How to Fix a Dry Highlighter

Three highlighter marker pens. image by Egor Tkachenko from

Highlighters are generally used to mark important information in documents and books. The bright ink in highlighters is translucent but extremely visible due to its neon pigmentation. Highlighter ink is water-based, so it can dry out if the highlighter is left sitting without a cap.

When this happens, they can often be fixed with the addition of more liquid. As long as there is still ink in the highlighter barrel, it takes as little as a minute to get the highlighter in working order.

Fill the cap of a rubbing alcohol bottle with rubbing alcohol.

Submerge the tip of the highlighter in the rubbing alcohol cap for no more than five seconds.

Hold the highlighter with the tip pointed up to let the rubbing alcohol seep through the pad and loosen and dried material.

Flip the highlighter over so the tip faces down. Hold the tip against two layers of paper towels for 30 seconds to soak up any excess liquid.

Repeat the process if it doesn't work the first time.