How To Get Permanent Marker Off Wood

Stains on the floor are unavoidable. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how hard you try to keep things pristine. Stains come from everywhere. Food, drink, muddy pets, children. There are so many ways that marks and scuffs can creep into the home.

Permanent marker is one of the toughest stains to remove. Thankfully, when it comes to wood, there are methods for removing permanent marker stains. Although you may struggle with regular cleaning products, there are alternatives to try.

Alcohol, hairspray, nail polish remover, and even toothpaste are all effective ways to remove permanent marker stains off wood. Though you should take care when using alcohol-based substances.

Methods For Removing Permanent Marker Off Wood

There are easily obtainable substances that can help you in your quest to remove permanent markers off wood. The items listed below can be purchased from stores such as hardware and supermarkets. They are not overly expensive, and they are all effective for removing permanent marker stains.

1. Alcohol

More specifically, rubbing alcohol. There are a few different types of rubbing alcohol that has been proven time and time again to remove permanent marker off wood.

It is important to use proper protective equipment when dealing with any form of chemical substance, and rubbing alcohol is no exception. Protective equipment includes safety goggles, gloves, and a face mask to protect the nose from inhaling the toxic gasses emitted from the rubbing alcohol.

The most common is isopropyl. Isopropyl, like most rubbing alcohols, has a strong smell. The smell can permeate not only the nose but also the eyes. Therefore, as we’ve mentioned, it is important to take preventative measures to keep safe. The strong odor can cause dizziness, headaches, and nausea.

Rubbing alcohol should be applied to a lightly dampened cleaning rag, cloth, or even cotton wool. It dissolves quickly and acts fast to combat permanent marker stains. Rubbing alcohol absorbs the stain from the wood surface onto the cloth. All you have to do is rub repeatedly until the stain starts to fade. Simple!

2. Hairspray

Hairspray can effectively remove permanent marker off wood. It is important to note that the majority of hairsprays contain some level of alcohol.

Alcohol is the active ingredient that helps to remove the permanent marker stain. Therefore, if used in close proximity to the eyes, nose, and mouth, the same precautionary measures as using any type of alcohol for cleaning should be observed. If inhaled, hairspray can cause symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, and nausea.

The method is simple. Spray the chosen hairspray onto the permanent marker. The hairspray will be more effective at removing the stain if left to sit for at least ten minutes. Hairspray will leave a stickiness behind, though this is easily cleanable.

After the hairspray has sat for ten minutes, apply a damp rag to the stain and scrub. It won’t take long for the marker stain to lift off the wood and onto the cleaning cloth. After the stain is removed, water or a normal household cleaning spray will work to remove any residual stickiness from the hairspray.

3. Nail Polish Remover

For the same reasons as hairspray, nail polish remover is an effective removal agent for a permanent marker.

Nail polish remover contains alcohol which, as we’ve already seen, is effective in removing tougher stains that won’t entertain normal cleaners.

Pour a small amount of nail polish remover onto the stain and scrub with a dampened cloth. Take care not to inhale the smell as it can have the same side effects as hairspray and rubbing alcohol.

4. Toothpaste

You may not have thought that toothpaste could remove a permanent marker stain, and why would you? Toothpaste is associated with cleaning, specifically our teeth. It is strange to think that something intended for oral hygiene could be abrasive enough to remove permanent marker stains. But, if used correctly, it can.

It is the abrasive nature of toothpaste that makes it proficient in removing permanent stains.

Simply, squeeze a good amount of toothpaste, for example, a lot more than you would use to clean your teeth, onto the area of the permanent stain. You don’t have to wait, just start scrubbing gently. The toothpaste will lift the stained particles right off the wood. It is even more effective when combined with a splash of acidic lemon.

Toothpaste has the advantage of leaving a pleasant odor, unlike hairspray and rubbing alcohol. You won’t need any protection to clean with toothpaste, and it’s cheap and readily available in lots of different stores.

4. Baking Soda & Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar are household favorites for cleaning. When used together, they can beat tough stains with ease. They have the added advantage of already being in your cupboard, as staple household items. And, if they’re not, they are easy and cheap to buy.

You will need to mix a little splash of vinegar with a teaspoon of baking powder to create an abrasive cleaner. With a cleaning cloth, simply apply the mix to the stain and the stain will begin to lift after not much effort.

5. Sandpaper

If you have tried the above methods to no avail, it may be time to take more drastic action. Sandpaper is an abrasive tool that strips microlayers from the wood itself. The sandpaper will, quite literally, remove the stain off the face of existence.

Though sandpaper is not always a desirable option. Sandpaper itself can remove the color out of wood, and change the texture. This may interfere with the overall aesthetic of the wood. Sandpaper is often used to smooth chips and stains.

End Thoughts

There are several methods for removing a permanent stain from your wooden floor or furniture. You should also read our article about Wood Bleach Products for Black Marks if none of the above suggestions are effective.

All of these products are easily obtainable, and they won’t require a lot of hard work to be effective. A simple damp cloth or cleaning rag, a bit of scrubbing, and voila! The stain will be lifted and removed with minimal effort.