Home Remedy to Remove Permanent Marker From a Dashboard

by Samantha Volz

They're called permanent markers for a reason: stains from permanent markers can be some of the most difficult to remove from surfaces. Plastic and vinyl dashboards are easily susceptible to these dangerous stains. Before you resign yourself to the idea that your car will be stained forever, attempt some of these at-home remedies for removing the permanent marker stain from your dashboard.

Homemade Remedies

There are plenty of items that most people keep in their homes that can remove permanent marker from a dashboard. Rubbing alcohol is one of the most prominent. Nail polish remover or other acetone-based products will also help to break down the stain and remove it from your dashboard surface.

When using cleaners such as alcohol and acetone, apply them carefully to the surface of your dashboard. Don't simply pour alcohol all over the dashboard of your car, for fear of dripping. Also, there are a number of electronic components hidden underneath your dashboard that can be damaged by excessive moisture or application of cleaners. Dip a cotton swab in the cleaner, or wet a cotton ball, so that the cleaner is applied carefully, as too much cleaner can be dangerous.

The end-tip eraser on a pencil is an extremely effective tool for removing permanent marker stains. Simply rub at the marker with the eraser and it will gradually fade. Have multiple erasers and a clean paper towel handy when using this method. The permanent marker will gradually stain the eraser itself, so you will have to wipe it clean or use a different eraser for larger stains.

If the eraser alone is not working, dip it into rubbing alcohol or acetone and continue to rub.

Professional Cleaning Products

A light layer of bleach---applied with a sponge or washrag---can help to break down the permanent marker stain.

Be careful when using abrasive cleaners, such as many "magic eraser" products. These will effectively remove the stain, but can potentially scratch surfaces. If you want to try to use these products, follow all instructions and warnings carefully. Consider testing the cleaner on a spare piece of vinyl or plastic before applying to your dashboard.

Other Tips

For easiest removal, attack the stain with your cleaner as soon as you become aware of it. Wet permanent marker is much easier to clean from a surface than dry permanent marker. Once the stain dries it is bonded with the surface, making it much more difficult to remove.

Before you attempt to remove the permanent marker from your dashboard, wipe the surface down with a damp cloth soaked in warm water and dish detergent. This quick cleaning will remove surface dirt, and may remove some of the permanent marker stain if it has not yet completely dried.

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