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How to Remove Sharpie from Walls

How to Get Sharpie Off a Wall – Easy Sharpie Removal Tips

Tired of the unsightly Sharpie marks on your walls? Here are simple tips on how to remove Sharpie from walls.

Unless the graffiti on your walls includes an original Picasso or an autograph by Elvis, chances are good that you will want to remove any artwork made with a Sharpie.

Since these handy permanent markers were made to stay stuck, getting the ink off without creating a giant smudge may feel impossible. Luckily, your walls won’t have to feature a tattoo forever, and we’ll show you how to get it off in a snap.

Sunscreen works well to remove Sharpie from walls. Other methods that are safe on painted surfaces include dry-erase markers, WD-40, white toothpaste, baking soda, or Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. Always assess the potential damage to the paintwork before using solvents like acetone or rubbing alcohol.  

Finding a giant Sharpie mark on a pristine wall can feel like a catastrophe. No matter how small it is, like Mona Lisa’s eyes, you will be aware of it no matter where you are in the room.

Take heart. You won’t have to repaint the house or hide the mark behind a giant houseplant. We have discovered a comprehensive Sharpie removal toolkit you can use!

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6 Easy Tips to Removing Sharpie from Walls

Sharpie pens claim to be permanent, but as experienced cleaners know, nothing besides diamonds lasts forever. The real trick to removing ink marks from walls is to get the ink off without damaging the paintwork.

Before we reveal our list of no-fail methods to get any permanent marker marks off walls, it is important to realize that Sharpie ink is more closely related to spray paint than regular pen ink. It, therefore, requires a slightly different approach to remove it.

Becoming properly fixed to any surface relies on the evaporation of chemicals called VOCs. In theory, the faster you can dive in to remove a Sharpie mark, the less effort you will need to succeed.

While wiping marks off your walls immediately sounds like a good idea, it is unlikely that anyone would stand by calmly observing the creation of wall art masterpieces, especially if they were being made with a permanent marker.

By the time you notice the addition of color and texture to your plain walls, chances are that the ink will already be completely set.   

Remember that it is easier to clean glossy painted surfaces than matt finishes, but with some persistence, Sharpie can be successfully lifted from both. Whether a permanent pen mark has been on your wall for two minutes or two years, we have solutions to get it out.  

Since you don’t want to fix one problem while creating another, let’s dive into a list of household products that safely remove Sharpie ink from walls without damaging the paint.

#1. Sunscreen

Someone spraying sunscreen lotion.

Ordinary sunscreen is an unusual but highly effective solution that removes Sharpie ink from walls. This method is an excellent place to start when faced with this challenge because it is ultra gentle on the wall paint.

All you need to do is spray a generous amount of sunscreen over the offending wall tattoo and wipe it off with clean paper towels. You may need to repeat the process a few times to eliminate the pen marks entirely.

Top tip: Hold a clean paper towel under the area while spraying to catch the sunscreen runoff. This method will also gently remove Sharpie from skin.

#2. Dry Erase Markers

We will say right away that although using dry eraser markers is effective, this is only a realistic option for minimalistic, line-style wall artworks.  

Before you start, double-check that the pens you are using are dry-erase markers and you aren’t adding an extra layer of Sharpie ink to your wall. Much like shampoos and conditioner bottles while you are in the shower, permanent pens can look confusingly similar!

Carefully draw over the Sharpie mark using the same color dry-erase marker. Then, use a dry cloth to wipe both marks. This process will need to be repeated a few times.

#3. The WD-40 Trick

Whether you have permanent pen ink on your walls or accidentally used the wrong pen on a whiteboard (who hasn’t been guilty of that?), a few squirts of WD-40 will dissolve the ink and the guilt away.

Simply spray a generous amount of WD-40 over the pen marks. Hold a clean paper towel below to catch the runs. Leave it for a few seconds, and then use a firm circular motion to scrub the wall with a dry cloth.

Take note: Since WD-40 is a lubricant that may leave a greasy-looking patch, you will have to wash the wall with soap and water when the Sharpie mark has been lifted.

#4. Mr. Clean

Someone holding magic eraser.

What a great time to be alive! In 2003, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers revolutionized cleaning and stuck on grunge that would have taken hours to remove, now only requires a few wipes with one of these modern, melamine foam sponges.

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers should be a part of everyone’s household toolkit, as the non-chemical sponges are safe to use on multiple surfaces. If the sharpie marks on your wall are particularly stubborn, team up the magic eraser with a mild household cleaner that is safe to use on paint.

#5. White Toothpaste

Baking soda is an excellent option to lift sharpie marks from almost any surface, but working with a powder agent against a 90-degree wall can be challenging. If you have a tube of white toothpaste, you essentially have the power of baking soda in a handy adhesive form.

Spread the toothpaste over the Sharpie mark. To be more accurate, use a cotton bud to paint thick lines of toothpaste over the offending marks. Let it dry for 5 to 10 minutes before scrubbing the area with a soft cloth to lift the ink off the wall.

Note: Cheap white toothpaste works best to clean walls. Do not use gels or any colored variants.  

#6. Baking Soda

Baking soda.

Baking soda is the go-to natural multipurpose household cleaning agent that seldom disappoints. While it isn’t quite as easy to apply and maneuver a scoop of baking soda across a wall as it is to use toothpaste, it isn’t impossible.

Use a non abrasive kitchen sponge to apply a scoop of dampened baking soda to the sharpie mark. Gently rub it in, being careful not to scrub the paintwork. This may need to be repeated a few times to lift the ink completely.

What Not to Use to Get Sharpie Off a Wall

There is plenty of evidence that solutions like rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, glass cleaners, hairspray, and nail polish remover can remove sharpie ink from just about anything. Unfortunately, these solvents work a little too well on some walls as some are also highly effective paint strippers.

If the offending sharpie marks are on a non-painted surface like tile or laminate, you can confidently use one of these solutions. Testing the solution in an inconspicuous area before scrubbing your wall with a solvent like acetone is a great idea.

When deciding whether you should use a solvent, a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you would also use it on your car’s paintwork. If the answer is no, it may also be too harsh for the paint on your walls.

Final Thoughts on How to Remove Sharpie from Walls

Life happens, and getting sharpie marks off the walls of your home doesn’t have to involve heavy scrubbing or applying wallpaper. Spray sunscreens are gentle on paint and skin and effectively remove permanent pen marks from walls. Other effective agents include dry-erase markers, WD-40, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, white toothpaste, and baking soda.

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