Permanent Marker Removal

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Looking for tips on permanent marker removal? Removing permanent marker from your hardwood floors is simple and fast with the right tools.

Have you ever found permanent marker on your hardwood floors?

I certainly have.

And now you won’t need to worry if you find yourself in the same spot I did. Permanent marker removal is super easy and fast with the right tools.


Put a dab of white toothpaste on the marker.

Then rub like crazy with a damp washcloth or paper towel. (I like to use my microfiber cloth.)

Looking for tips on permanent marker removal? Removing permanent marker from your hardwood floors is simple and fast with the right tools.

And you’re done!

Be sure to pin this post, so you’ll have it when you need it!


  1. Abby

    October 5, 2011 at 11:35 am

    very helpful hint!

  2. LaVonne @ Long Wait

    October 5, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    a very great tip. Thank you so much! I RT this to help others. Blessings!

  3. Desiree @ The 36th Avenue

    October 6, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you Anna, what a fantastic tip! I shared it at my FB page 😉

  4. SoSoBella

    October 6, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    wow. pretty cool.

  5. lauryn

    October 10, 2011 at 3:27 am

    this is so cool!
    i would love for you to link this up to flashback fridays..
    check it out on my blog if you are interested!
    {love} lauryn @ lovenotesbylauryn.blogspot.com

  6. All About Baby Boutique

    October 11, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Thanks for the tip! I'd love to have you follow our blog 🙂 And if you're every interested in guest blogging for us, email me at [email protected].


  7. daqadoodles

    December 14, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Another thing to try is a method we use when someone has been using permanent markers on whiteboards.
    Take the same permanent marker and trace the lines, immediately wiping it off. Together with the new line you will wipe off most of the other line as well. This saves a lot of scrubbing.
    Be sure to wipe the line off before it is dry though! I am not sure how it works on more porous surfaces, but in smooth surfaces it works great. I advise testing (and if you do, let us know the result :)) (bah, brackets and smilies don't go together well.)
    Great blog, been reading it the past few hours with much joy!

  8. Beth @ Aunt B's Kitchen

    May 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Great tip. Thanks for sharing it. I’ve pinned it to my “housekeeping” board.

  9. Judie S.

    May 19, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    I have a permanent marker stain on my oak tabletop, but it’s been there for about a year and a half. Anyone know if it works on old permanent marker stains? My guess is that it doesn’t, but I thought I’d ask anyway.

  10. yolanda

    May 30, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Thank you!! for the tip BLESS you!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Jackie

    July 5, 2012 at 12:39 am

    I just found this on Pinterest, and am off to try it on some drawers that my 7yo attacked when he was 4 – haven’t been able to get it off since. Hoping its not too late!

  12. Pingback: Get Permanent Marker Off Your Wood Floors! | Faile Farm

  13. Laura

    September 6, 2012 at 9:46 am

    I’m curious if this actually works and will give it a try. But, I have to ask, why the area of hardwood in the after picture [w/o the permanent marker] is not the same area of hardwood on the before picture [w/the permanent marker]?

  14. Anna

    September 6, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Hi Laura – definitely give it a try. I hope it works for you.

    As to the pictures of hardwood – I can assure you that it’s the exact same piece of floor. My kids (they won’t admit who) wrote on the floor with a red sharpie. I scrubbed it off with white toothpaste. I took pictures as I went. For real.

  15. Stephanie

    September 6, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    I have used this trick to get permanent marker out of my wood floor, coffee table, and my tv screen. (My son found the junk drawer while I was changing the baby’s diaper. Fun times.) I promise, it does work. You have to make sure it is plain white toothpaste & not the gel kind. 🙂

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  17. Jocelyn

    September 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    What about nail polish? My spouse inherited some hand made wooden tables her grandpa made and her younger niece spilled red nail polish on one of them and we are too scared to try and use something because we are worried it will damage it more. What do I do??

  18. Camilla

    September 17, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    I’ll be dag’gone if that didn’t work like a charm. It took a little elbow grease and my index finger is a little sore. But totally worth it!

  19. Tabi Rexford

    September 26, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Take care while doing all that scrubbing, toothpaste is gritty and this method could remove the urethane finish and leave you with an annoying dull spot on ur floor or dining room table,(etc.) My husband and I install hardwood and laminate flooring and use Sharpies to mark the planks for cutting. We use AXE deodorant spray to remove any unwanted marks. It dissolves the marker and leaves the urethane finish untouched and very shiny.

  20. Amy

    September 27, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    The last photo really is slightly higher. The red mark is still faintly visible at the very bottom of the photo. It’s still pretty good….but not completely gone.

  21. Lynda

    October 8, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Turn the table where the sun shines on the mark. One day you will look and it will be GONE.

  22. Judie S.

    October 8, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Great idea, Lynda. Thanks!! Unfortunately for me, the sun doesn’t get near the window in my dining room; but I am happy that others will benefit from this idea.

  23. wowgirl

    October 14, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    thank you, it worked like a charm . my son had black permanent our wood floor in several places will we made faces on pumpkins. I thought I had to get a bigger rug or get the floor guy in to help me. But all the dark heavy marks went quickly with hardly any scrubbing.

  24. ivy

    October 18, 2012 at 1:20 am

    it works!! thanks so much!

  25. Amber Martin

    October 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Thank you for posting this tip – very helpful!

  26. HouseDad

    October 25, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Awesome Tip! I was almost considering scratching it out and filling with a wax floor pencil. Thank god I found this first. It has been bothering me for some time now, didn’t want to get cray with it, but today was the day. Took like 1 minute tops!. Thanks again.

  27. Kathryn

    December 4, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I tried the toothpaste tip, on my dining table. Unfortunately I was unable to get it to work for me – believe me, I tried very hard with lots of elbow grease included. I wonder if it was because it wasn’t a new mark??

  28. Amanda

    December 10, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Does anyone know if this works on finished surfaces or not? My in laws gave us their oak table and chair set that they got as a wedding gift in 78. My 2 year old decides she was going to have arts and crafts time on it with permanent marker.

  29. claudia

    December 10, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Maybe you need to take a closer look at the flooring…. it is obviously the same flooring and the same spot. Wondering why you would ask this?

  30. Kim

    December 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Great tip from an expert! Thanks. I wonder what is in Axe that makes it come off…and men spray that on themselves, scary!

  31. Jen

    December 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Thank you! My one year old got into a permanent marker the other day when my husband was home alone with them. I panicked when I got home because I was afraid it would never come out due to being left to dry (and make itself at home on our wood floors!). This worked wonderfully! Quick, easy and the floor looks great 🙂 🙂 Thank you, thank you!

  32. Nmheimlich

    January 13, 2013 at 6:18 am

    You a dry erase marker on top of permanent one & it comes right off too

  33. Hardwood Flooring

    February 2, 2013 at 5:20 am

    nice post.thanks for sharing.i like it

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  35. Renee

    April 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Have you tried to scrape it off with a hard plastic spatula, or one of those plastic pot scrapers?

  36. Tammy

    July 30, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    My husband was watching the kids and make the mistake of giving them markers to draw with on the floor. I can’t wait to try toothpaste, who knew it could be so easy!

  37. Aselka

    August 13, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Thank you sooooo much! My little daughter just drew some nice doodles on the floor with a permanent marker and I had to google some advice on how to get rid of the stains. Your advice was the first one I looked up!!!

  38. Romy

    September 26, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Anyone know how to get permanent marker (Sharpie) out of a couch? All I did was go the bathroom and my two year old drew on the couch. When I took it from her she told me she only had to make one more dot. Just one. Ah, no.

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    November 8, 2013 at 1:22 am

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  41. Jhony

    November 18, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Stain from permanent markers are often very difficult to remove.That seems like an easy tip from cleaning experts.The kids often play with marker pens and make he room dirty.Any ways thanks for that tip!Great blog!

  42. Tracy

    November 23, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I just tried this on a couple of areas where my 6 year old was writing with a sharpie on paper on the floor. It came right up with toothpaste! Thanks for the tip.

  43. Lynn

    November 27, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    You just saved a very expensive dining room table! I’ve never replied to a website like this but I had to say thank you! I was shocked at how well this worked. 🙂

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  45. Katie

    January 4, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Just tried this on fresh sharpie, and it took it right off the floors. Thanks!

  46. JJ

    January 27, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Not to worry about the toothpaste being too abrasive for your teeth. Luthiers (violin makers) use a very small amount of toothpaste along with some other mystical ingredients to clean even the most expensive violins. I’ve seen a $1 million dollar violin that I know was cleaned using a toothpaste mixture. Your teeth are worth that, right?

  47. Iliana

    February 10, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    LIFESAVER!!!!! Amazing.

  48. Maah

    February 22, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    i have good results on some surfaces with rubbing alcohol, like plastic file folders and white boards for example, toothpaste should not be used on white boards.

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