How to Revive Alcohol Markers? – 4 Simple Methods

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

how to revive alcohol markers

We all know the frustration: Grabbing a marker to write, and it’s dead. Not even a little bit of ink comes out, no matter how much you shake or press it down against your paper. Luckily, there is a way to revive a dead pen!

In this article, we will show you how to revive alcohol markers. Keep reading to find the step-by-step instructions.

4 Ways to Revive Dried-Out Alcohol-Based Markers

Method 1 – Soak The Tip of The Marker with Rubbing Alcohol


What to Prepare

  • Some rubbing alcohol
  • A small cup
  • Your marker
  • A piece of scrap paper
  1. To undry a marker, prepare some rubbing alcohol in a small cup. You do not need a lot, just enough to dip the tip of your marker in.
  2. Once you have the solution, take your marker and remove the cap.
  3. Vertically submerge the top of the marker into the rubbing alcohol.
  4. Let the tip of the marker sit for 10 mintues and soak until you can see the ink running in the liquid.
  5. Afterward, you can remove the marker, re-cap it, and stand it upright for 24 hours.
  6. Test the marker on a piece of scrap paper to see if it is working again.

If this method did not help you fix dried-out alcohol markers, try the next one.

Method 2 – Drip Rubbing Alcohol into the Ink Barrel of the Marker


This second approach will require you to disassemble your marker, which is a teeny-tiny bit tricky. First, go ahead and gather the necessary materials, which can help revive alcohol-based markers.

What to Prepare

  • Some rubbing alcohol
  • A dropper
  • Two pairs of needle-nose pliers

Once you have everything listed above, proceed to the steps below.

  1. Hold a pair of needle-nose pliers in each hand and grip the dead marker that you want to revive steadily. One plier will hold onto the cap while the other will handle the maker’s body.
  2. Now, with a steady grip on the marker’s cap and body with the two pliers, pull them apart in opposite directions. Apply enough force to separate them. If it is too difficult to remove or is taking too long, turn your hands to twirl them as you pull.
  3. Set the body of the marker to the side. You will focus on the cap’s end next.
  4. Take the dropper that you have prepared at the start to pick up some rubbing alcohol. Fill the dropper up to its maximal capacity.
  5. Hold the cap’s end with the ink barrel facing up and the tip downward in one hand, while the dropper is in your other hand.
  6. Position the dropper over the ink barrel. Keep it close to ease the later steps.
  7. Drip the alcohol slowly into the ink barrel. Continue adding until the ink barrel is filled and cannot hold more alcohol.
  8. Reassemble the marker.
  9. Wait for a few minutes while keeping the marker in a vertical position. The alcohol needs time to go through the marker and reach the tip.
  10. After enough time has passed, test it on a scrap piece of paper. And that’s how you get a marker to work again.

Were you able to make marker work again? No? Do not be discouraged yet! There’s another method.

Method 3 – Inject Rubbing Alcohol into the Tip of the Marker


This is another way to un-dry a marker. It involves just two materials, and the basic idea is that you will refill alcohol markers with alcohol.

What to Prepare

  • Some rubbing alcohol
  • A syringe
  1. Fill the syringe with some alcohol. If you have never used a syringe before, rest assured it is not rocket science.
  2. Once you have a decent amount of rubbing alcohol in the syringe, move the syringe and have it hover over the tip of your marker.
  3. Slowly push into the marker tip to inject the rubbing alcohol. You should do this slowly. It is important that you add just a teeny-tiny bit of rubbing alcohol at a time.
  4. Remove the syringe and check if the ink has returned. If not, feel free to repeat the steps above until the marker works.

Method 4 – Revive dried-out markers with a new refill


This is the last technique you can try to bring a marker back to life unless your marker’s brand offers ink refills. Markers that you can purchase ink refills for include:

  • Copic Markers
  • Holbein Markers
  • Sketchmarker Markers

Common branded markers that are not refillable include:

  • Touch Five Markers
  • Prismacolor Markers
  • Ohuhu Markers

Refilling Copic Markers

Remove the caps of both ends of the marker.

  1. Pull the broad nip from the base of the marker using a tweezer.
  2. Take the Copic ink refill and insert the nozzle into the core of the marker.
  3. Squeeze the ink refill gently to release ink into the marker.
  4. Continue doing this until the marker is filled.
  5. Return the nib to its original position to wrap up the process.

Refilling Holbein Markers

  1. Grab the marker you want to refill and twist off the cap’s end or tip of the marker so that you have the maker’s body barrel only.
  2. Pop open the lid at the top of the body’s barrel with your fingers. You do not need to put in a lot of force.
  3. Take the ink refill and shake it a bit before uncapping.
  4. Insert the nozzle of the ink refill into the opening of your maker’s body barrel.
  5. Squeeze the ink refill gently to release ink into the marker.
  6. Continue squeezing until the marker is almost filled. But do not fill it up all the way.
  7. Put the lid back onto the top of the body’s barrel to close it up.
  8. Reassemble the cap’s end or tip to use the marker again.
  9. Give the marker some shakes before testing it on paper.

Refilling SKETCHMARKER Markers

You can use the same method as Copic markers and Holbein markers for refilling.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Why do alcohol markers dry out?

Alcohol markers, as implied in the name, are alcohol-based. This alcohol content will evaporate if the marker is left uncapped and exposed to the air. It will also eventually dry out, but this is the same for all types of markers.

Alcohol markers tend to dry out faster than water-based markers. So, most people scouring the Internet are not looking to revive water-based markers.

How to keep alcohol markers from drying out?

If you store alcohol markers properly and keep a few tips in mind, you can keep them available for a long time. Here are things you should remember:

  • Always stow the markers in a vertical position.
  • Do not put them under direct sunlight.
  • Keep them somewhere dry and cool, but not humid.

Extra Tip: There are a lot of marker organizers available on the market. Consider getting one or two of these to arrange your markers neatly.

How to get a marker to work again?

You can revive alcohol-based markers using the three methods we have described above. To revive dried-out markers of refillable brands, you just need to buy ink refills, open the alcohol markers and add in the new ink.


Congrats! You have learned how to revive alcohol markers. Try one or all three methods until you can get your marker back up and running. It might take a bit of trial and error when you first open the alcohol markers. But know that the results are worth it. Markers are expensive; you cannot just keep throwing them away!

Share your experience with us in the comments and any other tips you have for dealing with old, dried-out markers.

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