Need some nifty ways to remove permanent marker from your Mason jars? Besides playing pranks, labeling is probably the best use of permanent markers. Unlike stick-on labels that can be messy to remove, permanent markers offer a simple way to label glass bottles and jars.

before and after using magic eraser

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Whether you need to label pen drives, memory cards or jars, bottles and containers – a permanent marker comes in handy, as it is specially formulated to adhere to surfaces after drying. The problem comes when you either need to change the label or remove the markings entirely.

You may also have a problem if your kid got a little too excited about redoing his windows, or your toddler went on a rampage with a Sharpie in her hands and the mirrors and windows in your house got the brunt of it.

But instead of buying expensive and potentially toxic ink removers, you can use some simple cleaning agents that are handy and cost-effective.

Here are five home remedies to remove permanent marker from glass.

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Method 1: Use Hand Sanitizer

before after using hand sanitizer

A simple hand sanitizer can easily remove permanent marker ink from any glass surface. The formulations of alcohol-based hand sanitizers contain solvents that can dissolve and reactivate the permanent ink so that it’s wet, allowing you to easily wipe the glass surface clean.

If you only have an alcohol-free hand sanitizer, you won’t have much success with this method.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use hand sanitizer to remove permanent marker

  • Hand sanitizer, alcohol-based (contains solvents)
  • Paper towel

Step 1. Cover the permanent ink with hand sanitizer

cover the ink with hand sanitizer

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  • Squirt some hand sanitizer on the glass surface, so that it covers all of the permanent ink.

Step 2. Wipe the ink off with a paper towel

wipe the ink off with a paper towel

  • Wipe away the loosened ink with a paper towel.
  • You may need to rub at the markings a little to entirely remove the ink.

final remove permanent marker with hand sanitizer

Method 2: Use Rubbing Alcohol

before after using rubbing alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol, also called rubbing alcohol, may be the first thing that comes to mind when you need to clean glass surfaces. Being a common solvent for a host of things, rubbing alcohol can be used to clean permanent ink markings off any glass surface. Plus, it will disinfect the glass and cut through other residue and stains, so the glass item looks as good as new.

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Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use rubbing alcohol to remove permanent marker

  • Rubbing alcohol (acts as a solvent)
  • Paper towel

Step 1. Soak a paper towel with rubbing alcohol

soak a paper towel with rubbing alcohol

  • Pour rubbing alcohol liberally onto a folded paper towel.

Step 2. Scrub off the permanent ink

scrub off the ink

  • Scrub at the ink stain with the alcohol-soaked paper towel.
  • A simple swipe should remove the bulk of the ink, but you may need to rub a little to get all of it off.

final remove permanent marker from glass

Method 3: Use a Magic Eraser

before and after using magic eraser

Barring surfaces with a delicate finish, you can use a Magic Eraser to erase stains from nearly anything. You can easily scrub off permanent ink markings on glass surfaces like windows, mirrors, jars and bottles.

Other than its melamine foam structure that works like extremely fine sandpaper, a Magic Eraser also contains cleaning agents that are activated when the sponge is wet with water.

If you have printing on your bottles or Mason jars (such as that shown in the photos below), it’s best to avoid the printed areas as the Magic Eraser may also take them off.

A Magic Eraser should also effectively remove hard water stains from glass jars and pitchers.

Step 1. Wet the Magic Eraser

wet the magic eraser

  • Dunk the Magic Eraser into a bowl of water and gently squeeze out the dripping water.

Step 2. Erase the permanent ink markings

erase the ink marking

  • Simply rub the wet Magic Eraser over the markings until the ink is completely removed.

final remove permanent marker with magic eraser

Method 4: Use Acetone

before and after using acetone

Acetone is a strong solvent that can easily dissolve old permanent marker ink. While it should not be used on wood, skin, cloth or plastic, acetone can be safely used on glass surfaces. If possible, work in a well-ventilated area to avoid the fumes that may act as an irritant.

If you don’t have acetone, you can give acetone-based nail polish a try.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use acetone to remove permanent marker from glass

  • Acetone (acts as a solvent)
  • Paper towel

Step 1. Soak a paper towel with acetone

soak a paper towel with acetone

  • Pour a liberal amount of acetone onto a folded paper towel so that it’s saturated.

Step 2. Wipe off the permanent ink

wipe off the ink

  • Simply wipe the glass surface with the acetone-soaked paper towel to get rid of the permanent marker stains completely.

final remove permanent marker with acetone

Method 5: Use Baking Soda and Toothpaste

before and after using baking soda and toothpaste

If you don’t have what you need to use any of the other methods, a good old scrubbing should also work to remove permanent marker from a glass surface.

Baking soda and toothpaste are not just for brightening up your pearly whites. Using them to scrub off permanent ink markings will help cut back on the need for elbow grease, making the job easy-peasy. Baking soda is an effective abrasive cleaning agent, and toothpaste also contains fine abrasives and cleaning agents.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use baking soda and toothpaste to remove permanent marker from glass

  • Baking soda (abrasive cleaning agent)
  • Toothpaste (abrasive cleaning agent)
  • Old toothbrush
  • Paper towel

Step 1. Make a paste of baking soda and toothpaste

make a paste of baking soda and toothpaste

  • Put some baking soda in a small bowl.
  • Squirt an equal amount of toothpaste into the bowl.
  • Mix the ingredients together.

Step 2. Scrub off the ink markings with the paste

scrub off the ink with the paste

  • Apply the paste over the permanent marker.
  • Use an old toothbrush to scrub off the ink.

Step 3. Wipe the glass surface clean

wipe the surface clean

  • After thoroughly scrubbing off the stains, wipe the mess off the glass with a paper towel.

final remove permanent marker with baking soda and toothpaste

Tips

  • When working with acetone, wear gloves to protect your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin.
  • Alcohol-based baby wipes or hair spray may also work to clean permanent ink off glass surfaces.
  • If you’re cleaning permanent marker off windows that are tinted, safety-coated or made of Plexiglas, test the method in a discreet area before using it to remove the stains.

Summary of How to Remove Permanent Marker from Glass

how to remove permanent marker from glass summary

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