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How to Revive a Dry Erase Marker?

how to revive a dry erase marker

If you use a lot of dry-erase markers, like if you are a teacher or if you homeschool your kids, then you know just how expensive they can get. However, if you know how to revive dry-erase markers, you won’t ever need to buy them by the box anymore. With this knowledge, you can stretch the usage of every dry-erase marker you have.

This article will teach you a couple of ways to revive a dried (but not empty) maker, allowing you to save a lot of money on office supplies.

Step-by-Step Guide

The steps here will teach you how to revive a dead dry-erase marker but not one that is already empty. This means these will only work on markers that have been kept in storage for too long and almost all the alcohol in their inks has evaporated.

Method 01: Using Plain Water

What to prepare:

  • Old dry-erase markers
  • A bowl of hot water

Step 1: Place hot water in a bowl. In an old bowl, ideally, something that you do not mind getting stained, pour a bit of hot water. Just 1/2-inch or so should be enough. You can use cold water if you want. It is just that hot water works so much faster.

Step 2: Soak the markers. Remove the caps of the markers, and then dip the tips into the water. Let the marker/s sit in the hot water for at least five minutes.

Step 3: Remove the marker/s and allow them to dry. Take the marker/s out of the water and then place them over a clean rag to allow the water to dry a bit.

Step 4: Test and replace the caps. Once most of the water dries, the markers should be good to go again. You should try the markers to check if they have enough ink left. Replace the caps and store them properly.

Method 02: Using Alcohol

What to prepare:

  • A small container – A bottle cap will also suffice.
  • Rubbing alcohol

Step 1: Pour rubbing alcohol into the container. Get your container and pour just enough rubbing alcohol to cover the tip of the marker. About half-an-inch deep should be enough.

Step 2: Soak the marker. Uncap the dry-erase marker and dip the tip into the alcohol. Swirl it a bit until you see the ink seep out of the nib.

Step 3: Remove the marker and let the alcohol dry. Shake off the excess alcohol from the nib and replace the cap. Since dry-erase ink is alcohol-based, the rubbing alcohol should be able to revive the dried ink inside the barrel.

Method 03: Using White Vinegar

using white vinegar revive dry erase marker

What to prepare:

  • A small container – You may also use a bottle cap.
  • A small amount of white vinegar

Step 1: Pour vinegar into the container. You would not be using that much vinegar as it might damage the nib.

Step 2: Quickly dip the marker into the vinegar. Uncap the dry-erase marker and quickly dip the nib into the vinegar. You do not need to let it soak. You just need to wet the nib with a bit of vinegar.

Step 3: Blot the nib. Take a paper towel and blot the nib of the marker until the ink comes out. The acid in the vinegar will loosen up the dried ink in the nib and allow it to flow freely again.

Method 04: Reversing the Nib

What to prepare:

  • Small needle-nose pliers

Step 1: Uncap the marker and remove the nib. Remove the cap of the marker and carefully pull out the nib using a small pair of needle-nose pliers. Be careful not to crush the nib.

Step 2: Replace the nib backward. Turn the nib around and reinsert it back into the marker. The ink remaining inside the marker will loosen the dried ink in the nib and allow it to flow through again.

How to Keep Dry Erase Markers from Drying?

keep dry erase markers from drying

If you want to keep your dry-erase markers from even needing to be revived, you need to take good care of them. Here are some of the ways to make your dry-erase markers last longer.

Keep the caps tight

The most obvious yet still often neglected method is to replace the cap tightly after every use. Even after just writing one line, you should make a habit of putting back the cap on the marker. This will prevent air from getting at the nib and causing the alcohol in the dry-erase ink to evaporate quickly.

Clean the nibs after every use

One of the reasons why dry-erase markers stop writing is that there is a buildup of gunk on the nib. To prevent this from happening, you should wipe the nibs of your dry-erase markers on a paper towel to remove any residue.


If you have a lot of old dry-erase markers lying around, do not throw them away just yet. Now that you know how to revive dry-erase marker, you don’t have to throw out perfectly good markers. This can help you save quite a bit of money in the long run, which is always a good thing.

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