How to Remove Permanent Marker from Wood [ The Easy Way!]

Want to know how to remove permanent markers from wood? In fact, removing a permanent marker from a wooden surface is not difficult at all, and we will show you how to do it in the simplest way possible.

Type of Permanent MarkerHow to Remove It from Wood
Water Based Permanent MarkersYou can remove traces of it from wood surfaces with a sponge moistened with water.
Alcohol-based Permanent MarkersCan be removed from wood with a napkin dipped in alcohol or vodka.
Oil-based Permanent MarkersYou can remove the marks from wood using vegetable or other fatty oils. Put some grease on a short-nap napkin and rub the permanent marker stain with it. Then use a dry cloth to remove the remaining marker.

If you do not know what is your permanent marker made of, then do not be discouraged, toothpaste is an excellent way to remove marker stains.

Method 1: Remove Permanent Marker From Wood with Toothpaste

You will need:

  • a toothbrush;
  • normal toothpaste, not a gel white toothpaste (never use a toothpaste with an abrasive part, whitening or any other too non-standard impurities!)
  • sponge or just a dish sponge with a hard coating on top.

Steps to do:

  1. Spread a thin layer of toothpaste on the permanent marker stain.
  2. Let it sit for about 15 minutes.
  3. Gently rub the area with a toothbrush or damp sponge. You should also add a little soap or dishwashing detergent to the sponge.
  4. Remove any excess water from the sponge or brush. It is better to rub in the direction of the wood grain, not against it.
  5. Remove the toothpaste from the wood. In theory, at this stage, the stains from the permanent marker should be gone. If the marks are still visible, resume using the toothbrush and sponge. 
  6. If the wood is hard, but the trail needs to be removed, use the harder side of the dish sponge.
  7. With a clean damp sponge, rinse again the place where the paste and the stain were: all the paste needs to be removed clean, but do not overdo it with frequent rubbing with a damp sponge on wood.
  8. If necessary, you can repeat the process, but only after the wood dries from the first attempt.

Method 2: Remove Permanent Marker From Wood with Baking Soda

Another very effective method to remove permanent marker from wood is to use baking soda:

  1. Dump 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a small cup. 
  2. lowly add water. You don’t want the final mix to be too watery. 
  3. Add enough water, stirring, to make a semi-sandy paste. 
  4. If you accidentally add too much water, put a little more baking soda in the cup. 
  5. Rub the paste over the permanent marker stain. 
  6. Wait 2 to 5 minutes, then clean with a damp sponge. 

The texture of the mix should remove any permanent marks that have penetrated the wood as well.

What about burn marks on your furniture? This is the best way how to remove burn marks from wood!

Method 3: Remove Permanent Marker from Wood using Rubbing Alcohol

Helpful TIP!
Note! Try not to rub the stain too hard to prevent it from absorbing.

Regular rubbing alcohol is the most common agent that can dissolve permanent marker very quickly from wood surface: 

  1. To do this you must use a clean cloth or cotton swab. 
  2. Saturate the material with alcohol, then gently wipe the damaged furniture frame. 
  3. The alcohol will very quickly begin to dissolve the marker, transferring it to a cotton ball. 
  4. Depending on the area of ​​contamination, it may be necessary to use several fleeces. 
  5. Alcohol is especially good at cleaning non-erasable alcohol and water-based markers from refrigerators.
  6. After the permanent marker stain has completely transferred into the cotton wool, wipe the cleaned surface with a clean, damp cloth.

Method 4: Remove Permanent Marker with Nail Polish Remover

You will need:

  • Acetone-free nail remover;
  • Sponge;
  • A rag napkin.

Steps to do:

1. Add a small amount of acetone-free nail polish remover to the napkin.
2. In the same way as in the case of the toothpaste, rub the napkin against the marker along the grain of the wood.
3. With a clean cloth or sponge with soap and water, remove all residues of nail polish remover. 

Don’t leave the nail polish on the furniture as it is will quickly warp the wood. And don’t overdo it with water either.

If you spilled by mistake some nail polish on your furniture don’t worry because I have for you the best method how to remove nail polish from wood!

Method 5: Remove Permanent Marker using Hairspray

If after cleaning the stain with toothpaste and alcohol, there is still a bit of permanent marker, you may need a little stronger extra help to clean the permanent marker on wooden furniture. 

Hairspray is more effective. Just spray some hairspray over the remaining ink residue, let it set for a few seconds, and wipe it off with a dry paper towel. After this there will be no permanent marker stain on the piece of wood.

For best results, address the stain as soon as possible and test each product in an inconspicuous spot first.

See here exactly how you can remove dried glue from wood with step by step instructions!

Method 6: Remove Permanent Marker from Wood using Sunscreen

You will need:

  • dishwashing detergent;
  • a rag napkin;
  • filtered water;
  • sunscreen.

Steps to do:

  1. Clean any debris from the permanent marker area with warm water and dish gel. 
  2. Do not press on the surface and do not try to scrub the permanent mark because you can drive it even deeper into the wood.
  3. Smear a medium-thick cover of sunscreen over the permanent wood mark. 
  4. Let it all dry.
  5. Use a dampened cloth to wipe the entire area clean. Most of the permanent mark stains should go away without any effort. 
  6. Rubbing should be carried out along the grain of the wood.
  7. The remaining of the marker trace is removed further with warm soapy water.

Need to know how you can remove polyurethane from wood? Check this amazing article!

If any of the above methods of removing permanent marker from wood doesn’t work you can try the following alternatives methods:

Alternative MethodsHow to Remove Permanent Marker from Wood
1.MayonnaiseUse mayonnaise instead of water / baking soda mix if mayo is more practical. For this method, scoop out a tablespoon of mayonnaise and rub on the permanent marker stain. Allow the mayonnaise to sit on the marker for 5 minutes, then wipe it off. Repeat if necessary.
2. Baby oilUse baby oil if all the above ingredients are inaccessible. Dampen a washcloth with baby oil and rub over the marker stain in a circular motion. If the permanent mark does not get off the wood in a matter of moments, add a little more baby oil to the cloth and continue rubbing until the mark is completely gone.
3.Turpentine.If all of the above options do not help, moisten a soft cloth with a small amount of turpentine and brush the marker very gently with all this. Following this, be sure to walk over the area with a damp cloth, then polish the area with a special soft dry cloth. Before turning to turpentine, try its scanty volume on that part of a specific wood object that is hidden from view. Afterwards, you may need to ventilate the furniture for a long time.
Helpful TIP!
If you can’t find toothpaste, try using baby wipes, hand sanitizer, or hairspray and wipe it off right away. The alcohol in these products can remove the permanent marker from wood.
Do not leave the product on the wood for too long as it may damage the finish.
If sanding one area changes the surface texture, consider sanding the entire surface of the wood. This will make it look more even.

Remove a Permanent Marker from Unfinished Wood

Step 1 : Rub the marker stain with a wet wipe. First, try to clean the affected area with this product; remember to follow the direction of the wood grain and not the opposite. The alcohol contained in these wipes is able to dissolve most of the stain.

Step 2 : Sand the area with 80-grit sandpaper. This type of sandpaper is the first you need to use to get rid of most of the mark, however, be aware that you will notice traces of the grinding and scratches on the wood. Remember to strictly observe the direction of the grain of the unfinished wood.

Step 3 : Treat the area again with 100 grit sandpaper. Continue working on the stained area until all the streaks are gone. Always take into account the grain of the wood and scrub in its direction. This step allows you to restore a smooth and homogeneous surface with the rest of the piece of wood.

Step 4 : Paint the wood or apply a finishing treatment. By applying a varnish or primer you can protect the surface from future stains. Both of these products are available in paint factories and DIY stores.

Here are 4 ways how to remove linseed oil from your wooden furniture in the easiest way possible!

How to Get rid of Permanent Marker from Treated Wood

To remove permanent marker from treated wood, nothing is more effective than toothpaste:

  1. Place the part to be treated on a flat surface;
  2. Spread the toothpaste to cover the traces;
  3. Take a damp cloth and rub the surface of the wood with it, making circular motions for 3 to 5 minutes;
  4. Remove excess toothpaste with the cloth;
  5. Repeat these steps until the permanent marks disappear.

Add baking soda to toothpaste to boost its cleaning power. This mixture is much more abrasive. Therefore, it is better to take it easy. Instead of toothpaste, you can use cleaning wipes or a cloth soaked in alcohol-free styling product.

How to Remove Permanent Marks from Varnished Wood

1. Wipe the area with a trace with disinfectant wipes. In the direction in which the permanent marker drawing was created. Do this delicately. Well, if the mark from the marker is only a few minutes old, this wiping may be enough to remove the problem completely.

2. Spray 70% (70-90%) rubbing alcohol on a new wipe and gently rub the wood area in the same direction. This works optimally with recent marks, no more than 24 hours.

3. If the marker stain is more than a day old, we use the toothpaste in the same way as described above, only leave the paste to act for 4 hours. And with a varnished wood, you will most likely need more than 1 attempt.

4. An extreme case is to use a very good fine-grained skin in order to very finely eliminate the remnants of the marker. Then wipe the sanded area with a damp sponge or sponge, and set the item to dry. With a small paintbrush, then add a new layer of a suitable varnish to the sanded area.

How to Remove Permanent Marker from Wooden Furniture

It is no secret to anyone that removing marker stains from furniture is the most difficult thing there can be, especially if it is a permanent one. However, if your door, chair or table are really worth it, you can try one of these tricks.

When the furniture is not upholstered, a good alternative to remove permanent marker is to use the well-known WD-40, an industrial multipurpose oil that can remove any stain. You can get it in the market at a low price.

If the goal is to remove sharpie from a wooden furniture, using common sense would not hurt: try an eraser. Some rubber erasers have the virtue of helping to fade those spots that we sometimes see as impossible.

You can use alcohol mixed with hydrogen peroxide to clean furniture upholstered with microfiber or hairspray, if it is leather upholstery. Use a cloth to apply these products to the surfaces that you want to remove marker stains from.

For laminate furniture:

The easiest (and probably the most surprising) technique is to remove the permanent marker by writing over it with a dry erase whiteboard marker. After that, all you need to do is wipe off the dry erase marker with a cloth or paper towel. And the marker stain is gone.

Other methods that work, depending on the type of furniture, are 70% alcohol, nail polish remover, toothpaste, baking soda, a simple eraser, or WD-40.

Helpful TIP!
Note: never use a magic eraser on lacquered or shiny furniture! The sponge may damage the finish and make it dull.

Does vinegar remove permanent marker from wood?

If vinegar is more readily available than baking soda or mayonnaise you can use it to remove permanent marker from wood as follow:

Take a clean, dry cloth and pour little vinegar over it. You don’t need to dampen the entire clot, just a spot large enough to wipe off the marker stain. Once you have wet the cloth with vinegar, start rubbing the stain. Continue rubbing until the marker stain is completely removed.

You can also remove sticker for wood using vinegar. Check this step by step tutorial!


Not all wooden surfaces react the same. It is therefore necessary to make a test on a discreet place to be sure not to damage the stain or varnish of your furniture or wooden floor.

If you are willing to take risks, use home remedies such as nail polish remover to tackle the permanent marker. However, the success of these home remedies is only based on the substance acetone. If the product does not contain acetone, you will be out of luck. If you have pure acetone in the house, try gently wiping away the stains with it.

Adrian Tapu

Adrian is a seasoned woodworking with over 15 years of experience. He helps both beginners and professionals expand their skills in areas like furniture making, cabinetry, wood joints, tools and techniques. Through his popular blog, Adrian shares woodworking tips, tutorials and plans related to topics such as wood identification, hand tools, power tools and finishing.

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