How To Remove Sharpie Ink From Hard Surfaces

Many people have shared how to remove Sharpie ink from various surfaces around their home on this site, as well as written in asking me this same question.

I previously wrote a page about permanent marker removal from walls, so if you need that help check there. However, these marks get on more than just walls, including onto things like plastics, appliances and even computers. If you need help with that then this is the page for you.

Below I've gathered tips from readers, as well as ideas from around the web that can help you with sharpie ink removal, so you can get back to enjoying your life instead of gnashing your teeth over frustrations like these.

Tips for how to remove sharpie ink and permanent marker from hard surfaces in your home {on Stain Removal 101}

Top photo courtesy of dvanhorn, and second photo see credits below

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How To Remove Permanent Marker From Laptop

Permanent Marker Stains On Laptop

Permanent Marker Stains On Laptop

I found these photos on Flickr Creative Commons about when a cute little boy wrote all over his parents' laptop with a Sharpie.

Stuff like this happens all the times in homes with small kids. I should know, since I've got three kids of my own. You just turn your back for a second and BAM, they've found a marker and are scribbling everywhere with it.

One of the easiest ways to remove any kind of permanent markers, including Sharpies, from hard surfaces is to use rubbing alcohol. As you can see from the pics that is exactly what the Mom did to remove the marks from the computer.

Of course, on any electrical surface, you have to be careful with any liquid you use to clean something up, to make sure you don't get components of the machine wet and cause problems.

Use cotton balls, q-tips, paper towels, etc. to put a small amount of rubbing alcohol on (damp, not dripping with liquid), and then rub that onto the electronic equipment, instead of spritzing or pouring alcohol directly onto the machine itself.

There are actually a lot of uses for rubbing alcohol in your home, for cleaning and stain removal. You can read my article with 10 rubbing and isopropyl alcohol uses for cleaning and more here.

10 rubbing and isopropyl alcohol uses for cleaning and stain removal

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Use An Orange Peel To Remove Permanent Marker Marks

Below is a video where a man demonstrates how to use an orange peel to remove permanent marker marks from various surfaces.

Specifically, in the video he removes permanent marker from plastic.

He states that to make the orange peel most effective you should rub it a bit to bring out the oils within the peel.

Then, you just rub the orange peel onto the permanent marker stain, using elbow grease, to get rid of it.

I have never used this method for permanent marker removal so I cannot personally vouch for its effectiveness. It does make some sense that it might work though because orange oil is commonly used in citrus cleaners because it cleans so well. (You can check out this essential oil use chart to find out more uses for essential oils in cleaning your home and keeping laundry clean.)

Therefore, I would love to hear from people in the comments about whether this tip has worked for them or not.

***Update: Carrie shared this comment:
Lemon essential oil works for permanent marker too!
***End Update

That would explain, potentially, why the orange peel works then. Thanks for sharing that Carrie!

Lots of things can dirty or stain plastic, not just permanent marker. You can share your tips for cleaning plastic here, or read other tips already submitted for getting plastic surfaces in your home looking their best.

Photo by fdecomite

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Sharpie Ink Removal From Appliances: How I Did It

by Jane

Jane says:

After trying finger nail polish remover and alcohol on permanent Sharpie ink stains on my washer and dryer, my husband brought out the big guns.

He had a can of carburetor cleaner and it removed the ink instantly.

Carburetor Cleaner {Referral Links}

Taylor says:

Thanks for sharing this tip Jane.

You're right - sometimes typical home remedies just won't budge these marks on items in your home.

I would caution everyone though when using a product for something other than its intended use (and using carburetor cleaner on your household appliances would be one of them) to first test such a product in an inconspicuous area first to make sure it does not harm the surface you're trying to clean up.

Has anyone else used something like this to get rid of these marks? If so, I'd love to hear from you too! (Click here to share your own tips or read others already submitted.)

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Removed Sharpie From Refrigerator Door With Magic Eraser + Eau De Toilette

by Shannon

I received this tip for how to remove Sharpie ink from a refrigerator door from Shannon.

Shannon says:

I just removed (fairly fresh) Sharpie from an orange peel textured refrigerator door with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and eau de toilette.

I do stink of it, but it was EASY! I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it myself.

Taylor says:

Thanks for letting me share your tip Shannon off of Stain Removal 101's Facebook wall.

That is awesome that you could so easily remove a marker that is meant to be permanent. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser has lots of uses in the home too.

I would say, however, that the reason the perfume worked to help remove the Sharpie was because of the alcohol it contains within it. I would suggest next time to save the expensive smelling stuff for your own use, and instead try rubbing alcohol, which I bet is the active ingredient which actually removed the stain!

***Update: I got a note from Shannon after I published this saying:
Hey there, just wanted to let you know that I did try alcohol along with Windex and the Magic Eraser by itself, and was getting nowhere ;) It was only with the eau de toilette (super cheap Avon brand) that I made any progress. :)
I guess that means rubbing alcohol wouldn't work there after all! Who knows what is in that stuff, but if it works, great!***

So, does anyone else have any tips for how to remove sharpie ink from hard surfaces, or any surfaces for that matter? If so, please share your tips here, and I will feature them on the site. You can also read other tips which have already been submitted.

In addition, you can share your tips for how to clean refrigerator here, or read even more already submitted.

Photo by oskay

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Comments for Removed Sharpie From Refrigerator Door With Magic Eraser + Eau De Toilette

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Awesome cleaner + Magic Eraser
by: Ray

My daughter wrote on a cabinet that was artificial wood. It had laminate over it. With Awesome and a Magic Eraser and hardly any effort it came right up. It also gets ink out of clothing.

How To Remove the Marker Ink on Pumpkins for Halloween
by: Kelly Bolman

Once you have cut your pumpkin and if you have any left over magic marker marks, use rubbing alcohol to remove it fast and easy.

Sharpie on plastic shower wall
by: Mariam Durrani

My young nephew wrote his "shower instructions" on the plastic shower/tub wall. Iā€™m going to TRY all these ideas to get rid of his writing. šŸ˜‚

use dry erase marker to remove permanent marker
by: Anonymous

Use a dry erase marker to get rid of permanent marker. Just trace over permanent line with a dry erase marker and rub off with towel.

Brush cleaner on textured refrigerator
by: Anonymous

After trying many methods without success I used brush cleaner, which is more powerful than the other methods but not as strong as stripper, and made sure to wipe it off quickly and washed it twice after finishing. It worked beautifully, and did not take the sheen off of the finish. Used with care this is a lifesaver for our granddaughter, who used the big permanent marker with abandon! :)

removes from Leap Pad screen too
by: Lori

Rubbing alcohol will take Sharpie marker off the screen of a Leap Pad.

Dry Erase Marker
by: Michelle

I have found that if it's a flat (non-textured) surface, writing over the sharpie with a dry erase marker, allowing that to dry, and then wiping will take both markers right off. Found it out when a Sharpie was accidentally used on a dry erase board, but it also works great for when I want to write on something (file cabinet/washing machine) and want the option to remove it later but don't want it to rub off.

Hand sanitizer works, too
by: Chris M.

Thanks for your post! Since its packed with alcohol, instant hand sanitizer also works to remove these markers.

Sharpie removed
by: Elinor

Hand sanitizer will do it too.

by: Anonymous

If there is Sharpie on your fridge or in it I suggest you use Windex. My kid is four years old and he got sharpie on our new fridge and I got it all out with Windex.

Good luck!!

Removing Sharpie Ink from Hard Surface
by: Anonymous

Rub a blue or black dry erase marker over the sharpie ink. Voila....... GONE!!! šŸ˜Š

remove sharpie from any non porous surface
by: Misty Dawn

Fingernail polish remover. It will work on pretty much everything.

remove marks
by: Anonymous

used hand sanitizer at work. marks came right off.

Toothpaste! to remove Sharpie marker.
by: Suzanne - Teaching from a Tackle Box

My toddler one night drew Sharpie marker all over my *brand new* refrigerator, and everything else with in a two room radius that was at his height - walls roll top desk...and more. Frantically I wondered what I might have in the house that would take it off - toothpaste worked like a charm! (the pastey kind not gel).

Goo Gone
by: Anonymous

Goo gone contains orange oil. I keep a bottle in the kitchen and it's always taken permanent Marker off everything (including the polyurethaned hardwood floors - may not have worked if they weren't sealed). I would note that the magic eraser does remove finishes so I would only use it as a last resort. The cod liver oil in wd40 should do the trick, too.

baby wipes on laminate floors
by: Claire

My 2 year old son managed to nick a permanent marker which I had in my handbag and decided to start writing on my laminate floor. I was not impressed in the slightest!! Only thing that worked to remove it was baby wipes! Magic! Baby wipes to the rescue once again!!

removing from plastics
by: Anonymous

Sunscreen! Rub a bit over the stain and wipe with a soft cloth. (When using a permanent marker to label sunscreen, cover the label with clear packaging tape!) ; )

Marker pen/texta from plastic
by: Anonymous

Does anyone have tips to remove marker pen/texta (the pens used to colour in) from plastics such as kids furniture, toys, dolls, etc? Most are quite old now, so would it work on those too or only new marks? Thanks.

dry erase marker
by: Autumn

All you have to do is use a dry erase marker over it then wipe it off... Works on most surfaces.

rubbing alcohol
by: Amy

Rubbing Alcohol. My husband told me that. He uses sharpie to mark things on sheet metal (he builds helicopters) and uses alcohol to get it off.

more sharpie
by: Courtney

When our toddler used sharpie on a new computer monitor, we used more sharpie and wiped it off before it could dry.

warning re magic erasers on electronics
by: Michelle

Magic Erasers are great, but not on electronics. They work because they are a mild abrasive. Even a mild abrasive will damage your electronics to some degree. They will etch the finish and leave it dull and scratched, so you just trade marker for other cosmetic flaws. If it is a screen, you'll take it beyond a cosmetic issue.

hair spray
by: Pat

This happened to me with a red sharpie. Only thing that worked was hair spray. Go figure.

hand sanitiser
by: Elaine

Hand sanitiser, just a dap on a tissue and off it comes!

hair spray
by: Julie

Hair spray works also!

by: Kimberly

EToH. Ethanol will take that right off, no rubbing or scrubbing required.

magic eraser
by: Amanda

After you stop crying...use a magic eraser...

hand sanitizer
by: Danielle

Hand sanitizer removes permanent marker from EVERYTHING, including newly bought red furniture and hard wood floors!

dry wipe markers
by: Laura

Am I the only one who uses dry wipe markers to get rid of permanent marker?

acetone for piano keys
by: Rachel

My kids used a Sharpie on the piano. One big long, black line on every white key, from top to bottom, along with some shorter random marks. I used acetone to get it off.

magic eraser
by: Sabrina

Magic erasers work like a charm too.

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Hi, I'm Taylor, a busy mom with 3 kids, so I have lots of hands on experience with house cleaning, laundry and my fair share of spots, spills and other messy catastrophes. Thanks for visiting my site.

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CAUTION: This website is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided as is, without warranties or guarantees. Some stains and messes just won't come out, and are permanent. Further, some cleaning methods can harm your item, so if what you want to clean or launder is sentimental or expensive call a professional. See disclaimer of liability for more information.