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How to Revive a Dried Out Marker? (Quick & Permanent Fix)

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

how to revive a dried out marker

Throwing a marker that ceased to work without trying to save it is a wrong move. If you have no idea about the effective methods, you’re excused. But you have to learn how to revive a dried out marker. In this article, you’ll discover that water, alcohol or ethanol, and vinegar can reactivate your marker. You’ll be surprised at how they can revive dried-out markers! To know the necessary steps, read on!

Quick Fix During Emergency

It’s annoying if the ink is not coming out of the marker while you’re in the middle of using it. It’s normal to panic but you can be at ease if you know what to do.

1. Some drops of alcohol

When it’s an emergency to fix dried-out markers, you need some alcohol. Put some in a small bowl and dip the marker’s tip in it. Wipe the tip before you go back to writing or it will be runny or pale.

2. The healing power of water


Once more, the healing power of water is proven effective in resolving issues. It can bring a marker back to life!

  • You’ll need a small bowl or glass for warm or hot water. Soaking the dried-out marker tip in water with high temperature delivers great results! It causes the ink to flow. Cold water is fine but the warm water obtains the result quicker.
  • Remove the caps so you can dip the markers into warm or hot water. See to it that the entire tip is submerged in the water. Let them sit for five minutes. If you see some ink coming out of the tips, don’t worry as it’s a sign that what you’re doing is effective.
  • After soaking the tips within the necessary period, take the markers out to get rid of excess water. You have to put them on the rags for this. As you leave them with the rags, you need to check them from time to time. They have to be free of extra water and you shouldn’t allow them to become dry as they will no longer be useful.
  • Enough time is essential in observing the markers. I know it will test your patience but you’ll find out that it’s ready if you try them out on paper every few hours.
  • After confirming that the markers can do their job, it’s advisable to change their caps. This is another reason to not throw every part of dried-out markers. Securely put the caps back to ensure that they won’t easily turn dry.

I will show you another way of utilizing water to revive a dead marker. Slow flow water and plastic wrap or cling film are what you need in this method.

  • Use slow flow water to wet the tip of the marker. A little bit of water is fine with markers that have thin tips, but if they have chubby ones, you’ll need to add a bit more. The former tip would require a quick exposure under the faucet. However, you’ll need to give more time to the latter.
  • Once the marker tip is wet, you have to lock the moisture by wrapping it with plastic wrap or cling film.
  • You have to put the lid on at this point. Let a few hours pass before you remove the plastic and try to see if you can still use the marker.

Additional Tips


Another way to utilize water in fixing dried-out markers is by using a syringe. Get your hands on the thinnest syringe and fill it with water. After putting water in the syringe, push the needle through the tip up to the marker’s body.

Just inject a small amount of water at a time to drain the air. Approximately one millimeter is essential before you allow the marker to turn dry. Before showing you another solution, take note that this method is great for water-based markers like Sharpie Marker.

1. Alcohol solution

Aside from water, alcohol is an effective substance to fix a dried-out marker. This method only requires minimal effort. You can start by pouring alcohol into a small container like the cap of the alcohol bottle. It’s sufficient when dipping and soaking the market tip. When the ink starts to swirl, it’s time to take out the marker.

Next, place the cap on the marker. It needs 24 to 48 hours to rest and the marker should be positioned tip-side up. After you’ve given it enough time to recover, it should work.

Like water, you can inject alcohol through a syringe. You may also replace alcohol with acetone or xylene. You only need a milliliter of any of these substances to inject into the marker tip.

This method is recommended for permanent markers with ink that contains organic solvents, which is the reason for the strong smell. It’s also the factor that causes permanent markers to dry out quicker than the water-based type.

It’s best to use the alcohol content that is 91%, 95%, or 99% to revive a dry marker. The necessary percentage is offered by Solimo, Vaxxen Labs, Pronto, and Eternal. I’m afraid that 75% alcohol content can’t resolve the issues as there’s too much water. You can use ethanol or isopropyl and it’s also acceptable to mix them. Be careful when handling them as they’re smelly and unhealthy when sniffed.

I must say that ethanol paves the way to the easiest method. You’ll need to pull out the marker nib and pour the substance inside. To carefully do this process, use a syringe or pipette. After pouring ethanol, you can put the nib back.

Give it some minutes to rest then try to make lines. Voila! You can use the marker after letting it recover. It only shows that ethanol is powerful as the ink just flows with no delay. A quick effect is not a bluff at all.

2. Vinegar: Another quick method

Vinegar also has the fascinating ability of ethanol. The good thing about it is that you can just grab it from your kitchen. In this application, you need a bowl to tilt your marker.

Tip the marker down in the bowl. Next, use two drops of vinegar to dampen the tip. Allow the soaking for a couple of minutes until the tip turns dry. There’s no need for the tip to be submerged into the vinegar. A few drops can let you complete the process. Be careful with the amount of vinegar that you use as excess can be corrosive for some markers.

Another way to administer vinegar is by placing it in a jar lid or small dish. Then, dab the marker tip in and out five to ten times. The goal is to encourage the penetration of the vinegar to the tip until it cuts through the ink’s granulated chunk. By doing this procedure, you also lightly clean the marker felt.

This dabbing process will require you to put the cap on and let the marker rest for 24 hours. Then, you can use it. Again, you don’t need to drown the tip, especially the thin ones in the vinegar.

In my case, I use a chopping board to help me get the excess vinegar. As you can notice, it seems that this method uses kitchen stuff so there’s a huge convenience when collecting the tools.

You can flick the tip of the marker and the extra liquid will go to the board. You may also roll the tip on it. The chopping board makes it effortless to control the amount of vinegar that clings to the tip.

Tips for Preserving Your Marker’s Life

The methods to make a dry marker work again won’t always be smooth sailing. Those with thicker tips may require you to repeat several steps to achieve the desired result. To prevent yourself from going through hurdles, here are some tips to preserve your marker’s life.

  • Storing your markers will be the most effective if you follow how acrylic paints are kept. It’s simple as you only need to choose a cool, dry place.
  • It’s best to put your marker upside down when not in use for the ink to run through the tip. Of course, the lid should be on.
  • It might sound silly to you but storing your markers in a refrigerator helps extend their life span. This is mainly recommended to those who live in hot areas.
  • Always make sure that the lid or cap is tight.

Closing the Marker With the Cap

After reading this article, you’ve learned various methods on how to revive a dried out marker. It’s been specified which one will work on water-based and permanent markers. In carrying out the essential steps, you have to be consistently patient.

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