How To Remove Permanent Marker From Wood

How To Remove Permanent Marker From Wood

Raising children is a war and in war there’s sure to be collateral damage. Case in point: this DIY-daddy’s thousand-dollar dining table, which carried the mark of a little devil before it was cleaned off with a nifty household trick. The home improvement experts at Stack Exchange have the answer(s).

Image: Stack Exchange.


I have a three-year-old daughter. I left a black permanent marker out. The rest is history, and it seems to be, well, permanent.


See the image to the right. The top circled area shows one mark. The bottom circle shows what happened when my wife tried to scrub another mark off. Now it’s permanently scuffed.

See here for a full description of the table we’re working with.

Please help!

Tom (originally asked here)

Answer: Use Isopropyl Alcohol (Or Booze)

Permanent marker can often be removed with isopropyl alcohol. First, assuming you still have the markers, try using isopropyl alcohol to remove it from a test surface. If it works, then try on the underside of your table to ensure it does not damage the finish. If it is safe, then go for it.

Comment by a few other ways to remove graffiti.

Answered by Steven

Answer: Power Sand

If your furniture is unsealed, the ink has likely permeated into the grain. In the end, it might come down to getting out the power sander.

Answered by DA01



Accepted Answer: I Figured It Out (Toothpaste)

Thanks everyone! Before I could even read any suggestions, my wife went ahead and tried using toothpaste over the mark and it has removed it well enough. Go figure. I don’t even know where she found that idea, I don’t like taking gambles like that, but it worked. We’ll leave the scuff mark, for now.

Answered by Tom

Think you know how to erase permanent marker from wood? Leave your suggestion in the comments or submit it at Stack Exchange, an expert knowledge exchange on diverse topics from software programming to cycling to scientific scepticism.


  • It’s a fair bit worse if it goes on the end of wood grain rather than the side, as it permeates fairly deep into the piece. I remember doing some woodcraft with pretty bad old wood ages ago back in primary school, and the end had been drawn on. I sanded it out, but took a good 3-4mm off the end of it 😛

  • google oxalic acid and woodwork, I’ve used it years ago on an old table, took the stains right out. might be a usable idea for someone

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