How To Remove Permanent Marker From Plastic

Heather Robbins
by Heather Robbins

Do you have kids? Perhaps you’ve walked into your room to discover they have found your permanent markers and decided to give your lovely plastic bins a makeover. While it is unsightly, not all hope is lost! So, how do you remove the permanent marker from plastic surfaces?

Color over your permanent marker ink using a dry-erase marker, but do this in a circular fashion. Then, wipe it off with a clean paper towel. You can also try using rubbing alcohol, peroxide, acetone, tea tree oil, hairspray, or toothpaste and baking soda. Wipe the surface clean with a dry towel when done.

Having permanent marker on your plastic surfaces can be annoying! However, the name is misleading as the marker does not mark all surfaces permanently. Below are a few things you can try to remove the Sharpie from your plastic surfaces.

How Do You Remove Permanent Marker From Plastic?

Although many of the techniques in this piece don’t involve harsh chemicals, all these ingredients are effective stain removers. While removing the marker pen can also be removing the plastic’s color and pigment.

If your plastic is white or clear, this won’t be an issue, but if it’s another color, be careful before you begin scrubbing. If you scrub too hard, you can run the coloring off the plastic or dye the surface. This will leave a substantial off-white mark on your surface.

Avoid using any of these stain removers on your clothing; if you do, immediately rinse it off or wash it to avoid any harm.

Things You Will Need:

  • Two cotton pads
  • A microfiber cloth
  • A dry-erase marker
  • One bottle of peroxide
  • One bottle of rubbing alcohol
  • Stain Removal Supplies

How to Remove Permanent Marker Stains from Plastic

Try Some Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a fantastic stain remover in addition to having a wonderful scent. Tea tree oil is a remedy for removing stains and an excellent therapy for any skin condition.

It is used to wash wood stains and helps smooth the skin’s texture. But how do you use it to remove permanent markers from plastic? Easy!

Rub the marker with a Qtip after soaking it in tea tree oil. Then, wipe the area with a paper towel. Repeat this as many times as you need to.

Try Hairspray

Hairspray works well to remove marker stains from plastic, clothing, and skin. The hairspray’s alcohol ingredient causes the pen marks to disappear.

All you have to do is spray the marked area with hair spray and gently scrub the surface. You should begin to see the stains fading. Keep going until all stains are gone.

Color Over The Stain Using Your Dry Erase Marker

Rubbing alcohol, a component of all dry-erase markers, dissolves permanent marker stains.

The marks are lifted and erased by the marker’s tip, which functions like a highly concentrated scrubbing brush.

Remove The Marker With The Microfiber Cloth

After letting the marker sit for a moment, gently wipe it away with a microfiber towel. If you don’t have a microfiber cloth, that’s fine; any cloth will do.

However, the ability of microfiber material to capture tiny particles, such as dry-erase marker smudges, is excellent.

Keep repeating these steps until the marker is completely gone. Even if it doesn’t seem like it will work at first, it will. You may have to do it a few times, but it will eventually budge.

Use Rubbing Alcohol On Stubborn Spots

If there are some leftover stains even after using the rubbing alcohol, you can apply some rubbing alcohol.

You can dip the cotton pads or the corner of your rag in rubbing alcohol. The stuck on ink areas can be gently rubbed off the plastic.

Use Hydrogen Peroxide If Rubbing Alcohol Fails

Try hydrogen peroxide if more rubbing alcohol isn’t having the desired effect. Hydrogen peroxide, which is available at every drugstore, has a wide range of applications, such as bleaching teeth, cleaning stains, removing blood from garments, and destroying mildew.

Then, gently rub the spot with a corner of your microfiber cloth or another cotton pad that has been soaked in hydrogen peroxide. Being quite potent and capable of removing color from fabric, you should refrain from spilling it on your clothing.

Toothpaste and Baking Soda

Baking soda and toothpaste are a tried-and-true combination for removing stains. The toothpaste’s abrasives quickly and effectively remove the discoloration.

All you need to do is combine one baking soda with one toothpaste. Then, dip an old toothbrush in the mixture and scrub the sainted area in a circular pattern.

Once you see the marker start to lift, wipe the area with a clean, dry cloth. The marker should lift easily off the surface of the plastic.


For this one, you may want to wear gloves as prolonged exposure to acetone can dry your skin out, and may even irritate it.

If the area is non-porous, you could remove the marker stains using nail polish remover. Given that it contains acetone, it could change the surface being cleaned’s texture and color.

Pat the stain with a cloth soaked in acetone. If this doesn’t work, try scrubbing the area. However, be aware that the scrubbing will pull off any design on the plastic so if it’s not plain plastic you might want to stick to blotting.

Next, wipe the area with a damp cloth. Keep wiping until you see the marker lift completely from the plastic. Use an absorbent towel to wipe the area clean.

Additional Tips For Removing Permanent Marker From Plastic

Clean The Marker As Soon As Possible

The sooner you take on a stain, the better, just as with laundry. The length of time a permanent marker might or might not stay on plastic depends on a variety of factors, including time, temperature, and exposure to the elements.

Try Vinegar And Baking Soda

If you want to choose more gentle choices, vinegar and baking soda work well as all-purpose cleaners and stain removers. They may be used for everything from cleaning your dishwasher to getting rid of odors from the carpet.

There are many ways to employ a few products you probably have at home if you’re aiming to develop into a better stain fighter. They’ll assist you in removing difficult stains from a variety of materials without the need for a time-consuming trial.

White vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and regular water can all be used to make your own natural carpet cleaner.

What Removes Dried Permanent Markers?

Permanent markers can be removed from everyday fabric objects like shirts, pillows, and bedsheets with rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, hairspray, nail paint remover, or non-gel toothpaste.

Is Sharpie Permanent On Plastic?

Sharpie is typically permanent on plastic. However, it depends on the type of plastic. Some plastics do not soak up the ink, allowing you to remove it from the surface.

What Is The Best For Removing Permanent Markers?

Rub the ink off with a paper towel after pouring rubbing alcohol on it. To get the job done, you can also use a scratchy cleansing cream or hand soap.

One easy-to-follow tip is to dab a cotton ball in milk and apply it to the stain. You can also do this using acetone, peroxide, or rubbing alcohol.

Heather Robbins
Heather Robbins

Heather is a passionate writer who loves anything DIY. Growing up, she learned everything from home repairs to design, and wants to share her tips with you. When she's not writing, she's usually hiking or searching for her next DIY project.

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