Getting Permanent Marker Off a Whiteboard

Getting Permanent Marker Off a Whiteboard
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Whiteboards are good tools to have for any kind of education purposes.

Chalkboards were the standard for a long time, for hundreds of years in fact, but now this has all started to change.

The fact of the matter is that chalkboards are really messy, mainly because of all the chalk dust. They can also be annoying to clean because you need water and cloth to do so.

Moreover, real chalkboards are both heavy and expensive, which makes them pricey to buy and hard to mount. All in all, the age of the chalkboard is long gone.

The dry erase or whiteboard is the new standard. With that being said, whiteboards do still have some issues that can make them a bit of a pain as well. What we are talking about here is that child that unknowingly uses permanent marker instead of a dry erase marker .

Sure, it can happen by mistake, but for the most part, it’s just some student who thought it would be funny do draw something obscene in permanent marker. At any rate, now you have a whiteboard that is covered in permanent marker, and it is not easy to clean.

So, today we will discuss getting permanent marker off a whiteboard.

The Dry Erase Marker

The Dry Erase Marker

One method which often works to get permanent marker off a dry erase or whiteboard is to cover it with a dry erase marker.

Fighting permanent marker with a dry erase marker, for some reason, actually works quite well. Use your dry erase marker to totally cover the area that has been sullied with permanent marker.

Now, with the ink of the dry erase marker still damp, use a dry erase board eraser to remove it. Be sure not to take too long because if the dry erase marker ink dries on the permanent marker before you can rub it all off, it may very well make the situation even worse than it was in the beginning.

If all goes according to plan, it should also remove the permanent marker underneath it.

Although this does not always work the first time around, so you may have to repeat this process a few times to remove all of the permanent marker. This method usually works quite well, although it can take a few attempts to remove all the permanent marker stains.


The next method you can use to remove permanent marker from a whiteboard is with alcohol. No, you cannot use last week’s half-empty bottle of whiskey for this. It needs to be strong and pure alcohol.

We would recommend going rubbing alcohol, some of the 99% grade, which should do the trick. On a side note, hand sanitizer also has a lot of alcohol in it, although not quite as much as straight-up rubbing alcohol, but it should still work.

Either way, you are going to need a sturdy cloth for this, because you might need to apply a bit of pressure to get the job done; basic household paper towels are not going to work here because they would just shred into pieces and leave residue everywhere.

Just moisten a rag or towel with the rubbing alcohol and get to scrubbing. It might take a few minutes, but the alcohol should be potent enough to dissolve and remove the ink of the permanent marker from the whiteboard.

On another side note, some people have found that peroxide also works quite well for the purposes of removing permanent marker off a dry erase board. However, good old rubbing alcohol works better, but peroxide is better than nothing.

Toothpaste, Comet, Or Coffee Grounds

Another method you can try using to get permanent marker off a dry erase board is by using something that is slightly abrasive. Something that you need to be aware of is that abrasive cleaners can be bad for whiteboards.

These boards come with a special finish to ensure that they are smooth and do not absorb ink. An abrasive cleaner can compromise or remove this finish, which will make the whiteboard even harder to clean later on.

However, if you are left with no other option, using an abrasive cleaner can do the trick for permanent ink.

Simply use something like coffee grounds or toothpaste and rub it onto the whiteboard where the permanent marker is. The abrasive nature should help remove the ink.

Use a damp cloth to rub the toothpaste or coffee grounds around. It might take a little while to get done, but it should do the trick. Yes, coffee grounds will leave their own stains that need to be cleaned afterwards, but it’s much easier than cleaning away the permanent marker.

Seeing as these abrasive cleaners and substances can compromise the finish of the whiteboard, you will want to do something about it afterwards. It has been noted that rubbing in a thin layer of baby oil onto the whiteboard’s surface after having used an abrasive cleaner works quite well to protect it and keep it in decent condition.


Yes, it can happen by mistake. If you are in a rush and grab a permanent marker, you might just think that you have ruined the whiteboard. This is not necessarily so.

As you can see, it is possible to remove permanent marker from a whiteboard; it is not particularly easy, and it is not fun, but it is possible, as long as you use the right materials.

We would recommend using the first method with the dry erase marker before anything else. However, if that does not work, moving on to try alcohol or peroxide, and then something like vinegar should finish the job off. Remember that using something abrasive should only be the last resort.

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