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Removing Permanent Marker with nail polish remover

Submitted by Melissa Krannawitter

When my two year old son wrote on my wood cabinets with a black permanent marker, I tried to use the newspaper tip, but it didn't work. I used regular non-acetone nail polish remover, a regular bath washcloth, and it came out perfectly! It took me only 5 minutes to remove marker from a 3 ft. by 2 ft. wooden cabinet.

Visitors comments

It works!!! Comments By: Karen Marie on 2004-08-11
My 2 1/2 daughter took a permanent marker and wrote all over my hardwood floor and herself. I read Mel issa's article, tried it, and I was amazed! It got the marker off the floor and my daughter!!!
removing permanent marker Comments By: dave l on 2004-09-14
you can also try denatured alcohol, it wont be as damaging to a finish.
It is amazing! Comments By: Vicki Quinn on 2004-10-20
My toddler son did the same with a permanent marker to an antique desk. I tried the non-acetone nail polish remover- and it worked! Thanks so much.
Saved me!!! Comments By: Gen on 2004-11-06
My two year old daughter used a red permanent maker on our hardwood floors. Used some nail polish remover and most of it came out in a few mins. You can still see a hint of it, but you would have to look for it and it appears to be part of the wood grain. Thank you!!! I was frantic trying to remove the stain.
YOU SAVED THIS NIGHTSTAND!!!!! Comments By: Jennifer on 2004-12-06
My daughter wrote all over her nightstand with Sharpie marker. Was looking for product to remove.Tried this idea and it removed the marker, didn't damage the wood or the handpainted trim. THANK YOU!!!!!!!
you saved my laminate flooring from being replaced Comments By: Samantha on 2004-12-22
I walked in my living room to find my three year old son had decided to draw me a big picture/scribble all over my floor and him self with permanant marker, thought i would have to replace the whole floor. I read your comment, tried using Normal Nail Polish and it came straight off, couldn't belive it. Thankyou!
not on walls Comments By: Tabatha Schofield on 2005-04-03
Your tipped worked well on the toy box and on the walls I'm just gonna also need touch up paint. I recommend putting butcher paper up on the walls. That way kids can be creative without mom and dad (mostly mom) spending their entire day cleaning the walls.
Amazing Comments By: Torrie on 2005-04-06
My two year old son wrote on our refigerator with a Sharpie. I used the nail polish remover and it came off instantly! Thanks!
WOW!!! Comments By: Michelle on 2005-04-21
My two year old son wrote on our hardwood floors with a black Sharpie. I was feeling sick about the stains. Tried nail polish remover and it was gone in 2 seconds! Thank You, Thank You!!!
Works In A Flash! Comments By: Happy Mom on 2005-07-12
Our daughter and her friend used permanent markers to draw on our wood kitchen table top. I'd let the stains go for about a month, because I had no idea what to try. After reading your tip, I used the nail polish remover with an old spin toothbrush, and the marker came out instantly! Thank you SO much for posting your tip!!
Good tips! Comments By: Anon on 2005-08-24
This just happened to my daughter, her 3 year old used the black permanent marker on her new solid oak computer desk. So I looked it up and found all of these ways to clean it, meanwhile, she was looking though her cabinet and tried the new 'magic eraser' and lo and behold it worked and worked well!!
Thankyou. Comments By: Jamie Tyack on 2006-02-21
I tried white spirit first, then bleach spray, but no joy! The nail varnish remover got nearly all of it out. Kids love the pens they shouldn't use!!
This worked on a Highlighter pen too! Comments By: Pamela on 2006-05-28
Thank you SO much for this tip. I think my 3 year old niece colored a fairly dark thick patch of yellow highlighter on my beautiful custom made desk. I discovered it and was just sick. I could not remove it without some help. I read your advice and thought I would give it a try. It worked very fast. It did not all come up but enough that it is not noticable and I will soon forget about it.

Then I thought I would try it on a black mark on my dining room table. It took the mark up VERY quickly but it slightly damaged the finish. That is probably because it is a cheap wood table. Again no one else would notice.

Thanks so much for this advice. It was a great help

It's not just young kids !!! Comments By: John Sheaf on 2006-06-04
Amused me with all the things 2-3 year olds will do with a permanent pen marker. Its not just "young un's" though, my 22 year old son decided to put his soccer team on an England flag with a marker pen. Yep! you guessed it! It went straight through to the wooden kitchen table top below! This great tip worked a treat. Peace has been restored in the household.
You saved my life!!! Comments By: keisha on 2006-06-13
Just like everyone else with a 2 year old, my son decided to draw all over the computer screen!!! But, the nail polish remover worked instantly!! Thank you all for your help.
Saved my cabinets! Comments By: Trista on 2006-06-26
My 2 yr old daughter drew on my white cabinets in my kitchen with red permanent marker, I was beyond myself=my husband is overseas and would be coming back in a few months and had no idea what to do! I tried this tip and it took it right off! Thanks so much!
10 out of 10 Comments By: Mel on 2006-08-09
My 2yr old son used a permanant black marker to draw on the tv screen and its casing. Amazing to watch it disappear within seconds with just the use of remover. Thankyou so much.
Permanent marker on Plastic Comments By: Rebecca on 2006-09-16
My 3 yr. old decided to write w/ a sharpie on the inside of our brand new toilet seat lid. I first used rubbing Alchool and it got it off some, then I tried hairspray, and then I tried the nail polish remover and nothing worked it just got it off some of the way. But hopefylly I will find something to get it off. thanks anyways.
saved my $4000.00 cabinet Comments By: Domenique on 2006-10-20
Today my 2 year old neice decided to decorate my $4000.00 light oak german schrank with purple permanent marker...I thought for sure it was ruined after trying old faithful (rubbing alcohol) to no avail. Then I read this tip and decided to try it...it worked wonders and in only seconds!! thanks a bunch...I also used it on a corner of my couch where there was more art left for me and it worked there too
My heart was pounding Comments By: Laura on 2006-10-21
My 2 1/2 year old colored all over about a 2'X 2' area of our hardwood floor today and we're renters getting ready to move out!!! Nothing was getting them off, including magic erasers and then I found this tip. Like someone mentioned, it left almost unnoticable spots of light pink that mostly blend with the grain anyways. Thank you!!!
removing permanent marker Comments By: mamapatience on 2006-10-21
I used bug spray, and the chemicles in it removed all the permanent marker. No stains, only some residue, that was wiped clean with soap and water. Works on everything. Try it.
Works on Glass Too!!! Comments By: Lori on 2006-10-22
I bought a beautiful Pink Depression Glass plate at an auction that had a name written in pen and initials written in permanent ink on the bottom. I got to the auction late and didn't get a really good look on the plate but it was so cheap I bid on it. I was heartbroken to see the pen and marker writing on the bottom as I didn't think I would be able to get it all off. I tried the toothpaste and eraser tips I found but they just made the marks a little lighter. I came across this and thought - WHY NOT? I found some polish remover and with a little elbow grease it fully removed the pen and almost all of the marker - if you didn't know it was there you wouldn't see it! Thank you so much for helping me 'save' a beautiful piece of depression glass!!
GREAT tip!!!! Worked like magic Comments By: Jon on 2006-11-04
Thanks so much. My 4 1/2 y/o son scribbled red all over our white fridge and wood cabinets. Tried all the cleaners we had and nothing worked. Used nail polish remover and came off immediatly. Thanks from my wife and son also.
You wanna bet it works!!!! Comments By: Steph on 2006-11-30
Our 5 month old pup had jumped up and grabbed hold of a permanent marker, removed the top and left the marker on our nice hardwood floors leaving a big black spot and mind you little smudges throughout the rest of the house from his paws. To make a long story short I found this site and all I can say is that the nail polish remover does work, with a little elbow grease it's gone!!!!!
$1000 coffee table saved with non-actone finger nail polish remover Comments By: MIKE M on 2006-12-16
I'm a believer Comments By: Cindy H. on 2006-12-18
My 5 year old left permanent marker streaks in my cream colored carpet and I used Oxy-clean carpet spray immediately but it left a dark shadow and then I tried nail polish remover and "Bamm" it disappeared! I wish I knew about this when he was 1 1/2 and wrote on my miniblinds!
It really works! Totally AMAZING!!! Quick fix!! Comments By: Jessica on 2006-12-22
I had tried three other tips from various websites before hit this each got alittle off but with lots of scrubing. I was ready to give in when i read this one then i said minus well try and the marker came right off the surface no scrubing just a wipe with the cloth. It was great!!!
WOW!!!!!!!!! Comments By: in Ohio on 2006-12-30
All I have to say is... WOW!!!!

My husband went nuts when he found that my daughters had scribbled on our brand new wood floor with permanent marker. The nail polish brought it up in an instant like magic. It didn't ruin the finish either. I did make sure to wipe up with a paper towel immediately after each swipe of the nail polish remover.

Thank you Comments By: Erica on 2007-01-01
my 3 year old wrote with black on a white wood toy box, nail polish worked, thank you!!!!!
My 10 Year Old Has A 2nd Life! Comments By: Patty L. on 2007-01-03
Amazing! My 10 year old got permanent marking pen on a clear plastic covering a desk. I tried rubbing alcohol, ajax, laundry stain remover and various kitchen cleaners. The nail polish remover worked instantly!!
Thank god for that! Comments By: Katya on 2007-01-27
I tried this tip after the ink from newspaper which I put down in the bathroom for the cat to use left marks on the floor. I am so glad it worked, otherwise my parents would have grounded me for months! Here's hoping my mom does not notice that all of her nil varnish remover pads are missing!
I works Comments By: anon on 2007-02-28
My 2 year old son wrote on my white stair rails. I used the nail polish remover and it was gone in a flash. Thanks world!!!!!!
18 month old Comments By: Shadale on 2007-03-03
This really worked. My daughter decided that she wanted to write in my SUV on the console with three different colors of sharpies. She also wrote on my seat in orange sharpie. My husband used the nail polish and it came right off the console but not the seat. Thanks for the tip. If you know how to get it out of my seat please let me know.
Please Help!!!!!! Comments By: idania on 2007-03-15
My two year old wrote all over the console of my SUV with permanent marker and on my entire seat. I have managed to remove the ink from the console and door, but I need help with removing it form the seat. Please help!!!
Using Bug Spray to remove PERMANENT marker Comments By: Kerri on 2007-03-23
I read this tip here and tried it, THANK GOD it worked!!! I didn't have any nail polish remover, so I used Deep Woods OFF, but I'm sure any type/brand of bug spray would do just as well. My 2 year old wrote all over my kitchen floor(hardwood) with a Sharpie marker, I was just sick about it, but the bug spray got rid of it ALL!
Great Job!! Comments By: Anon on 2007-04-13
I brought a used cooler with permanent marker on all four sides looked up a solution and because of you the polish remover saved the day and the wallet. Thanks!
Removing permanent marker from computer screen Comments By: KATIE on 2007-05-16
THANK YOU!!! My husband would have freaked if he'd seen the state of our computer screen this morning. My 3 year old drew over our desk weeks ago but I was never too fussed as it was an extremely cheap desk, but the computer screen - yikes! Thank God for the internet, nail polish remover, and this page! The nail polish remover took it all off so quickly - I'm so relieved! Thank you!!!
On the walls Comments By: Rose on 2007-05-17
My 3 year old drew a mural in black permanent marker on my bedroom wall. I haven't tried the nail polish remover but the bug spray destroyed the paint. I am on my wat to the hardware store as we speak.
thank you Comments By: Mr. Harley on 2007-06-10
my 6 year was doing a school project and the marker run through the paper on our dining table, acetone worked like a charm...no scrubbing, it just wiped off easy.
Thanks Comments By: Anon on 2007-06-19
This was an awesome tip. Worked for me on a new wood furniture set.
It made me laugh, but it had 2go! Comments By: Kev on 2007-07-04
When my friend, lets call her 'Phil' (just to save any embarrassment), went and did a 'Banksy' on my desk at work - I didn't know where to turn! This tip has saved my desk, and, quite possibly, her job! Thanks!
My 2 1/2 year old will live to see 3! Comments By: Relieved Mommy!! on 2007-08-07
My 2 1/2 year old decided to decorate daddy's computer keyboard, desk, scanner, monitor and wrist pad with permanent marker. Also decided to decorate mom's computer desk,chair and monitor. I have tried the magic erasers on the walls before (yes he's done this before) and they work on walls but not on the desks. The nail polish remover saved my son's life and my neck! Thank God for this tip!! THANKS!!!!
idiots drew graffiti on my car!!!!!! Comments By: jo on 2007-08-28
I was shocked when i just went to my car to find graffiti writtern in what i think is black marker pen on my white car! instantly i typed in google and i found all your tips! nail varnish remover has seemed to remove all of it, but i will have to wait till the morning to see if the paint work is damaged!!!! GREAT TIP THANK YOU ALL!!!!!
Try this on skin Comments By: Stephanie F. on 2007-09-29
My 2 yr old loves writing on herself with permanent marker. She used to have to walk around with black marks all over her legs and arms and body. But when she decided to draw on her face I had to find something to remove it without hurting her. Someone told me to try vegetable oil. Works like a charm and doesn't hurt the kids. Try this on skin instead of nail polish remover or alcohol!
Sharpie/Wood Comments By: Shelley on 2007-10-07
I tried exactly what you said and it worked!! Thank God. We are renting a house with hardwood floors, my daughter got Sharpie all over it....I panicked, looked it up on the internet, tried it and it worked! Thanks so much!
Nail varnish on a parquet floor Comments By: Romy on 2008-02-04
My 2 year old daughter decided to paint our parquet floor with pink nail varnish. I used varnish remover - it wasn't quick but at least Daddy won't notice when he gets home ...
Does anyone know how to Comments By: Marly on 2008-05-08
My four year old niece was doing an "art" project and the marker seeped right thru her page. I read all the comments here and decided to use the nailpolish remover, Lord and Behold it's left a sickening light spot on the side I rubbed the most, though I tried to be as gentle as possible. The desk is an oak wood colored and the spot is about three to four shades lighter. My husband will not be happy! :-( Any tips on how to try to bring the color back to date?
Deep Woods OFF removes the Permanent Marker Comments By: Richard on 2008-06-28
Bless the lady that used and recommended the Deep Woods OFF. Sprayed the writing and it dissolved immediately. I had writing on a piece of Corian counter top and tried the following with little help: lacquer thinner, Goop, rubbing alcohol, Swifter wet ones, tooth paste, shampoo, glass cleaner, reading glass cleaner, hair spray, vodka, R2X stain remover & cleaner, and dishwashing soap.
Works on Glass Comments By: leah on 2008-12-06
Used this tip on one of my outside windows which had been tagged by a few unknown little so and so's. Worked a treat no elbow grease required. Thank great tip.
Non-acetone nail polish remover works great!!! Comments By: Lorrie on 2009-01-17
My son wrote all over my kitchen table with a green permanent marker. I used pink eraser, wd-40 and they didn't work. I tried non-acetone nail polish remover and it worked great! No damage was done to the table and the marker is gone.
Permanent marker on glass window and blinds Comments By: Melissa C. on 2009-01-08
Thank you so much! We have a brand new house and the other night while cooking dinner my 2 yr. old found a Sharpie marker and drew all over the entry way window and wood blinds. The nail polisher remover worked instantly. Wow!! What a "life saver."
stains on fabric-cotton Comments By: susan cramer on 2009-07-06
you did not mention permanent markers on fabrics, ie cotton--1 fabric mentioned-I think
nail varnish in the bath Comments By: michelle on 2009-07-11
my 2 and 3 year old yes right in the bath my white bath is now red any tips?
Lifesaver Comments By: Rachel on 2009-08-19
Thank you. Got black Sharpie permanent marker pen on our new oak table yesterday and tried everything to get it off. This worked perfectly in seconds - can get rid of the coaster I had used to hide the stain from hubby now!
I learned two things from reading these comments Comments By: Mark on 2009-08-30
1. non-acetone nail polish remover will remove permanent marker

2. don't have kids

removing permanent marker Comments By: Doug O. on 2009-09-19
This tip worked great! my granddaugher wrote onour new laminate flooring, and her dresser with permanent marker. your tip about using the nail polish remover worked great. My wife was not sure so she tried a little first then did the hole area.
HELP ME!!! Comments By: jasmine on 2009-11-22
i tryed to use nail polish remover to take permenent marker off my ice skates but it does not work cnan you help me!!!!
yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Comments By: seth on 2009-12-24
my four year old wrote on my 1,000 table with black perment marker,i used a little nail polish remover then wood cleaner cant even tell there was a stain thanks again
Mr.Clean eraser is a dream! Comments By: Heather on 2010-01-19
Thanks for all the advice! This is the only place I found help! I didn't have non-acetone nail polish remover so I tried my Mr. Clean eraser on my newly beautifully finished hard wood floors and it came off like a dream! It had been on the floors for 24 hours as my son showed me the next day where it was!
Confused Comments By: A on 2010-02-07
I only had acetone polish remover, does that matter? I tried to get permanent marker off my new my gas meter cover (someone, with the mind of an alley cat spraying his territory, had 'tagged' it with a graffitti signature, shame I didn't catch them). It really didn't work.
disappointed Comments By: A on 2010-02-07
Nail varnish remover, without acetone and with acetone (I think that distinction could be a red herring and there was no need for me to buy the other type!), did not work to get permanent marker off my white meter box. What are the INGREDIENTS of the bug sprays people say have worked? There are loads of different incecticides on the market so before wasting any more money I need the right one. Any other tips?
oh my gosh!! Comments By: kate & leo on 2010-02-08
my 2 year old went very quite in the front room,on checking,my little angel had found a prem marker and it would be quicker to list what he HADNT scribbled on!thank god for the internet and nail varnish remover,x
Dry erase markers also work! Comments By: michelle on 2010-06-01
If you get permanent marker on glass or most plastics color over it with a dry erase marker it will come right off.
la la la Comments By: unknown on 2010-09-09
ummm it does not work, i tried on my lego star wars episode 2 clone and it made it worse! thanks alot! jk. its awesome! thanks!!!!
Related topic tip for parents os small kiddos Comments By: anon on 2011-03-22
Benjamin moore makes a WASHABLE paint formula. You can get it matched to any color. If you are repainting, i CANNOT reccommend it more. Drawing on walls comes right of!!!! (sometimes with the help of a magic eraser.

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