How to Remove Permanent Marker from Plastic: 4 Methods


Contrary to its name, permanent marker ink is not entirely permanent – especially if you need to clean it off of a non-paper surface like plastic. When you think about it, it is pretty easy to remove permanent marker from plastic.

In most cases, all you need to do is reactivate the ink with a solvent and then wipe it off with a paper towel. For example, if you ever make the common mistake of labeling your plastic containers with a permanent marker, all you need to do is write over the label with a fresh marker and then rub off both layers of the ink. It can be as simple as that!

before and after using magic eraser to remove permanent marker from plastic

Though sometimes cleaning a plastic container marred with permanent ink may require some elbow grease and a little time, you can also use some common household items to help remove the permanent ink.

Such handy techniques get the work done easily without you having to spend those extra bucks to buy a whole set of new plastic containers.

Here are four natural, safe, tried-and-true cleaning methods to remove permanent marker from plastic.

Method 1: Use Rubbing Alcohol

before and after using rubbing alcohol to remove permanent marker from plastic

Rubbing alcohol is one of the most effective techniques when it comes to removing permanent marker ink from plastic. It acts as an effective solvent to reactivate the ink, which makes it easy to wipe it off.

Rubbing alcohol is also effective in removing permanent ink from carpets and clothing.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for using rubbing alcohol to remove permanent marker from plastic

  • Rubbing alcohol (acts as solvent)
  • Rag

Step 1. Soak a rag with rubbing alcohol

soak a rag with rubbing alcohol

  • Pour a generous amount of rubbing alcohol over a rag or piece of cloth, completely soaking it.

Step 2. Use it to wipe off the marker ink

use rubbing alcohol soaked rag to wipe off the marker ink

  • Wipe at the permanent marker stain with the soaked rag.
  • Use repeated gentle actions to get the stain off completely.

final using rubbing alcohol to remove permanent marker from plastic

Method 2: Use a Magic Eraser

before and after using magic eraser to remove permanent marker from plastic

As the name suggests, a Magic Eraser (or any generic melamine foam eraser) works like magic to clean many things, including getting permanent marker ink off of plastic.

 Step 1. Saturate one end of a Magic Eraser with water

soak magic eraser with water

  • Soak one end of a Magic Eraser in water.

Step 2. Rub off the ink marking with the damp eraser

rub off the permanent ink with damp eraser

  • Using gentle pressure, scrub at the permanent ink stain with the damp Magic Eraser.
  • Continue rubbing until the ink is completely gone.

final using magic eraser to remove permanent marker from plastic

Method 3: Use a Dry-Erase Marker

before and afterfor using dry-erase marker to remove permanent marker from plastic

Using a dry-erase marker is another effective technique for removing permanent marker ink from plastic. Dry-erase marker ink is constituted with solvents that reactivate the old ink, so you can wipe it off easily.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for using dry-erase marker to remove permanent marker from plastic

  • Dry-erase marker (reactivates old ink)
  • Paper towels

Step 1. Cover the old ink with fresh marker ink

cover old ink with fresh marker ink

  • Scribble over the old permanent ink markings with a dry-erase marker.
  • Cover the old ink completely with fresh ink.

Step 2. Wipe the area clean with paper towels

wipe clean with paper towels

  • Before the fresh ink dries, wipe the markings off with paper towels.
  • Both inks – the old and the new – will come off easily, leaving the plastic container spot-free.

final using dry-erase marker to remove permanent marker from plastic

Method 4: Use Hand Sanitizer

before and after using hand sanitizer to remove permanent marker from plastic

Using a hand sanitizer is another go-to technique to remove permanent marker ink from plastic. Hand sanitizers contain alcohol, which makes them effective against permanent ink marks on plastic.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for using hand sanitizer to remove permanent marker from plastic

  • Hand sanitizer (acts as solvent)
  • Paper towels

Step 1. Cover the stain with hand sanitizer

cover the stain with hand sanitizer

  • Squirt some hand sanitizer over the permanent ink marking, covering it completely.

Step 2. Wipe the stain off with paper towels

wipe off the stain with paper towels

  • Rub at the reactivated ink with paper towels to get rid of the permanent marker stain.
  • Rub lightly until all the ink is removed.

final using hand sanitizer to remove permanent marker from plastic

Tips

  • Keep the cleaning agents out of the reach of children.
  • If a solvent irritates your skin, wash your hands immediately with an ample amount of water.
  • You can use cotton balls instead of paper towels or rags, but the lint from the cotton balls often makes a mess.

Summary of How to Remove Permanent Marker from Plastic

how to remove permanent marker from plastic

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