If someone used permanent marker or pen on your whiteboard, you may have to try several methods before the stain is removed. Fortunately, most ink marks can be removed with household products or with ingredients easily obtainable from drug stores.
1. Trace over the permanent ink with a dry erase marker. Choose a black dry erase marker, or the darkest color you own. Cover the permanent ink completely with the dry erase ink, which contains a solvent that may dissolve the stain. Give it a few seconds to dry, then erase with a paper towel or clean white board eraser.
If the white board or eraser are not reasonably clean (apart from the permanent ink), this method may leave smudges. These can be removed with any of the steps described below.
You may repeat this method until the ink stain is fully removed. If you see no sign that the ink is coming off after two attempts, try one of the steps below.
2. If that doesn’t work, try rubbing alcohol. Most inks are made liquid by an alcohol solution. Fill a spray bottle or dampen a cloth with a small amount of 70% isopropyl alcohol or 100% ethyl alcohol. Place the whiteboard in a location with good air flow, and apply the alcohol over the stain. Wipe the board dry with a dry, clean, non-abrasive cloth, using a circular motion to loosen the ink. Rinse the whiteboard with a slightly damp paper towel, then dry with a second towel or cloth.
Warning: pure alcohol is flammable. Keep away from heat and ignition sources.
Plenty of household products contain alcohol and can be used for this purpose. If you don’t have rubbing alcohol, try using hand sanitizer, hair spray, aftershave, or perfume. Avoid products that contain coloring or feel sticky to the touch.
3. Use acetone or nail polish remover if the stain persists. If none of the above methods work, use acetone or nail polish remover, which contains mostly acetone. This is a harsh chemical that creates dangerous, flammable fumes, so always work in an area with good air flow. Apply to the stain with a cloth, rub clean, then rinse the board with water and dry. This may cause damage to whiteboards with a lacquer finish or a wooden frame, but is one of the most effective methods for removing stains.
If acetone gets on your eye, immediately wash your eye under lukewarm, gently flowing water for 15 minutes. Hold your eyelid open and do not stop to remove contact lenses.
Acetone on your skin should be washed off for 5 minutes, but is unlikely to cause harm beyond irritation.
4. Purchase a whiteboard cleaning solution if necessary. Many of these solutions are little more than rubbing alcohol, but much more expensive. If your white board won’t respond to any of the above treatments, purchase a high quality cleaning product recommended by white board manufacturers, such as MB10W Whiteboard Cleaner.
5. Be skeptical of other solutions. Some people report success with an abrasive cleaner such as baking soda, toothpaste, scouring powders, or harsher chemicals. While this may remove the stain, it could also damage the white board surface, making future dry erase ink harder to erase. Many ammonia-based household cleaning products such as Windex are suitable for daily cleaning, but not recommended for heavy application.
While soapy water or white vinegar will remove light stains, they are unlikely to get rid of any marks your dry erase marker cannot.