How to Get Sharpie Off of a Pumpkin? It’s Ridiculously Easy!

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

how to get sharpie off of a pumpkin

If you have ever carved a decorative pumpkin, you will know that visible marks from the starting drawn-on template remain. They can leave an aesthetic eyesore on your hard-earned creation.

So, it is important to know how to get Sharpie off of a pumpkin. Luckily, it is very simple.

The best way to remove permanent markers from pumpkins is by using acetone or nail polish remover. However, there are a couple of other ingredients that you can use as well.

Keep reading to find the methods and detailed instructions.

Ways to Get Permanent Marker Off a Pumpkin

Option 1 - Using Acetone or Nail Polish Remover


Imagine trying to get that marker off of your pumpkin after carving it up for Halloween, only to find that soapy water doesn’t work! Well, we’ve got good news. There is a way to get that marker off without any damage!

You just need some nail polish remover and patience.

Here are the detailed steps to take Sharpie off pumpkins using nail polish remover:

  1. To start, grab your nail polish remover and a scrubby pad. Uncap and pour the nail polish remover on the scrubby pad. Use a moderate amount, as you can always add more later.
  2. Use the scrubby pad on the Sharpie spot in circular motions. Rub gently until the marker ink has faded completely.
  3. After you wash Sharpie off the pumpkin, rinse the pumpkin with cold water and dry it with a towel.

Option 2 - Using Rubbing Alcohol


Another option to get rid of Sharpies on pumpkins is by using some rubbing alcohol and a paper towel. The rubbing alcohol will break down the chemicals in the ink, effectively loosening it and making it easy to be wiped off.

  1. First, dampen a paper towel and use it to go over the pumpkin once, lifting as much ink as possible.
  2. Next, pour some rubbing alcohol onto a cloth. Then, use it to rub the permanent marker off the pumpkin. Make sure to be gentle.
  3. Continue until you have completely cleaned Sharpie off the pumpkin. You can soak the cloth with rubbing alcohol repeatedly throughout the process.
  4. Use a new paper towel to buff the pumpkin dry.

Note: You must get rubbing alcohol. Do not use other forms of alcohol as they will not have the same effect.

Option 3 - Using Hand Sanitizer


Whether you are a teacher looking to spruce up your classroom or a parent trying to keep your child’s artwork clean, hand sanitizer is an essential tool in your arsenal. But did you know that hand sanitizer can also be used to remove Sharpies from pumpkins?

Hand sanitizer is an effective degreaser, and the alcohol contained in hand sanitizer will dissolve most types of marker.

Here are the detailed steps to using hand sanitizer for Sharpie on pumpkins:

  1. Take your hand sanitizer, remove the cap, then squeeze some onto a clean cloth. Saturate the cloth before proceeding to the next step,
  2. Use the cloth to take permanent marker off the pumpkin. Scrub gently in circular motions. Remember that applying too much force can cause damage to the pumpkin.
  3. Keep scrubbing and reapplying hand sanitizer (if necessary) until the marker ink fades.
  4. Once the permanent marker disappears, give your pumpkin a bath. Make sure you rinse thoroughly.

2 Helpful Tips to Keep Up Your Sleeves

Tip 1 – Use Q-Tips for Detailed Cleaning


The Sharpie marks that we deal with on carved pumpkins usually hide in the crevices. When we use a cloth or paper towel to wipe sharpie off pumpkin, the marks are extremely hard to reach. So, a handy tip is to use q-tips.

You can soak the tip of these with nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, or hand sanitizer to get the job done. Getting into the nooks readily with these will help you save a lot of time and effort.

On a side note, make sure you use a clean q-tip each time. Using a dirty one can worsen the state of your pumpkin and give you more work to do.

Tip 2 – Work Bit by Bit

You will be able to get pen off a pumpkin more efficiently by working bit by bit.

Moreover, you will not spread the nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, or hand sanitizer out too much and risk it evaporating before you actually get to it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I have to use bleach to erase the Sharpie on my Halloween pumpkin?

No, you do not have to use bleach at all! All of the approaches that we have outlined above work without bleach. You just need items that are probably already lying around your house. If you do not have them, you can still easily find them at a local drugstore.

Can I use an acetone-free polish remover to clear the Sharpie on my pumpkin?

You can try to. However, a nail polish remover that contains acetone will more likely remove the permanent marker on your pumpkin. This is because the acetone is what dissolves the ink.

If you do not have an acetone nail polish remover at home, head out to the nearest drugstore! It will not cost very much, too.


You now no longer have to ponder about how to get Sharpie off of a pumpkin. As outlined above, you use acetone or nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, or hand sanitizer to remove the permanent marker ink from your pumpkin. Regardless of the ingredient you choose to use, the cleaning process will take less than 10 minutes!

The notable thing is, these agents can do more than just cleaning Sharpie off pumpkin. You can use them to remove markers on some other decorations as well.

Related: 4 Steps to Seal Sharpie on Plastic.

5/5 - (2 votes)

a few words from the author


Hi, I am Eveline Kessler, a content creator. My love for colors and arts draws me here to join the Intermediarts team with Leilani. I am responsible for testing new products and techniques with her and providing honest reviews and tips based on our experience.

Laura Walker


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