How to Remove Permanent Marker from Walls

Walls often seem to be the perfect canvases for children to practice their artistic tendencies. For any parent it can be something of a shock to find that their walls are covered in colourful drawings, but as much as a parent may like the creations, it is normally more important to get those walls clean. The cleaning method often depends on the drawing implement used, but one of the most difficult situations is when it comes to removing permanent marker from walls. (for removing permanent marker stains from leather, read this)

Permanent marker stains can be very difficult to remove.

If it is a permanent marker that has been used on the walls then there is an instance sense of fear, after all permanent markers are designed to be just that, permanent. Despite that though all is not lost and it is possible to remove permanent marker from walls, although it does depend on the wall surface. If the wall is covered in wallpaper then there may be no other real solution other than to remove the wallpaper and then repaper the wall.


For dark-colored wall, removing a permanent marker stain is not possible without taking off some of the wall paint. When that occurs, it usually appears worse than when the marker stain was there. The best resolution is to cover the whole stain instead of removing it. This can be done by covering the permanent marker stains using a stain marker. Get an approximate stain marker color with your wall. You can purchase stain markers in most hobby stores and furniture stores.

Often, the ink from a permanent marker may ruin your walls permanently. In some cases, it may impossible to get rid of permanent marker stains without changing the paint of the walls. However, there are several cases in which the permanent marker stain can be eliminated completely, without leaving any residual stain behind.


There are some other often quoted solutions to removing permanent marker from walls if the damaged walls are painted or acrylic in covering, including the use of toothpaste or hairspray. Below we highlight a few:

When trying any method for removing permanent markers from walls it is essential that the solution is tested on an unobserved area of wall before trying on the main area. Some solutions could damage the wall, and may strip away the paint or other surface of the wall.

The favoured method is to make use of rubbing alcohol, sprayed onto the permanent marker, left to soak for a few seconds and then rubbed off.

The other favoured method for removing permanent marker from walls is to make use of nail polish remover liberally applied to the mark. In most cases the ink can then be wiped off using any normal cloth. It is though important that the nail polish used is an acetone based one, as those nail polish removers designed for artificial nails will not work.

You can make use of toothpaste to remove permanent marker off walls. Apply some plain toothpaste into the stain and then gently scrub off with wet cloth. Do not use gel toothpaste because it usually does not work well with the stain. Go over this process several times until the stain completely moved out.

Another old cleaning solution is baking soda. Make a soda cleaning solution with an equal mixture of baking soda and clean water. Unlike the stain remover and the toothpaste, this solution will require a prolonged amount of scrubbing to remove the permanent stains.



Use a stain remover such as the Magic Eraser that can successfully rid the walls of the toughest permanent marker. (buy magic eraser here) To apply this spongy cleaner efficiently:

  • Wet it slightly and ring out any excess water.
  • Start the cleaning process by pressing the corner of the moistened spongy cleaner against the effected area.
  • Gently rub the stain and make sure the paint of the walls is not being removed.
  • With a gentle touch, the Magic Eraser will take out the marker stain without spreading the stain or damaging the walls.

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Sometimes though it has to be accepted that the permanent marker cannot be removed, and the best that can be achieved is that the mark fades slightly. It could then be a case of moving furniture around the room to cover the mark, or else it might be time to try a bit of redecorating.

Photo by Randy Tarampi on Unsplash