Accidentally grabbed a permanent marker to write on your whiteboard? – Do Not Panic

Remove Marker with Another Marker

I work in the school setting. I ‘accidentally’ used a regular marker instead of a dry erase marker on a dry erase board. Needless to say, the ink would not come off or what I could remove left a horrible smudged stain.

What should I do to remove the rest of the writing and the smudge?

Do Not Panic

Writing on a white board with a permanent marker is common mistake. The good news is that the permanent marker can be easily removed.

Here are Three simple Methods you can use to remove a permanent marker from your whiteboard surface.

Method 1:

Whiteboard Marker:

  1. Take your whiteboard marker and draw over the permanent writing on the whiteboard.
  2. Cover the writing by colouring over the permanent writing.
  3. Take a dry clean cloth or whiteboard eraser and remove the writing off your whiteboard surface.
  4. Repeat this method until the permanent writing is removed.

Method 2:

Cleaning Fluid Method:

  1. Spray Parrot Products cleaning fluid on the permanent writing.
  2. Take a dry clean cloth.
  3. Wipe the permanent writing off the whiteboard.

Method 3:

Aqua Wipe Method:

  1. Rinse a Parrot Products Aqua Wipe.
  2. In water. Wring out excess water until the Aqua Wipe is damp but not wet.
  3. Wipe the permanent marker of your whiteboard surface using the damp Aqua Wipe.
  4. Please note that the Aqua Wipe is not effective in a dry state.

Science Behind It

It all comes down to the basic scientific concepts behind the removal of a substance, which we think are pretty neat.

In order to remove a material from a surface, you either need a physical or chemical means to remove it. An example of a physical way would be scraping off paint from a wall. You are physically removing it. With chemical removal, you first need a solvent.

What is a solvent? When talking about a solution in chemistry, there are two words you need to understand: “solute” and “solvent”. A solute is the substance to be dissolved. A solvent is the substance doing the dissolving.

A great example of this is sugar in iced tea. The sugar is being dissolved– so it’s the solute. The iced tea– really the water in the tea, if you want to get technical–is the solvent. Water is an amazing example of a solvent. In a macro example, water acts as a solvent to erode away the natural world to form rivers and slowly mold the mountains we call home. In a micro example, it acts as a solvent to dissolve sugar crystals and create a homogenous (and quite tasty) glass of tea.

Now that we know what solvents are, it makes sense that a permanent marker can be removed by a solvent. “Permanent” is a bit of a strange term. It just means it can’t be erased or easily removed like a washable marker or pencil. With a solvent like alcohol or acetone, though, permanent marker comes off a smooth surface pretty easily.

How it Works

That’s precisely what a dry erase marker contains: a solvent. Dry erase markers contain “colour pigments, a chemical solvent and a polymer or “release agent.” The chemical solvent is usually made of alcohol, which happens to be a great solvent for the pigments in permanent markers.

To put all this together, the mechanism works like this: the permanent marker is adhered to the board. When you write over it with a dry erase marker, you’re actually adding pigment and solvent to the board. The solvent dissolves the permanent marker underneath and allows each part–dry erase pigment, permanent marker ink, and the solvent–to be wiped away.

It may be difficult to wrap your head around the fact that drawing on top of permanent marker is the best way to remove it, but helpful coincidences like this happen every day. When you’re able to understand the science that’s going on behind the scenes, it all becomes a bit more clear–and sometimes clean.

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