Sharpie Permanent markers are great for marking our personal stuff to keep wandering hands off them. But there comes a time when you realize that writing little Johnny’s name on the back of his Portable Nintendo DS was maybe not such a good idea now you want to trade it in for the latest must-have toy a Nintendo 3DS.
You have whipped out the good old soapy water and that stubborn sharpie is remaining put. So what do you do now? Don’t worry by following this guide we will show you how to easily remove sharpie from plastic.
Table of Contents
1. What doesn’t Work
There are lots of people that will claim they can magically remove sharpie and other permanent markers with anything from toothpaste to WD40 and even commercial products such as Goo Gone. All of which are great at what they are designed to do but not so good at removing marks from plastic made by a sharpie permanent marker.
2. How a Sharpie Leaves a Permanent Mark
To remove a sharpie marker you first of all need to understand when you are marking plastic and other surfaces with it what is actually happening. Sharpies are primarily alcohol-based markers and contain alcohol which is sometimes mixed with ethylene glycol monobutyl ether and Perchrome ink.
So when you mark a surface with a sharpie the alcohol evaporates over time and the ink dries to leave a permanent mark. You may have noticed that with Sharpie and other alcohol-based permanent markers it may still be possible to smudge it while the ink is still wet as the alcohol dries. It is also possible to rehydrate a dried Sharpie and get a little extra life out of it with a little rubbing alcohol top-up.
Sharpie classifies a permanent marker as one that uses dyes or pigments, adheres to most surfaces and/or is water-resistant. Interestingly enough Sharpies are not truly permanent and will fade over time.
3. How to Remove a Sharpie From Plastic
So hopefully now that you know how a Sharpie or other permanent marker makes it mark it will help to explain why the best way to remove sharpie from plastics is with Isopropyl alcohol which is also known as rubbing alcohol.
Ok I promised a step by step tutorial so here goes it is really easy, but it was important to show you the science behind why this works and why using toothpaste, WD40, etc is a waste of time and effort.
3.1 Step 1 What You Need
Isopropyl or Rubbing Alcohol
It can be bought in different grades ie etc but the higher the grade the better so anything over 90% should be fine.
Cotton Wool Balls
These seem to work best and are readily available although you can use cotton bud tips for more intricate/difficult to reach marked areas.
3.2 Step 2 Method
Simply dab the alcohol onto the cotton wool bud to get it wet and rub the cotton wool over the sharpie mark that you want to remove from the plastic. The alcohol mixes with the dried sharpie ink turning it back into a liquid. This also works on getting ink stains out of clothes.
This allows it to be removed from the surface you may want to repeat it two or three times with fresh cotton wool to get the surface nice and clean.
They say that a picture paints a thousand words, I wonder how many a YouTube video does? I am not sure how many words Brian Fediuk says in his video but he does a great job of demonstrating this method to remove his name from a Nintendo 64 game that was written on it using a Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Marker.
If you have used this method yourself to remove Sharpie or any other permanent marker from a plastic surface. We love to hear how you got on feel free to leave a comment below.