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How Do You Get Magic Marker Off A Hard Surface?

Updated on July 17, 2013

Tips On Removing Magic Marker Ink

How to remove magic marker ink begins with something like this: The kids are at it again! This time they have a magic marker and the tell tale signs are all over the place. There is a wonderful, crooked smiley face on your refrigerator, a lovely line drawing on your kitchen floor, and an attempt at a daisy flower on your grandmother's antique coffee table. All of this in the space of time you took to brush your teeth in the morning!

Now how are you supposed to get that wicked black ink off of these surfaces without ruining the finish or leaving behind an ugly stain?

Depending how deeply the ink soaked in you may not have much of an issue. Magic marker ink is meant to be permanent, but you do not want it on the things you love like that antique table. You would be surprised at how common household products can be used in removing this mess.

Image: M. Burgess - additional images are Amazon or

Magic Markers - Sharpie Pens

Magic markers and Sharpie brand pens are great tools for tagging your personal belongings and tasks like writing the dates on your food storage supplies. The ink is bold and meant to be water-proof and long lasting. These writing pens can be used in artwork and in other craft projects. They will not run or fade. The handy markers come in various widths from needle point fine to bold, broad tips. Celebrities often use them to sign autographs.


Keep out of the reach of small children...

How To Get Magic Marker Off A Refrigerator Door - Image:
How To Get Magic Marker Off A Refrigerator Door - Image:

Removing Ink From An Appliance

Refrigerator Doors, Stoves, Dishwashers

If you have ink on an appliance the simplest way to take that ink mark off is nail polish remover or acetone. If it is a stubborn mark, a damp, soft cloth with a little scouring powder should do the trick.

Where there is texture such as a fridge door you may want to use a soft brush to get in the tiny cracks. Smoother surfaces are easily cleaned and the enamel should not be marred by the scouring powder. If this does not work for you try the other cleaners suggested.

Some refrigerators have vinyl coverings on the door. If this is the case you need to be extremely cautious when using a chemical here. you do not want the chemical to do more damage nor do you want that chemical smell inside your ice box. You can use the scouring powder here but be extremely gentle with it.


Scouring Powders - Abrasive Cleansers

We all have a container of one of these brands under our sink or in the cleaning closet. Using a damp rag and a small spot of this handy cleanser should enable you to remove most stains easily.

Removing Ink From Finished Wood

Furniture, Cabinets, & Dining Room Tables

Wood finish can be marred if you use a scouring pad on it to remove permanent marker ink. For this material I would recommend using a blast of hair spray. Hair spray has strong chemicals in it that will loosen up the magic marker ink and help you remove that unsightly blemish. Keep applying it and wiping it back off until the marker ink is faded.

If this does not do the trick, try out the product, Goo Gone. It works wonders on most stains.

Turpentine wiped on a wood finish should remove the magic marker ink, too, but the odor will linger. Wash it down afterwards with soap and water to remove the chemical. Polish with a good wood polish like Murphy's Oil soap when the stain has lifted.

The last resort is taking the finish down to the bare wood and giving that wood surface a new clear coat. If you do not want to go that far it is time to find a new relic to place on that table where the kids had their art fest!


gas can - Image:
gas can - Image:

Remove Stains

With Gasoline Or Kerosene

I worked in a rental car agency when I was a teen. Sometimes there was road tar stuck to the sides of the car I detailed. My job was to make these cars as squeaky clean as I could get them. We would use a spot of gasoline or kerosene on these stubborn stains. It can be applied to removing magic marker ink but be VERY careful when using gas in any form. Make sure there is no open flame nearby and see that you have plenty of ventilation when applying.


Removing Magic Marker - The List Of Products For Stain Removal

These common household products should remove the magic marker ink on most hard surfaces. If applying any or all of these chemicals to the marker does not work I am afraid you are left with it for the duration of the object that it is on.

  1. Scouring Cleanser
  2. Nail Polish Remover
  3. Acetone
  4. Hair Spray
  5. Goo-Gone
  6. Turpentine
  7. Gasoline
  8. Kerosene

Goo-Gone - The Best Product For Odd Stains

Goo-Gone can remove all sorts of nasty spots. It can work on gum removal, ink stains, and other crazy markings on walls, finishes, and surfaces. Test this out in a hidden spot on your clean up area before you apply it so you can make sure it isn't going to leave it's own stain!

Goo Gone, Two 3oz Bottles
Goo Gone, Two 3oz Bottles

Goo-Gone works like a magic formula on stains and other unwelcome blemishes. It even removes the sticky stuff left behind from scotch tape on surfaces and many, many other uses!


We love our kids and sometimes they just do what kids do. Thankfully, there are remedies when they leave their mark behind them. If you cannot remove that magic marker image your sweet-faced 3 year old left on the table top maybe you can do like my mom did when I signed her coffee table at 4. Smile at that innocent face and realize you have a budding artist on your hands and they just signed their first piece of art!

Thanks for visiting!

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