If you want to know how to get permanent marker off wood, you’ll love this tutorial showing how to remove permanent marker from wood via different cleaners and methods!
My fifth child has been a wild one, I tell ya what.
And one of the thing she loves to go wild with are marking utensils – pens, pencils, crayons, markers, dry erase markers, and permanent markers. She’s like a magnet to them and will find ones you didn’t even know were out somewhere. (P.S. Here’s how to remove crayon from walls.)
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We’ve had a lot of marks from her love affair of marking utensils on various objects and places in our home – books, school books, couches, padded chairs, walls, carpets, windows, curtains, our piano keyboard, computer screens, cabinets, doors, tables, sheets, doors, clothes, and more.
It’s been such a pain in the butt, not gonna lie.
And try as we might to lock up all the writing utensils, I have kids older than her who are not so careful about finding every last stray crayon or marker or pen. Or who forget to lock up the arts and craft cabinet after they were done getting what they needed.
Oh, and my toddler girl figured out how to open the locks on said cabinet anyway, so really, there’s no stopping this one!
Well, one day she sneaked out a permanent marker from my office and drew all over our wood banister in our upstairs catwalk. It was so ugly and so noticeable!
And of course, as we rent, I was worried that some permanent marker removers for wood would damage the wood.
I had previously experimented to figure out the best way to remove permanent marker from carpet and decided to try a very similar process for getting permanent marker off of wood.
I found some definitely worked better than others! You can watch my video of the permanent marker removal on wood experiments here or below:
Keep reading to read up on how each method worked and which one was my favorite and the winner of the group.
How to Get Permanent Marker Off Of Wood – 5 Removers to Try
After searching around for different things that would work to remove permanent marker from wood, I found five top contenders. They are the following:
Materials That You Can Use to Remove Permanent Marker from Wood
Method 1: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to Remove Permanent Marker from Wood
This was the method I was most nervous about using on my wood banister. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is generally not recommended to use on wood! I didn’t want it to dull the wood finish and sheen.
I also only had a ratty old Magic Eraser on hand, but figured it would do until I ordered some more.
I just wet and wrung it out as normal before scrubbing it against the permanent marker stain on the wood. It didn’t seem to damage the wood at all, and did remove much of the mark, but some still remained in the grain of the wood.
Method 2: Toothpaste to Get Permanent Marker Off of Wood
This was the method I looked forward to the least, especially after I tried using toothpaste for removing crayon marks from walls several years ago with zero success.
But, with my cheap toothpaste, I was actually able to remove the permanent marker from the wood! I am NOT sure the way I did it was the “correct” way to use toothpaste to clean off wood, but it worked.
I put some toothpaste on my finger and then gently rubbed it into the permanent marker, in small circles. It took a little bit before I noticed the white tootpaste turning bluish green, the color of the marker.
Once it was removed, I took a wet blue microfiber cloth and wiped it clean.
It seemed to work well enough, but the process was the most time-intensive of the bunch and I found it gross to use toothpaste for cleaning. Definitely the messiest method as well.
Method 3: Rubbing Alcohol as Permanent Marker Remover for Wood
This method worked very well! Little need to scrub and it came off quickly.
Of course the downside to this method is that rubbing alcohol stinks really bad. But, it works great!
Method 4: Hairspray for Removing Permanent Marker from Wood
Another messier, smellier method to try is using hairspray! I used my Garnier Fructus hairspray and sprayed it liberally onto the permanent marker stain.
After a minute or so, I took another dry blue microfiber cloth and rubbed it against the stain.
Sure enough, much of it started coming off. But, there was definitely still a light residue of blue marker left behind. I resprayed it, but it didn’t get a ton better. So, it kinda works.
Method 5: Hand Sanitizer for Permanent Marker Removal from Wood
The last method we tried was squirting some hand sanitizer (we had giant Member’s Mark containers of the stuff on hand from a couple years ago) onto a new dry blue microfiber cloth and then rubbed that into the permanent marker stain.
And oh man! It worked so well!! And was so easy. This ended up as my favorite method.
Once I knew I liked it the best, I told my older kids to all grab a cloth, squirt some hand sanitizer onto them, and get scrubbing the permanent marker off the wood banister.
In no time, it was looking much much better! Yeah! No more blue marker on the wood! Doesn’t it look SO much better in the picture below?
I even got a little crazy, and used the hand sanitizer on a cloth to remove additional writing utensil marks off my walls with ease (and no dripping or crumbling Magic Eraser required). You can see me sharing about cleaning the walls with it on my TikTok or below:
Now, I understand the price and availability of hand sanitizer has skyrocketed lately due to recent events (but this is avery affordable and large bottle from Walmart), so I don’t know if it will be the most economical for you. Pretty much all of the methods worked to some degree, so use what you have on hand and works for you.
Though, if you want a great hand sanitizer, Klean + has a great smelling FDA OTC approved antiseptic hand sanitizer with therapy essential oils and 67% food grade ethanol. You can use coupon code KLEAN10 to get 10% off your order too.
Honestly, it was super hard to remove the permanent marker marks from inside the wood grain as well as on parts of the wood banister that were softer/more porous, and apparently not stained/sealed well to start.
No method I tried worked 100% at removing all marks from the wood banister. But, you really need to look close to see any remaining marks on the wood, so I’ll take it, especially for renting.
Now I just need to figure out how to get dry erase markers out of clothes….
For more great cleaning tips, be sure to check out the following posts:
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- How to Get Slime Out of Carpets
- 18 Cleaning Games for Kids to Make Chores More Fun
- How to Remove Acrylic Paint Out of Jeans
- How to Get Blue Poster Putty Off Your Carpet
- How to Get Rid of Black Mold Anywhere in Your Shower
- How to Remove Sweat Smell Out of Workout Clothes