How to Get Permanent Marker off Wood?

We all have moments of crisis from time to time. Sometimes we get up from the wrong side of the bed. Nothing goes well, and you suddenly see your permanent marker’s lid off, and it’s all over your desk or, worse, your ukulele. If you have a toddler in your home and keep permanent markers unrestrained, you kind of had it coming.

Sounds something like out of your life? Well, let’s say we have dealt with this mishap first hand too. Your ukulele deserves better than that, and permanent markers can seriously harm its entire aesthetic.

We are not here to make you feel any worse. Today, we will share some tricks and tips out of our sleeves that worked out for us. In this article we will tell you how to get permanent marker stain off the wood. We are hoping one of them will do just the trick for you. Let’s hop on to what you are here for, shall we?

How to Get Permanent Marker off Wood?
Photo credit: The Spruce

1. Use Toothpaste

Who doesn’t have toothpaste at their home, right? Let’s say it can come in use in more ways than just making your teeth sparkling white.

  • Things You Need: Grab white toothpaste with no other substances like crystals that can ruin your ukulele’s surface area and a wet cloth.
  • Keep the ukulele on a flat surface so that your toothpaste does not runoff in the area where it is not affected.
  • Apply enough toothpaste to cover the area and start rubbing it onto the surface with enough pressure for 5 minutes. It should be able to penetrate the permanent marker stain and come off.
  • Grab the wet cloth to wash away the remaining toothpaste from the ukulele.

2. Get Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol lying around your medicine cabinet has a good concentration of alcohol which works well to remove stains.

  • Things You Need: An isopropyl alcohol bottle, a clean, dry piece of cloth, or a cotton swab.
  • Apply some rubbing alcohol onto the piece of cloth or cotton swab and make sure it is evenly wet.
  • Keep the cloth onto your ukulele’s stained area and gently start rubbing it circularly.
  • Keep rubbing until the stain comes off from the ukulele. Apply more if necessary. The permanent marker stain will transfer to the piece of cloth.
  • Wipe the area again with a clean damped cloth, this time if the stain gets off.

3. Try with Nail Polish Remover

Nail polish is a staple in most households and should be in your dressing cabinet.

  • Things You Need: Get an acetone-based nail polish remover only if you think the stain is very stubborn. They are very strong and can harm the polish of your ukulele. If you don’t want that, take an acetone-free nail polish remover, damp clean sponge, and a napkin.
  • Apply the nail polish remover onto the clean napkin.
  • Start rubbing the napkin on the marker stain and keep doing it until the ink transfer.
  • Now clean the surface with the damp sponge but don’t overdo it. The polish can come off.

4. Got Some Hairspray?

If you have frizzy hair or you like to style your hair on most days, you should be familiar with hairspray.

  • Things You Need: An alcohol-based hairspray and clean piece of cloth.
  • Spray a generous amount of hairspray on the permanent marker stain and cover entirely with it.
  • Grab the piece of cloth and start rubbing the area. It should come off instantly if the hairspray is good. Then clean that surface area of your ukulele with a damp napkin.
  • Remember to check if the hairspray has 25-50% alcohol in it. It will work better than way.

5. Get Baking Soda from the Kitchen

Almost all households have baking soda in their kitchen. It is a crucial ingredient for baking, obviously but also in cleaning complex areas just like this.

  • Things You Need: Grab the baking soda packet from your kitchen cabinet, water, and a clean napkin.
  • Create a baking soda paste. Give 2 parts baking soda and 1part water and mix them well.
  • Place the paste on the permanent marker stain on your ukulele and gently rub it in.
  • The stain should come off now, and then wipe off that area with the clean napkin.
  • Beware; don’t rub with intense pressure as it can cause abrasion.

6. Use Melamine Foam

Melamine foam is a foam textured material usually used for insulation in pipes and ductwork. However, it is also known as magic erasers as the cleaning agent in them.

  • Things You Need: Grab melamine foam if you have any at home.
  • Start rubbing it on the permanent marker strain on the ukulele, and it comes straight off.
  • Don’t rub more than you have to; as its cleaning agent can get the polish on your ukulele get off.

7. Grab Your Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a must for every person, but we are not here to teach you about skincare today. Yes, it can help with marker stains too.

  • Things You Need: A sunscreen tube, water, a liquid dishwasher, and a napkin.
  • First of all, clean the ukulele’s surface from any dirt or debris with a liquid dishwasher and water. Don’t cause too much pressure on it.
  • Now apply a thick amount of sunscreen on the ukulele and keep it for a while until it dries.
  • Use a wet napkin and wipe the almost dried sunscreen. The permanent marker stain should be gone from the wood by now.
  • Clean that area of the ukulele with some water now.


That was all the tricks and methods we had in our sleeves to help with your permanent marker stain on the wood. Hopefully, one of the tricks worked, and you are elated. Do let us know which of the tricks was useful. Send this article to that friend who is as messy as you. Have a good day!

You may also like to read: Best Wood for Ukulele.

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