May 19, 2022

How to remove permanent marker from wood furniture

Kids do the more difficult things, like writing with a permanent marker on your new wooden table.

Instead of putting stamps on their foreheads and mailing them to Grandma, tackle the stain. Fortunately, you can remove the permanent marker using these common household products: alcohol, toothpaste, and / or hairspray.


TODAY tested each one to see which worked best for removing the permanent marker from a wooden TV tray. Good news! All did the job, removing 98 percent of the marker. Here’s what worked:


Wet a cotton pad with alcohol. Using a blotting motion, work the stain. Rubbing too hard can smudge the ink and create a larger surface to clean. It could also dull the varnish. Repeat as needed using a clean swab.


The best choice here is baking soda toothpaste, as it is mildly abrasive. If you don’t have one, just add a little baking soda to your regular toothpaste. Never use gel toothpaste, however, as it won’t work. Apply a generous amount of toothpaste on a dry cotton pad. Rub lightly following the grain of the wood. Repeat as needed. (TODAY I must have applied the toothpaste several times.)

Spray hairspray

After working the stain with toothpaste and alcohol, there was still some marker left. It was weak but still there. We could have easily removed it with a little more alcohol or toothpaste, but we also tried the hairspray, and it did the trick.

For best results, remove the stain as soon as possible and test each product in an inconspicuous area first.

This article originally appeared on June 22, 2016 on