How to Remove Permanent Marker From Paper

marker image by dmitry_kim from

Permanent markers are available in a wide range of colours and tip thicknesses and are commonly used for drawing and marking on poster boards for presentations.

Perhaps their most useful quality is the fact they are permanent; however, at times this permanence can be a negative quality, namely if you've made a mistake in your drawing or writing. Permanent marker is difficult, but not impossible, to remove from paper.

Identify the thickness of paper and a reagent appropriate for that thickness. The success of removing permanent marker from paper heavily depends on the type of paper you have written on. Thicker paper, such as poster board, can handle toothpaste, denatured alcohol, and nail polish remover. A dry erase marker would work best for removing permanent marker from thinner paper, such as computer paper.

Smear, wipe or draw over the ink you want to remove with your reagent of choice, be it toothpaste, denatured alcohol, nail polish remover or a dry erase marker. Leave the reagent on the ink for a few minutes.

Carefully wipe the component off the paper with a damp tissue. Ensure the tissue is only slightly wet, too wet and you can potentially tear the paper. Repeat if the marking was not completely removed from the paper.

Repeat these steps using the same reagent a second time if the ink was not completely removed, allowing the paper to dry between trials. If the ink still does not come off, try one of the other removal options.