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How to Clean a Dry Erase Board with an Old Marker?

how to clean a dry erase board with old marker

If you use a whiteboard pretty often, then you should learn how to clean a dry-erase board with an old marker. Whiteboards may be quite convenient to use compared to traditional blackboards but they do need a bit of maintenance. This is especially true if the dry-erase board has seen a lot of use.

Dry-erase markers may look like they get erased cleanly every time, but what you do not see is that there are trace amounts of ink left on the surface of the board. Those tiny bits of ink will add up over time.

After a couple of months of continuous use, you will notice the accumulated stains. To make your whiteboard look like new again, here are a couple of cleaning tips you can try.

Using Isopropyl Alcohol

using isopropyl alcohol

What to prepare:

  • Rubbing alcohol – It is best to use isopropyl alcohol, 70% solution is best.
  • Clean rag – You may need 1 or 2 rags depending on the size of the board.

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Douse the rag in alcohol. Pour some isopropyl alcohol into a small bowl. If you have a large whiteboard, you might need quite a bit of alcohol. Around a cup or so of alcohol might suffice. Take your clean rag, bunch it up a bit, and dip it into the alcohol.

Step 2 – Thoroughly rub the whiteboard. You do not need to pre-wipe the whiteboard. The alcohol should be enough. Take the rag dipped in alcohol and proceed to scrub the surface of the whiteboard. If the rag has gotten quite dirty from the ink stains, continue cleaning using a new rag.

Step 3 – Let the board dry completely. Once you are satisfied with how much you cleaned the dry-erase board, you can just leave it to dry. Isopropyl alcohol dries quickly so it will take less than a minute to completely evaporate.

Using Glass Cleaner

using glass cleaner

What to prepare:

  • Window and glass cleaner – You can use whatever brand you like.
  • Clean rags – You may need 1 or 2 rags depending on how big the board is.

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Spray the window and glass cleaner on the board. Take the glass and window cleaner and spray it all over the surface of the dry-erase board. Apply a liberal amount and let it sit on the surface for around a minute to loosen the ink stains.

Step 2 – Wipe the surface of the board with a clean rag. After a minute has passed, take a soft, clean rag and wipe the entire surface of the dry-erase board. Repeat steps 1 and 2 if you are not satisfied with how clean the board is after the first application.

Using Vinegar and Water

remove permanent marker off a whiteboard

What to prepare:

  • White vinegar – You will need 1 teaspoon of vinegar for every cup of water.
  • Water – Prepare just enough to clean the entire whiteboard.
  • A couple of clean rags

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Mix the vinegar solution. As mentioned earlier, you have to mix 1 teaspoon of vinegar with 1 cup of water to make a potent cleaning solution. You can add a bit more vinegar if you want something a bit stronger. You will likely just need a cup of cleaning solution for a large dry-erase board.

Step 2 – Apply the cleaning solution. Dip a clean rag into the cleaning solution. Make sure that it is completely soaked through. Wipe the wet rag all over the surface of the dry-erase board. Scrub the entire surface of the board to loosen the ink stains. Leave the solution to soak on the surface of the board.

Step 3 – Wipe the board clean. After allowing the cleaning solution to soak for a couple of minutes, take a clean rag and wipe the whiteboard dry. If the board is still a bit dirty, repeat step 2 as many times as needed, or until you’re satisfied.

How to Remove Permanent Marker Off a Whiteboard?

dry erase board with an old marker

If you accidentally used a permanent marker on a whiteboard, don’t worry, you can still erase it without worrying about it leaving a trace. Here are a couple of methods that you can use.

Draw over the marks again using the same marker – This might seem counter-intuitive, but the alcohol that is in the ink of the permanent marker will loosen the dried ink on the whiteboard. Wipe the ink right away, though, before it dries or else you will have to deal with a bigger mess than before.

Use isopropyl alcohol or acetone – Take a cotton ball or a small piece of cloth and douse it with enough isopropyl alcohol. After that, wipe it on the permanent ink stain. Rub the stain thoroughly until all the ink is transferred onto the cotton ball.

If the isopropyl alcohol won’t cut it, you can use acetone but use it sparingly. This is especially true if you are dealing with a melamine dry-erase board.


Now that you know how to clean a dry-erase board with an old marker, you don’t have to spend to replace your old board. It’s quite easy to clean and restore old whiteboards, and you can make them look just like new. In addition, you probably already have all the materials you need in your home, so you don’t need to spend money.

With proper care and maintenance, you can be sure that your dry-erase board can provide you with many years’ worth of service

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