I have inadvertently used permanent marker on my dry erase board. If I "scrub" the board the marker comes off, but this ruins the surface. What might be the best way to fix this mistake to save the board from a scouring pad, and remove the permanent marker?


8 Answers 8


I have found that using a dry erase marker on the dried permanent marker will actually "blend" the two pigments together and re-activate the permanent marker into a liquid state for a milisecond. Then the two marker types dry once again, this time with the active ingredient within the dry erase marker allowing it to be wiped off from the surface easily.

The longer the permanent marker remains on the board, the higher the likelihood of a stain appearing, however, a second pass with the dry erase marker over the board seems to remove nearly all of the mistake.

  • 7
    Using marker over the old mark works wonders. You can alsu use a permanent marker to get the old mark "fresh" again to clean it off. Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 18:52
  • 2
    It's about solvents.
    – TRiG
    Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 18:30
  • 4
    I have used the dry-erase marker on a permanent marker trick MANY times. It works on hardwood floors too. Commented Dec 31, 2014 at 15:12
  • 2
    Works like a charm....thumbs up
    – Talha
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 8:16

I usually use rubbing alcohol to get the permanent marker off. For some reason this happens to me a lot.


The easiest solution I've found is baby wipes. They seem to get everything off. Then go over with a dry paper towel. No muss, no fuss.

  • 6
    Baby wipes are amazing, I don't have babies anymore but I still buy them as they are great at getting things clean.
    – GdD
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 13:35

A solution of chlorine bleach and water will both remove the permanent marker and brighten the white board. You need to allow the white board to dry completely before using it again.

Occasionally, the material used by the white board can be degraded by using a bleach solution. Test in a small area to prevent damage to the whole board.

  • 4
    IMHO, Bleach is such a caustic/harmful chemical, I rarely use it unless absolutely necessary.
    – Phlume
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 19:52
  • It isn't something I would recommend for frequent cleaning. I use disinfecting wipes with chlorine, so I always have one handy to clean my board when something bad happens. Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 15:56

Things I know work:

If the stain just happened using mineral oil and some essential oils works. When using essential oils make sure to wipe the board down thoroughly and not to leave the raw oil on for to long(over 1-2 minutes) as this can remove the boards finish.

  • Letting the mineral oil sit helps to loosen it, though. The longer it sits the better.

Remember not to scratch the surface of the board and so avoid scraping the marker off. These scratches make it so that the ink can get in and discolour the board it is usually hard to remove those stains.

How to Remove Permanent Marker from a Smooth Surface. This works for dry-erase boards:

  • Use a whiteboard marker to remove permanent marker on smooth surfaces. It is very easy and quick. But only do this if you're okay about tossing the marker, as the the marker used will be spoiled (one time use).

  • And be careful what you clean it with.

    Wipe both marks away with a lint free cloth or micro fiber. Never use paper towels.

  • Mr Clean Magic Eraser® sponge

  • Pencil eraser

Find a normal pencil eraser. Make sure that the eraser is clean (no pencil rubbings/color on it).

Try erasing the surface to make sure that the eraser will not damage the surface.

Be gentle and don't rub wildly and it should come off.

Either spill some rubbing alcohol on the surface or dab some of the paper towel in the alcohol. Then, start rubbing over the permanent marker area until it comes out (it may take a few reapplications) or it won't come out any more.

Alcohol is the ingredient in a lot of cleaners.

Spray it over the mark. Then clean off the spray and mark with a cloth

A lot of the oily removers I named interfere with the markers ability to adhere to the surface.

Things I heard that work:

  • Toothpaste. Scrubbing it in, is said to work.

  • Vinegar and Baking soda. I am not sure how much this works.

You should avoid putting liquids on the board if the finish is torn or otherwise.

Use plain old coffee. Use it with nothing added - no cream or sugar. The acid in the coffee will take off the ingredients in the marker.

Simply put a little sunscreen on that permanent marker and wipe it away. A little kitchen cleaner will remove the sunscreen and you're back in business!

Use nail polish remover and a cotton swab. The acetone in the nail polish remover will take off the ingredients in the marker.

WD-40 is said to work, but it may ruin your board. So I wouldn't suggest it.

Additional Info

Don't try using hand sanitizing wipes to clean the board. They can eat the enamel off the surface of the board.

  • Why would hand sanitizer be a problem? Obviously you'd have to use an alcohol based brand. Aside from ensuring that you're using a brand that contains alcohol, you would be fine. The hand sanitizers that do contain alcohol normally contain ethanol at 60-65%. 60% is all that is needed to kill germs though, so it is usually closer to that. There is nothing in them that would hurt the board. Not to mention that ethanol is a common solvent in the actual markers in the first place. However, baking soda may well though as it is an abrasive.
    – Mce128
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 8:54

Do you have some booze(spirit not beer-because of you need high alcohol level)in your house, baby wipes, hand sanitizers, ...anything with ALCOHOL...will break the bonds formed between ink stain and board.

All physics. All the best


What I have found works better than any of the above, bar none, is spraying Aeroguard on it. Stinks but the permanent marker just flows off. Couple of applications may be required but I am looking at my board now and after trying everything else, Aeroguard has left it looking like new.


Bicarb soda. Ethanol, methanol, vinegar, oil, and detergent all failed. Made a bicarbonate paste and put it on for 30 seconds then a small amount of effort and off it all came.

  • Might one run the risk of scratching the board if using too much pressure with a bicarbonate paste as described? I would caution against too vigorous of a scrub as it may be abrasive...
    – Phlume
    Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 5:24

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