Does anyone know of a way to remove stains caused from dry-erase markers?

I was using the side of my fridge as a whiteboard and it seemed to work fine at first... but I left what I wrote up on the fridge for a couple of weeks and when I tried to wipe it off it left a blue stain. I've tried scrubbing with soap and water and a bunch of other household cleaners with no avail.

fridge with stains

8 Answers 8


Isopropyl Alcohol
If the typical 70% rubbing alcohol isn't removing everything, try the higher concentrations (90%+ solution). The 70% solution works, but not quite as well as the higher concentrations. As a bonus, rubbing alcohol also removes permanent marker if someone should accidentally take one to your board or refrigerator instead of a dry erase marker.

Failing that, try peroxide. That works pretty well, too.

NOT Recommended

Here are a few suggestions I've tried, but DON'T recommend:

WD-40 It works but it smells. It's also a solvent and I've found it removed some of the smooth finish off my dry erase board (may not apply to your refrigerator), so the marker became hard to get off from then onward. And if you don't get all the WD-40 off, the markers won't write as well.

Hairspray used to work, but many hairsprays don't contain much, if any, alcohol anymore.

Toothpaste is an abrasive. It cleans a lot of things, but when you micro scratch the surface you are cleaning, it creates a matte surface that makes the marker really hard to get off the next time.

Optional Experiment: Once you get the blue stains off, try sealing the surface of your refrigerator with paste car wax. I've not tried it myself, but I've heard that makes the dry erase marker easier to wipe off to keep the surface clean. I've not tried this yet, but let me know if it works.


I've noticed that the dry-erase markers will erase what they write over. The fresh moist marker can then be erased and enough of the marker solvent in the new mark is sufficient to take the old mark off with it.

Furniture polish (Endust, Pledge, etc.) is another non-abrasive, non-dissolving thing to try. You don't need much.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizer has worked for some.

Some have had great success with Goof-Off which is a general purpose cleaner.

When all else fails, dry-erase marker liquid remover (made by Expo and Quartet) is available.


Limonene (orange essential oil) works great. It works on permanent sharpies. It's a solvent and pretty powerful. I bought a gallon of food grade pretty cheap and love it for cleaning.

I use my fridge as a dry erase board too and sometimes write with sharpies by mistake.

The bulk melamine sponges (magic erasers) others suggested also work well with a bit of alcohol.


Magic Erasers clean just about everything, and they are easy to use.


WD-40 did the trick.

I'd pulled out the dry erase marker and left a note on the white fridge...and turns out the fridge front latched on to that marker with a vengeance.

  • Rubbing alcohol (50%) - zilch
  • Goo Gone - zilch
  • Various kitchen cleaners - zilch
  • WD-40 won the day

I didn't want to get into abrasives.


Dry erase markers remove dry erase marker AND permanent marker stains, of off dry erase boards. I know, sounds too easy, but it works like a charm. Just be sure to dispose of the "eraser marker" when done, as it will now have permanent marker ink mixed into it. Scrub the stain with the erase marker, as if you were using a rubber eraser, don't just trace overtop.


I have found that using rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) in at least 70% concentrations will remove the vast majority of dry erase or permanent marker from a dry erase board. Now, I understand that a refrigerator is a slightly different surface so you may need to experiment with a different concentration of alcohol.

You can try coloring over the stains with a good dry erase marker and then wiping away right away. This is particularly helpful if there are darker marks left. You can color over them before trying one of the other methods listed here.

There are also commercially produced dry erase marker board cleaners and these would likely work. However, I believe the primary ingredient in these is alcohol so again, see above suggestions to use alcohol. Plus, this is a life hacks page so I'm guessing you'd rather stick with items you might have laying around the house.

Another thing that may work would be hydrogen peroxide. To be clear, I have not tried hydrogen peroxide for this; however, it will remove supposedly unremovable iodine stains from heavily marred linoleum-type floors (and this I have tried!).


Cola (not sure if lite/diet versions work). Just put some on a cloth and use it as you would a liquid multi-surface cleaner. Removes permanent marker, too!

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