Did You Leave Permanent Marks on Your Dry Erase Board?

Owning your own dry erase board may be one of the coolest items to ever have. You can use it to teach a class, conduct a training at work, or just de-stress with a couple of drawing sessions. What is amazing is when you do not need the content anymore, you can just erase it all and you practically have a brand new board again! It’s not like paper where after you write or draw on it, it becomes a real hassle to erase it all and start over (I would rather just grab a new sheet of paper).

Although owning a white board may be awesome, there are a few responsibilities that do come with it. For one, the ink from the dry erase markers may sometimes leave a smudge after excessive use. To remove the smudge, you’ll just need a wet towel and it should be come off pretty easily.

But let’s say there are children around and you happen to have a permanent marker lying around. Without realizing, the child can accidentally use that to draw/write on the white board. Or let’s say the child does use the dry erase markers, but forgets to erase it after his session. For both cases, it still leaves behind a permanent marking on your board. Upon seeing, it, you are probably feeling quite frustrated when you are unsuccessful in removing the markings with your eraser. What can you do in this case?

Methods to Remove the “Permanent” Markings

There are a couple of methods you can try to remove the “permanent” ink markings on your white board. The most common ways are the use of these 2 solutions:

  • Alcohol
  • Acetone

These work really well to remove the “permanent” markings off your board. Although they may work well in the short term, you might want to be careful when it comes to long term use. Alcohol will wear out the board making it less shiny with time. Acetone, on the other hand, will wear out the protective film on the white board.

So if these two solutions work well to remove the “permanent” markings but at the cost of damaging the white board, what other method can be used? In fact, there is actually another solution that won’t damage the board and it may be simpler than you think!

The Most Convenient Method

The best and most convenient method to remove the markings off your white board would actually be to use your dry erase markers! It may sound counterproductive since that is the very thing you are trying to remove, so how do you use it to remove those markings?

To remove the dried ink markings from your white board, all you have to do is trace over them with your dry erase markers. Shortly after, you can try wiping it off with either the eraser or a towel. You will notice that it will start to come off. It may require multiple sessions but eventually the “permanent” markings will come off completely. You can also remove the residue that gets built up after with water and a towel (Perhaps a microfiber towel!). Pretty simple!

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How Does It Work

The ink from the dry erase markers are designed to stick to the board and to be easily removed while it is still wet. As soon as it becomes dried, the ability to be easily removed disappears. When the dried “permanent” ink comes into contact with fresh dry erase marker ink, it becomes “renewed” in a sense.

The reason for this is that the dry erase markers contain a small dose of mild alcohol (about 40%) which helps with dissolving and mixing things together. In this case, it starts to dissolve the dried ink (both the sharpie and the dry erase markers) that was stuck to the board. Essentially, the dried ink becomes close enough to the state of the ink that comes straight out of the pen. During this time while the ink is fresh, it can be manipulated around so this would be a good time to wipe away.

Summary

Encountering “permanent” markings on your white board can be quite a shocking feeling. An automatic response may be to try to wipe down the markings with a towel mixed with soap and water but that might not work too well. The next response may be to resort to strong chemicals like alcohol (usually 70%) or acetone, but then that would just end up wearing down the white board.

But the solution to removing the markings is much easier than you had imagined and that was the use of the dry erase markers themselves!

Did you enjoy this life hack on removing permanent markings on your dry erase board? Please leave a comment below!

14 thoughts on “Did You Leave Permanent Marks on Your Dry Erase Board?”

  1. Great article you have here and thank you for sharing such info. That’s some brilliance you have here. Who would have thought that the actual marker would be used to remove the markings. My first option here was alcohol cause its the obvious solvent, thanks for the heads up. Although won’t it be tiresome in cases were the kid was the one drawing around the board?

    Reply
    • Hello there, Volkert! Thank you for your comment! The alcohol we might have been thinking about using is probably 70% or higher which may be too concentrated and damage the white board. Now that I think about it, if you can create a solution that is 40% alcohol with 60% water (to dilute it)…you may be able to get the same result as using the dry erase marker to dissolve the “permanent” marks. I have yet to test it out though. And yes, it can be tiresome if kids were to draw around the board. Would have to take into consideration what substance the surrounding area is made of.

      Reply
  2. Damn Mike, that’s pretty clever!

    I remember working with those erase boards at school. All the teacher loved their boards so much like they were their own. As soon as someone drew with a permanent marker over, you had to run for the hills *lol*

    This life hack is really good. I never knew that drawing over with a dry erase marker can remove permanent marker ink. But as you have explained it, it makes totally sense. I knew that those dry markers have alcohol but connecting it in that way is pretty clever. Did you come up with it by yourself? My remedy has always been perfume or deodorant. Because of its alcohol, it was very easy to remove the permanent marker ink. But unfortunately, you don’t have it always with you.

    Thank you for this tip Mike, it is very helpful

    All the best,

    Sergej

    Reply
    • Hello there, Sergej! I can already picture accidentally writing on the teachers’ whiteboard with a sharpie and having to run for the hills haha. For this particular hack, it was actually suggested by a friend. But with my background in science, I really like to take it a step further and figure out how and why things truly work, not just taking things at face value. This helps me to appreciate life hacks even more. After a certain point, when you gather enough knowledge, it sometimes help you come up with new life hacks which becomes pretty fun, like a hobby.

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  3. This is so brilliant. Who would have thought that the actual marker would be used to remove the markings. My first option would be alcohol cause its the obvious solvent, thanks for the insights. Although, you may be able to get the same result as using the dry erase marker to dissolve the “permanent” marks. I have yet to test it out though. And yes, it can be tiresome if kids were to draw around the board. OneWould have to take into consideration what substance the surrounding area is made of.

    Reply
    • Hello there! Thank you for your comment! Hopefully “permanent” markings on the whiteboard will no longer be an issue for you.

      Reply
  4. This is so brilliant. Who would have thought that the actual marker would be used to remove the markings. My first option would be alcohol cause its the obvious solvent, thanks for the insights. Although, you may be able to get the same result as using the dry erase marker to dissolve the “permanent” marks. I have yet to test it out though. And yes, it can be tiresome if kids were to draw around the board. OneWould have to take into consideration what substance the surrounding area is made

    Reply
  5. What a great hack! We have a whiteboard at work and I’m pretty sure someone has written on it in permanent marker, well the same thing as been written on the board for the last few months anyway! I’m going to see if it is permanent tomorrow and if it is use this hack to fix it!

    Reply
  6. Hi, going back over your permenant markers with a drywipe marker is a genius tip and one which I will definately use next time this happens ( and it happens often). I have spent ages in the past trying to remove permenant marks from whiteboards so im a bit gutted I diddn’t know this before. Very helpful so thank you and I will return for more tips as you have some great ideas on your site. Dan

    Reply
    • Hello there, Dan! Ahh, hopefully this hack will help remove those permanent marker stains in one go, but it may take a couple of sessions. I will definitely post more tips/life hacks!

      Reply
  7. You are a lifesaver! The Expo Low Odor Dry Erase Marker looks perfect for me! I am so frustrated with my whiteboard being stained with my previous writings and no matter how much I scrub, it just won’t come off! I am afraid of using alcohol because as you said, it might be bad for the long run. I would like to give this a try because I wouldn’t want to waste more money on buying a new whiteboard. I love your explanation on the science behind how this product cleans off the stains, really gives me the confidence that you know what you are talking about. 

    Thank you once again for this awesome tip! Hope to see more of this soon and stay safe! 

    Reply
    • Hello there, JoeYoung. Ahh that whiteboard stain can be quite frustrating. Hopefully you can get rid of the stains in one attempt! But if not, a couple of sessions should do the trick. I will definitely be posting more life hacks and you stay safe as well 🙂

      Reply

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