How to Remove Permanent Marker From Metal? – 8 Ways

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

how to remove permanent marker from metal

It can be immensely frustrating when you accidentally get permanent markers on metal appliances. Since these marker ink is stubborn, it’s tricky to bring back the clean surface.

However, it is not impossible since there are methods on how to remove permanent marker from metal! With a little elbow grease and the right materials, you can get rid of that permanent marker and restore your metal item to its former glory. Read on to know the steps.

8 Ways to Remove Permanent Marker From Metal

Method 1: Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is an excellent permanent marker removal ingredient that works on most surfaces.

What to Prepare

  • Rubbing Alcohol (91% concentration)
  • Bowl
  • Clean Cloth (Or cotton balls)

Steps to follow

  • Step 1: Prepare a bowl and pour a generous amount of rubbing alcohol into it.
  • Step 2: Take a clean cloth and drench it in the bowl. Do this before the alcohol evaporates.
  • Step 3: Use the saturated cloth to scrub the marker ink off your metal surface. Then, the ink should gradually fade and eventually vanish.

However, please note that we do not recommend using rubbing alcohol to get rid of permanent marker ink from painted metal surfaces as it risks harming the paint colors.

This way is also effective to get a permanent marker from shoes, leather, or rubber.

Method 2: With Nail Polish Remover


Nail polish removers that contain acetone can get Sharpie off of metal for you. If you have it handy, you will just need a bowl, cloth, or cotton pad to complete the procedure.

Here are the steps:

Steps to follow

  • Step 1: Pour a bit of nail polish remover into a bowl.
  • Step 2: Submerge your cloth or cotton pad in the remover.
  • Step 3: Once doused, use the cloth or cotton pad to scrub the marker ink directly.
  • Step 4: The remover evaporates on its own, so you do not need to wipe the treated area after you are done. Just check that the ink is completely gone.

However, like rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover might cause damage or discoloration when it is used to remove permanent markers from painted surfaces.

Method 3: Toothpaste


What to Prepare

  • Toothpaste (non-gel and white)
  • Cloth (2x)
  • Baking Soda (Optional)
  • Toothbrush (Optional)

Here’s how you should use it:

Steps to follow

  • Step 1: Squeeze an ample amount over the stain.
  • Step 2: Use a soft cloth or toothbrush to rub it against the stain in circular motions. Do this until the stain disappears.
  • Step 3: Wipe away any toothpaste left on the treated area. You can use a clean wet cloth. It might take more than one wipe to ensure your metal surface is completely cleaned.

If toothpaste alone cannot get the job done, pair it with baking soda.

You will need to mix the two and make a paste.

Simply add them to a bowl and use a toothbrush to combine them.

Method 4: With Hand Sanitizer


Pick out some hand sanitizer you have in the house and several pieces of clean cloth to quickly clean the mess your kid just made on a metal appliance. It can help you with erasing permanent marker immediately when the stains are fresh.

This cleaning agent works wonders for inked door handles and metal cabinets.

Steps to follow

  • Step 1: Apply hand sanitizer over the stain.
  • Step 2: Use a clean cloth to pat the stain. The marker ink should fade as you pat it. If you need more hand sanitizer during the process, go ahead and add more.
  • Step 3: When the stain is gone, use another clean, wet cloth to wipe the area. Make sure none of the hand sanitizer solutions remains and you are good to go.

Method 5: Dry Erase Marker

There is a non-polar solvent in dry-erase markers, and it has the ability to dissolve permanent marker ink. This method is the same as removing permanent marker ink from white boards, as you should use the ink of the same color with the stain to wipe it off.

Method 6: WD-40


WD-40 is a spray cleaner used for industrial purposes. It can get rid of both sticky stains and ink stains, which include permanent marker ones.

Also, a perk of using WD-40 is that it also safeguards the galvanized metal from rust and corrosion.

Steps to follow

  • Step 1: Shake the WD-40 can and spray it over the metal surface that needs cleaning.
  • Step 2: Let it sit for a bit and work its magic.
  • Step 3: Use a cloth to scrub the stain in circular motions.
  • Step 4: Continue scrubbing until the marker ink is loosened.
  • Step 5: Wipe away marker ink with a paper towel.
  • Step 6: Repeat steps 1 to 3 until the stain is fully gone.
  • Step 7: Use a dry cloth to clean any residue and finish off.

Method 7: With a Magic Eraser

The magic eraser is the most well-known product when it comes to cleaning stains.

With some water and a magic eraser, we can remove metallic Sharpies or Sharpies of any other color from hard surfaces.

For example, you can use a Magic Eraser to get Sharpie off stainless steel and from aluminum.

Steps to follow

  • Step 1: Soak the Magic Erase with water for a few minutes.
  • Step 2: Then, use it to scrub the permanent marker ink. Do this thoroughly until the stain is gone.

However, a downside is that it can sometimes leave scratch marks on a smooth surface. Using it to remove permanent markers from metal lockers, for example, can be risky.

Method 8: With Goo Gone

Goo Gone, best known for removing marker stains from plastic, also works on aluminum.

What to Prepare

  • Goo Gone
  • Cloth (Or paper towel)
  • Soap
  • Water
  • A mask and a pair of rubber gloves

Detailed Steps

Steps to follow

  • Step 1: Wear a mask and gloves, as Goo Gone can cause skin and eye irritation when inhaled, swallowed, or seeped into the skin.
  • Step 2: Apply Goo Gone to the marker ink stain. Or, you can apply Gone Goo to a cloth and use the cloth to dab the ink gently.
  • Step 3: Please wait for 5 to 10 minutes for it to settle.
  • Step 4: Wipe the inky spot with a cloth or paper towel.
  • Step 5: Repeat steps 1 to 3 until the ink has fully faded.
  • Step 6: Clean the treated area once more with soap and water.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Sharpie permanent on metal?

Sharpie on metal will not smudge or smear, and its ink can be made permanent on metal. But if you have not made it permanent and use the methods we mentioned above, you can still remove it from a metal surface.

Can I use WD-40 to remove permanent marker from metal? 

Certainly! As you have read above, it is possible to use WD-40 to erase permanent marker on metal.

Can vinegar get rid of permanent marker on metal?

Vinegar can be used to get rid of the permanent marker from stainless steel, which is, in essence, a collection of iron-based metal. Hence, it is probably safe to suppose that you can use vinegar to take off permanent marker from metal.

However, vinegar alone won’t cut it. You shoulduse it with glass cleaner, dishwasher soap, baking soda, and water.


Now, you know how to remove permanent marker from metal. You can try the mentioned methods to get it off your metal surface. Most rely on household materials and take under ten steps.

You just need to follow our step-by-step guide. If you have any other tips and tricks for getting permanent markers off metal, leave us a comment. Otherwise, share this to help other readers!

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