaning


Step 1: The gel form of the hand sanitizers will make it easier to apply directly to the permanent marker to dissolve its dried pigment on the metal. Apply sufficient amounts to all areas with stains or markings. Let it stand for at least ten (10) seconds.

Step 2: Wipe the area slowly but pressing a bit to remove the permanent ink gradually or completely, depending on the nature of the permanent ink.

Final Step: The low concentration of alcohol in a hand sanitizer may not be enough to wipe off the permanent ink especially if it dried up over a longer period. But repeating the process twice or three times will eventually erase the ink.

Fourth Method: Using Toothpaste and Baking Soda Mixture

Things You Will Need:

  • A more abrasive toothpaste (not gel toothpaste)
  • Baking Soda
  • Small Cup
  • Mixing stick
  • Clean damp cloth
  • Tissue or dry cloth for final wiping and cleaning the surface


Step 1: Mix one (1) part of toothpaste with one (1) part of baking soda in a mixing cup. Mix it thoroughly and use a clean damp cloth to rub the mixture on the surface.

Step 2: Rub the permanent ink in a circular motion starting from one end to another. Always prepare a dry cloth or tissue to wipe the loose ink on the metal surface.

Final Step: Repeat the rubbing as necessary as possible. Use the other side of the damp cloth to wipe off the toothpaste-baking soda residues and finally wipe it dry with a tissue.

Fifth Method: Using ‘WD-40’ Spray

WD-40 spray has many industrial and household uses. It is formulated to lubricate metallic joints more effectively than oil. It is also an effective cleaner against grease, stains, gum, glue, and many more. With its powerful formulation and versatile uses, WD-40 is very ideal for removing permanent ink on metals.

Things You Will Need:

  • Small can of WD-40 spray with nozzle extension
  • A damp cloth for initial wiping
  • Tissue or dry cloth for final wiping and cleaning the metal surface


Step 1: Spray the WD-40 directly on the permanent marker ink on the metal. Let it stand for at least 30 seconds before wiping it with a dry cloth or tissue paper.

Step 2: Use a damp cloth while gently rubbing the metal in a circular motion. Its oily substance will penetrate the permanent ink to make it soft and loose.

Final Step: Once you see that the ink has loosened and smeared, it is time to wipe it off with a paper towel or tissue. You may also use a dry cloth to clean the surface.


We have discussed the most common and effective methods available in your home. There are still other methods and cleaning products available in the market today. Some household items can still be used for this matter.

Since cleaning metal surfaces with stains is not as delicate as removing stains from fabric and clothing, you may try to experiment on other household items available within your reach. Permanent ink markers will dissolve mostly on products with alcohol or oil. Dishwashing liquid soap can also break the components of most permanent inks.

Hope you enjoyed this guide on how to remove permanent marker from metal? If you found this guide helpful or have another method, please share it in the comment box below. We are pleased to receive your response.

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