How to Fix Dried Out Dry Erase Markers? – 6 Methods

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

how to fix dried out dry erase markers

Have you ever been in a situation where you are about to have your whiteboard presentation and just found out that your dry erase markers dried out? Worse, you do not have time to buy a replacement at a nearby store!

No worries, because I will give you tips on how to fix dried out dry erase markers. All you need are a few items and several steps, and guaranteed we get a dry erase marker to work.

Ways to Revive a Dry Erase Marker 

Method 1: Warm Water Soaking

Although dry erase markers are not water based, cleaning their tips can work wonders. Let us revive an Expo marker or that of any other brand with just a touch of water. Here’s how.

What You Need

  • Warm water
  • Bowl
  • Apron
  • Tissue paper or paper towel
  • Plier

What To Do

  • Step 1: Wear an apron to avoid stains on your clothes.
  • Step 2: Put warm water in a bowl, and gently pull out the dry erase marker tip with a plier. Cover the tipless marker with its cap.
  • Step 3: Soak the tip in the bowl of warm water for five minutes.
  • Step 4: Once done, get the tip from the bowl and put it on top of a folded paper towel or tissue. Let the paper towel absorb excess water from the wet tip.
  • Step 5: Put the tip back onto the marker while it is still moist.
  • Step 6: Let the pen stand in an upward position until excess water has disappeared, and you’ll have a clear and crisp marker back to life.

Method 2: Tip Injecting


This dry erase marker hack won’t take long to complete. Check out the materials and steps.

What You Need

  • Small Syringe
  • Water or Alcohol

What To Do

  • Step 1: Fill the syringe with water or alcohol.
  • Step 2: Open the pen cap and slowly inject the syringe needle into the marker’s tip.
  • Step 3: Slowly push the syringe plunger to release the water or alcohol.
  • Step 4: Put the cap back once done and let the ink flow to the tip. In just a few minutes, you can make dry erase markers slide smoothly on your whiteboard.

Method 3: Soaking In Alcohol


There is no more effective way to refresh dry erase markers than with alcohol! Why? Simply because dry erase markers are alcohol-based.

What You Need

  • Ethyl or Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Bottle Cap
  • Tissue

What to Do

  • Step 1: Fill the bottle cap with ethyl or isopropyl alcohol.
  • Step 2: Open a dry erase marker cap and soak its tip in the bottle cap.
  • Step 3: Do so until you see that ink starts to bleed in the water.
  • Step 4: Dab the tip with tissue.
  • Step 5: If the tissue absorbs ink from the tip, then your marker is ready for use.

Method 4: Filling The Ink Tube with Alcohol

As I’ve said, alcohol is the best way to fix your dried out marker. Here is another way to restore this pen.

What You Need

  • Apron
  • Alcohol (Isopropyl or Ethyl)
  • Plier
  • Tissue

What to Do

  • Step 1: Wear an apron to avoid staining your clothes with the marker ink.
  • Step 2: Pull out the marker tip using the plier.
  • Step 3: Pour a little amount of alcohol into the ink tube. The alcohol will bring out the pigment, allowing you to write using the marker.
  • Step 4: Return the nib to its proper place using the plier.
  • Step 5: Hold the marker in an upside down position to let the ink flow.
  • Step 6: Wait for a few minutes, and then test if the ink has set in by dabbing the tip onto a piece of tissue paper.
  • Step 7: If the tissue becomes colored, that means you have successfully made the ink run again!

Method 5: Dropping Vinegar


Vinegar is a household must-have. But do you know that it can also help in removing residues from marker tips, making them more receptive to ink? Find out how to fix dried out permanent markers using this acidic liquid here.

What you Need

  • Vinegar
  • Medicine dropper
  • Tissue
  • Small Bowl

What to Do

  • Step 1: Pour a little vinegar into the bowl.
  • Step 2: Fill the dropper with the liquid, at least a few drops of vinegar.
  • Step 3: Squeeze two drops of vinegar onto the tip of the marker. Don’t go overboard, or you might have to buy a pen.
  • Step 4: Let the vinegar set in for two minutes.
  • Step 5: Dry the excess liquid from the tip and see if the marker produces ink. If it does, you have just solved your problem.

Method 6: Adding Ink

If your marker is refillable, the easiest way to make dry erase marker work again is to put in new ink.

What you Need

  • Dry Erase Marker Ink
  • Ink Dropper (usually part of the packaging)
  • Tissue

What to Do

  • Step 1: Buy dry erase marker ink.
  • Step 2: Twist the marker tip and separate the barrel from it.
  • Step 3: Drop ink into the ink tube and a few drops onto the tip.
  • Step 4: Let the ink set in for a few minutes. Make sure to have the tip in a downward position.
  • Step 5: After a minute, touch the tip and see if pigment comes out. If it does, then the problem is solved.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my dry erase marker dried out?

Never leave your markers without a cap. If you do, the pigment will dry and won’t come out smoothly or even at all.

Another reason for dried ink is your marker has exceeded its 2-3 years shelf life. However, you can do any of the suggested steps above to fix a dried out Crayola marker or any brand of similar tools.

How do you bring Expo markers back to life?

Any of the steps above can bring your Expo markers back to life, even new whiteboard marker not working can be fixed by any of the methods given.

Helpful Tips

  • Store the dry erase markers in a cool, dry place. If your Expo markers dry out so quickly that you have to buy new ones frequently, perhaps you’ve exposed them to the sun or freezing temperatures.

Under such conditions, the dye and alcohol may separate. This tip applies to other brands of markers as well.

  • Always replace the cap tightly.


With these simple steps, continue your whiteboard presentation by bringing dried-out markers back to life. If, by chance, you see old dry markers no longer giving you a smooth and clear finish, remember these hacks and use them in your classroom or office!

Remember, for every problem; there is always a solution. So to know how to fix dried out dry erase markers or any relevant issues, check out our articles for answers.

Furthermore, you can discover the difference between wet erase and dry erase markers by checking out here.

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