How to get Permanent Marker Off a Whiteboard

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Step 5: Apply Rubbing Alcohol

Using a cotton pad or swab, apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the board where permanent marks are present. As noted above, hand sanitizer or nail polish remover containing alcohol will also work for this purpose. Using your chosen substance, rub away the unwanted ink with circular or back and forth motions. The process remains the same for a magnetic whiteboard or most any other type of dry erase surface.

Once again, if this step does not seem to be removing all remnants of the permanent marker, try applying a bit more alcohol with a clean swab and repeat the process again. Most dry erase boards will not require more than one good scrub, but ink will usually be tougher to remove, the longer it has been sitting on the surface.


  • The marker board will be permanently damaged if you use anything that changes the surface of the board.

    Thanks! Helpful 25 Not Helpful 11



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Did spray sunscreen work?

I used Target Up & Up brand Sport Sunscreen Spray with broad spectrum SPF 30 and it worked similarly to the bug spray, which is to say, not well. Perhaps if it had been more like its unwoke forebears of the late 90s/early aughts, instead of being so reef-conscious? (By the way, you might as well not bother with “reef-safe” sunscreen, after all.)


Step 2: Cover Permanent Marks with Dry Erase Pen

Whether you are working with a magnetic whiteboard or non-magnetic, permanent ink will often come off much easier than you might assume. It may sound like a strange to way to start out, but go ahead and take your dry erase marker, and simply scribble over the top of the permanent marks, making sure to completely cover everything that you wish to remove. Then immediately move on to step three, as below.

Rubbing alcohol?

I finally saw a bit more success with 70% rubbing alcohol, but still was not amazed by the results. While it removed the top, dark surface of color and some of the underlying murky smudge, it still left a sad pallor that seemed to say, “Well somebody slept in their eye makeup again.” There was too much leftover rattiness on the board to claim victory.


How to clean a whiteboard with dry erasers

It may seem counterintuitive, but fighting marker with marker is often very effective.

  1. Go over markings with a dry erase marker

    Draw over the marks you’ve made in permanent marker with a dry erase marker.

  2. Colour a solid block

    Colour a solid block which should completely cover all the permanent marks.

  3. Once dry, wipe clean

    While the ink is still damp, use a whiteboard eraser to wipe the board clean.

  4. Repeat until the marker is removed

    Repeat steps 2-4 until all the permanent marker marks have been fully removed.

Reader Success Stories

  • Sehgin Hangsing

Aug 17, 2018

    Sehgin Hangsing Aug 17, 2018

    “The cheapest and quickest way to remove a permanent marker in a white board is by using Colgate as you suggested above. Thank you so much.” …” more

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