How to Remove Permanent Marker from Plastic

Though it may seem impossible, to remove permanent marker from plastic is not that difficult. All you need to do is to put in some effort and a little bit of patience to get it clean. While it’s easy to clean off the marker paint from the plastic, it’s equally important to be careful with the type of cleaners you use and how much pressure you apply when cleaning your item.

There are many ways to clean permanently marked plastics at home. Some of the most common techniques include rubbing alcohol, vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, toothpaste, and even a magic eraser. In this guide, we will focus on explaining some of the best and most effective methods you can use at home to remove permanent markers from plastics;

Methods to Remove Permanent Marker from Plastic

Method 1: Cleaning Plastic with Water and a Sponge

Cleaning Plastic bottle with Water and Sponge

The first method we will discuss involves using water and a sponge or rag. The idea behind this technique is simple; if you can get some moisture on the surface of the plastic, then you should have no problem getting rid of the ink. 

To do this, fill up a sink full of warm tap water and soak an old cloth in it. Then place the soaked cloth over the area where the mark is made and rub gently until all traces of the ink disappear. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of soaking a cloth, just put a little bit of soap into the water instead. The warm water helps break apart the chemical bonds holding the marker onto the plastic. 

Method 2: Using Vinegar as an Ink Remover

vinegar for remove ink

Another way to remove permanent marker ink from plastic is by using vinegar. Pour about a half cup of white distilled vinegar onto a damp paper towel and let sit on the plastic for at least 10 minutes before wiping away the marks. 

Method 3: Using Alcohol for Marker Removal from Plastics

spraying alcohol for remove marker

If none of these techniques is available for you, you may need to consider trying something else. You can try rubbing alcohol, which is more effective in removing many stains, including permanent marker ink. Just remember to avoid touching the plastic part that had the stain applied to it since you’ll likely transfer the ink back onto the plastic. Instead, wipe down the entire piece of plastic with a soft dry cloth. Once done, rinse the plastic thoroughly under running water.

Method 4: Using Goo Gone Gel for Permanent Marker Removal

Goo Gone Gel on the table

Goo gone gel is another product that works well for removing permanent marker ink from plastic. It’s available online or at most hardware stores. Apply a small amount of the gel directly to the spot where the ink was applied. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, and then carefully wash it off with cold water. Repeat this process several times until the ink disappears completely.

Method 5: Using Rubbing Alcohol 

removing ink from plastic

Rubbing alcohol is one of those things that everyone knows what alcohol does, but very few people know exactly why it works. When appropriately used, rubbing alcohol can help dissolve certain stains like permanent marker ink. All you need to do is take a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol and dab it against the stained area. Be careful, though, because too much-rubbing alcohol can cause burns. After doing this, repeat the procedure several more times until the ink fades away.

Method 6: Using White Wine in Place of Rubbing Alcohol

White wine is another substance that will effectively remove permanent marker ink from your plastic. Take a glass of red or white wine and dip a clean cloth tip into it. Place the cloth on the marked area, wait for 30 seconds and then wipe down gently. Repeat this until the ink fades completely.

Method 7: Using Lemon Juice and Water 

lemon and sponge on hand

Lemon juice mixed with water is another solution to remove permanent marker ink stains from plastics. Pour lemon juice into a bowl and add equal amounts of hot water. Mix and allow the mixture to cool slightly. Dip a wet cloth into the liquid and apply it to the affected area. Allow the cloth to remain there for 15- 20 minutes, and then gently rub the area with a dry cloth. Rinse the cloth after use and store the unused portion in an airtight container for future use.

Method 8: Using Baking Soda and Toothpaste

Baking Soda and water glass on table

Baking soda and toothpaste are a potent combination used in removing stubborn stains. You can use this same technique to remove permanent marker ink on plastic. First, mix 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda with two teaspoons of cornstarch. Then combine this paste with warm water and spread over the mark left behind by the permanent marker pen. Leave it alone for 20 minutes, and then brush off any excess paste with a moistened sponge. Finally, rinse the surface with lukewarm water and pat dry.

Method 9: Using a Dry Eraser Marker 

To use it, draw with it on the marked area, leave it for 10 minutes and gently wipe off the area. The permanent marker should clear with ease. However, if you notice some traces remaining, repeat the process until you get desired results.

Important to Note: Protecting Your New Shiny Plastic Against Further Stainings

Once the plastic is cleaned thoroughly, apply a coat of clear nail varnish over the entire piece. Nail varnishes contain UV-resistant ingredients which prevent future stains from sticking to the plastic. Make sure to allow the paint to dry before storing the item thoroughly.

If you don’t want to cover the whole thing, choose an appropriate size brush and carefully outline your design on the plastic. Afterward, let the paint completely dry before removing the protective coating.

Tips on Removing Ink from Plastic

The best method for removing permanent marker ink stains from plastic will probably depend upon the type of material being cleaned and its condition. If the surface is dirty or damaged, cleaning methods such as soap and warm water are not recommended. Also,  make sure that any chemicals you plan to use are tested and approved by experts.

The following tips might prove helpful when dealing with permanent marker ink removal from plastic surfaces.

  • Use a damp rag instead of paper towels. Paper towels tend to leave streaks behind, while rags absorb moisture better than paper towels. A damp rag is ideal for wiping up spills and other messes too.
  • Wipe rather than a blot. Blotting tends to spread the stain over a larger area, making it harder to get fade. Instead, gently wipe the entire area with a moistened rag.
  • Use a mild detergent. Detergents work great for getting dirt out of clothes, and they are no different in acting against a permanent marker on plastic. Soap and dishwashing liquids are usually safe choices if you want to try something different.
  • To avoid damaging the plastic further, do not scrape the marker off the plastic. Doing so could scratch the finish and ruin its appearance. Also, if possible, wait at least 24 hours between cleaning the plastic and applying another layer of polish. Otherwise, the new coat of polish could become too thick and crack.


Having your favorite plastic covered in a permanent marker that you want to get rid of can be frustrating. Removing the marker can be challenging but not impossible. However, our comprehensive guide makes it easy for you. No matter what kind of situation you find yourself in, we hope our guide helps you solve the problem quickly and effectively.

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