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15 Ways To Remove Permanent Marker From Plastics

Many like to mark essential items in the kitchen or office with a sharpie. But, a sharpie stain can be a nuisance. 

Ways To Remove Permanent Marker From Plastics 2

Permanent markers have become a must-have in any domestic household or office. That said, you must have used sharpies to label spice containers in your kitchen cabinet. 

But, what happens when you want a clean plastic surface so you can relabel them? Indeed, you must first remove the existing permanent marker stains. 

On that note, it is best to have some easy cleaning hacks up your sleeve to get rid of any blemishes and streaks. 

And that's where we come in. This article will list 15 methods to clean permanent marker stains from plastic surfaces. So, without further ado, let's begin! 

Ways To Clean Permanent Marker From Plastics 

Unwanted scribble stains on a plastic surface can be a real headache, and to remove them, you will need to use the best cleaning agents. So, before you try and clean that stubborn permanent marker stain off plastic surfaces, it is best to know what cleaning agents are ideal for removing such stains. 

In this section, we've highlighted the best ways to clean permanent marker stains from plastic containers with the help of 15 effective cleaning agents. Take a look at how you can use them: 

1. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is probably the most effective cleaning agent when it comes to getting rid of stubborn stains. It is more potent than many industry-grade cleaning agents that are available on the market. So, if you want to relabel the plastic container, you can rub some alcohol on the existing permanent marker stain.

For effective results, we will suggest pouring some rubbing alcohol solution directly on the plastic surface and letting the market ink soak in the alcohol for a while. Then, use a cotton ball, clean cloth, or paper towel to wipe off the marker stain from the plastic. It will also remove all the remaining residue of the permanent ink stain. 

2. Applying Bathroom Soap

If you do not have any alcohol in the house, you can always go for any good ol’ bathroom soap. Indeed, ordinary bathroom soaps used for washing our hands can efficiently work to remove persistent, permanent marker stains from any plastic surface. 

To do this, you must first apply the soap generously on the stained area and scrub it thoroughly. After you are done scrubbing, rinse the lather off with some warm water. Finally, wipe the container with a clean cloth to check the results. 

If the stain is only partially removed, you can repeat the process until it is thoroughly clean. 

3. Using Vinegar

Vinegar can work wonders when it comes to removing persistent stains. So, head to the kitchen and find a bottle of vinegar to get rid of a stubborn permanent marker stain that has ruined your favorite plastic bowl. White vinegar is the ideal option under such circumstances. 

Also, using baking soda and white vinegar is one of the oldest deep-cleaning tricks to exist in the book. That said, you can sprinkle baking soda on the stained plastic surface and gently pour a small amount of white vinegar on the baking soda. 

Let the mixture sit for a few minutes before wiping it off with a clean paper towel. We promise that the results will surely amaze you. 

4. Applying Baking Soda With Toothpaste 

Although it is a bit unconventional, applying a mixture of toothpaste and baking soda can help remove permanent marker stains from plastic. But, you need to be careful while measuring out the proportions of these two items before preparing the mixture.

Moreover, based on the size of the stain, the amount can also vary. Anyhow, it is best to maintain a ratio of 1:1 for the toothpaste and baking soda. Here, you can use a fork to mix the two items in a cup until it forms a jelly-like texture. 

Apply this paste on the plastic surface generously and scrub it thoroughly using an old toothbrush. If the plastic container has a textured surface, make sure that the mixture covers every nook and cranny of the container. 

Then, let it rest on the plastic surface for a few minutes before washing it off with water and a clean cloth to see the final result. 

5. Rubbing With Magic Eraser Sponge

A magic eraser is specially designed to clean marker ink from all types of surfaces. You can give a quick visit to a local hardware or grocery store to buy a magic sponge eraser. It is best to purchase a magic eraser that doesn't contain any harmful chemical additives.

For the best results, treat the sponge eraser with water or a rubbing alcohol solution before using it on the stained plastic surface. 

All you need to do is rub the marker stain with the eraser for about five to ten minutes. Perhaps, this is the easiest way to remove marker stains as you won't be needing any extra cloth or cotton balls to wipe off the stain. 

6. Using Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is one of the most potent cleaning agents available on the market. It works like magic, especially when you are dealing with stubborn and old marker stains. What’s more, you can easily purchase a bottle of the chemical compound from any nearby pharmaceutical store. 

At the same time, you should get some cotton balls for applying the hydrogen peroxide to the stained plastic surface. As for the actual cleaning process, pour a few drops of peroxide on a cotton ball and wipe the marker stain on the plastic container. This method is effective in cleaning light stains. 

On the other hand, if you want to remove an old and persistent marker stain, it's best to pour some drops of the peroxide directly onto the stain. Then, you can wipe it off with a clean paper towel or washcloth. 

However, you need to be careful while using hydrogen peroxide as your chosen cleaning agent. It is designed to be used on white surfaces as it causes discoloration. So, if you're working with a colored plastic container, it is best to avoid using this method.

7. Applying Glass Cleaner

Commercial glass cleaners like Windex work really well when it comes to cleaning any stained surfaces. Needless to say, you can use this easy DIY cleaning trick for removing permanent marker stains from plastic. Moreover, this method works well against stubborn stains.

It is interesting to note that the ammonia present in Windex is what helps to clean off the unwanted marks. However, ammonia can be a bit harsh on the plastic container, so it is best to dilute the glass cleaner with water before applying it to the plastic surface. 

8. Applying Hairspray

Like rubbing alcohol, hairspray uses the same mechanism to remove unwanted marker stains from a plastic surface. So, if you do not own any rubbing alcohol solution, you can use hairspray to get similar results.

It’s simple, really — spray the product on the stained area and let it rest for a while before wiping it off with a washcloth or a clean paper towel. Here, the acetone present in the hairspray will dissolve the marker ink and remove every inch of the stain. 

However, you can only use hairspray to remove light or fresh stains. Unfortunately, it won't work on old or stubborn marks. 

9. Using WD-40 Lubricant

WD-40 is a widely popular industry-grade lubricant that you can use to grease the sharpie stain so that it comes off easily. Moreover, WD-40 does not contain any toxic chemical additives, so you won't risk causing any damage to the plastic container.

Anyhow, all you have to do is apply the lubricant to the stained area. After the stain is lubricated, you can use a clean washcloth or paper towel to wipe off the product. Once you are satisfied with the cleaning job, lather the stained item with soap and rinse off the excess. 

10. Using Dry Erase Marker

It may sound weird, but you can actually remove permanent markers from plastic by using another marker. A dry-erase marker ink can help in erasing any previous marker stains. You can simply cover the old marker stain with the dry-erase marker. 

Once you're done covering every inch of the marker stain, you wipe it off with a clean paper towel or washcloth when the dry-erase marker ink is still wet. It is best to apply a little bit of pressure while wiping the plastic container. In this way, both the dry erase marker ink and the old permanent marker stain will be removed from the plastic surface. 

11. Applying Nail Polish Remover

You can easily find a small bottle of nail polish remover in your regular makeup kit. This tiny bottle can work like magic in removing both your nail polish and permanent marker from plastic surfaces. The chemical components in a nail polish remover include acetone like in a rubbing alcohol solution, which basically acts on the marker stain. 

You need to gently pour a few drops of nail polish remover on the permanent marker stain. Then, use a paper towel or cotton ball to gently dab the stained surface to soak up any excess liquid. Continue tapping the plastic surface gently until all the nail polish remover is absorbed while the marker stain disappears with it. 

12. Rubbing With Pencil Eraser

If you don't want to use any harsh chemical products for removing marker stains from plastic surfaces, you can always trust a pencil eraser to do the trick. As a pencil eraser does not contain any toxic chemicals, it can act as a safe and effective cleaning agent in this case. 

We're pretty sure you can find a pencil eraser near your study table. So, grab that eraser and start rubbing on the surface of your favorite mug or any other plastic container to clean off that stubborn marker stain. Continuous rubbing of the pencil eraser on the plastic surface will create friction that'll help in removing the marker stain. 

13. Using Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is not only used for treating skin ailments but can also be used as a brilliant stain remover. This essential oil can be used to clean any marker stains from plastic as well as wooden surfaces. The organic chemicals present in the tea tree oil can soften the marker stain, which helps in removing it from any wood or plastic surface. 

You can pour a few drops of the essential oil on a cotton ball and gently rub the stained plastic surface. The stain will start fading gradually with the continuous rubbing of the tea tree oil. Once you're done rubbing the stained area, wipe off the plastic surface using a clean paper towel or washcloth. Repeat the process until you get a desirable outcome. 

14. Applying Dishwashing Liquid

Just like your regular bathroom soap, the dishwashing liquid can very effectively clean off a permanent marker stain from the plastic surface. Moreover, dishwashing liquids do not contain any harsh chemicals and are absolutely safe to use.

You can apply the dishwashing liquid directly to the stained area and scrub it thoroughly with an old toothbrush. Once the scrubbing is done, wash the plastic container with water to rinse off the lather. If you're not satisfied with the result, you can repeat the process until every inch of the marker stain is removed. 

15. Using Hand Sanitizers

Believe it or not, hand sanitizers are very potent in removing permanent markers from plastic surfaces. So, if you have a small bottle of hand sanitizer tucked somewhere in the purse, you can easily use it to clean off stubborn marker stains from a plastic container.

Just like a rubbing alcohol solution and nail polish remover, hand sanitizers also contain small amounts of acetone. The acetone essentially dissolves the marker stain, which makes it easy to remove the stain. You can apply the hand sanitizer directly on the stain and gently rub the plastic surface before wiping it off with a clean cloth. 

Steps To Remove Permanent Marker From Plastics 

Knowing about the right cleaning agents might not be enough if you don't know how to apply them properly to the stained plastic surface. So, in this section, we'll be discussing the steps that you can follow for removing a stubborn permanent marker stain from a plastic container. 

Step 1

First, you have to soak the stain with a cleaning agent. If the stain is light and relatively new, you can use mild cleaning agents, like hand sanitizers or pencil erasers. But, if the stain is old and persistent, you need to go for more potent cleaning agents, such as vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, or rubbing alcohol solution.

Step 2

After applying the cleaning agent to the stained area, let it sit for a while as the stain soaks in the cleaning liquid. You'll notice that the chemicals present in the cleaning agents will slowly dissolve the marker ink. After soaking the stain, you need to scrub it thoroughly using a brush before wiping it off with a clean washcloth or paper towel. 

Step 3

Once you have wiped off the plastic surface, rinse off the container under water to remove any excess cleaning liquid, along with the remaining marker ink residues. If some of the marker stains still persist, you can repeat the entire process until every bit of stain is cleaned off the plastic. 

Things To Keep In Mind 

While removing permanent markers from plastic surfaces can be a pretty simple task, it is best to keep certain things in mind when you are using harsh chemicals. For instance, if you have a colored plastic container, you need to stay away from cleaning agents like alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, which can cause discoloration of the container. 

Furthermore, strong cleaning agents like baking soda and hydrogen peroxide contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to children and pets. So, it is always best to go for non-toxic cleaning agents, such as a pencil eraser, magic sponge eraser, or even nail polish remover.

But, if you want to use stronger cleaning agents to remove old marker stains from plastics, we'll suggest you wear gloves. These harsh chemicals often cause skin irritation and skin burns. So, to avoid such issues, it is best to wear normal latex gloves while working with these cleaning agents. 

A set of multicolor felt-tip pens, multi-colored felt-tip pens on a green background with space for text

Final Words

We understand that removing a permanent marker stain from plastic surfaces can be a bit of a nuisance. After going through the article, we hope you have a better idea regarding the best methods and techniques that you can apply to clean off marker stains easily. 

If you're trying to remove an old and stubborn marker stain, you can use potent cleaning agents such as baking soda with white vinegar or even hydrogen peroxide. However, if you're having a light stain on the plastic surface, you can go for less harsh cleaning agents, like regular bathroom soaps, hand sanitizers, or nail polish removers. 

Additionally, we'll suggest that it is best to take extra precautions if you're using strong chemicals. And on that note, we'll be signing off. Take care, and we will see you next time! 

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