Ever have a week where everything just goes so completely not how you planned? Yeah, that’s been my kind of week. It’s been busy and a bit hectic. The time I planned to spend typing up a Thankful Tree post and a giveaway post were actually spent scrubbing permanent marker off my walls. It’s a good thing my niece is so stinking cute… I just kept thinking about the end of Toy Story 2 where they put Stinky Pete in the backpack in the luggage sorting area at the airport. Can you see it too? He’s picked up from the baggage claim with the bag and an exclamation of “Ooh, Barbie! A big ugly man doll.” Then Barbie slides into the pocket next to him with a greeting, “Ooh, you’ll love Amy…. She’s an artist!” Of course, Amy’s art is all over the side of Barbie’s face. While Little J did color on Baby N in a decidedly Amy-like fashion with a dry erase marker last week (Seriously. You can’t make this stuff up.), he was also the one that alerted the two adults in the room about the new “decor”.
So, how do you get permanent marker off a wall? Well, I have to say I think it depends on the wall. I found a lot of ideas and tried most of them. Let me preface this with the detail that we have ridiculously textured walls. I hate them. I have two perfectly good Cricuts and vinyl won’t stick to the first walls I am not afraid to adhere it to. You’ll see why that’s important in a minute. I hit Pinterest and Google trying to find ideas on how to get this “artwork” off my wall and there was no shortage of ideas. Here’s how it worked out:
1. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and OxyClean. I started with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and some oxyclean. It took the marker on the wall plate off fairly well. But, when I started scrubbing the textured walls, it pretty much tore the eraser to shreds in mere moments and I was basically left scrubbing with little tiny nubby sponges that just kept disintegrating. Eventually, I switched to a toothbrush, but there just wasn’t enough pressure on the head of the brush and it just ruined the bristles. No slipping that one back into the spare toothbrush bag after this, you won’t get away with it, promise.
2. Toothpaste. Specifically, Colgate Whitening toothpaste. I’m not sure it did much of anything, to be honest. Other than cover my wall with minty goop. Nothing like making a bigger mess for yourself to clean up. On the plus side, my family room was minty fresh.
3. Hairspray. This actually worked fairly well. Marker actually came off the wall with this. The problem was the texture of the wall. Even with the toothbrush, I couldn’t get into all the nooks and crannies. I scrubbed with both the toothbrush and a kitchen sponge. The sponge was great for getting it off the flatest parts. The texture of the wall was killer though. The hairspray was probably one of the best removers, when all was said and done.
4. Rubbing Alcohol. I figured since the hairspray worked so well and it’s alcohol-based, maybe rubbing alcohol would work well too. It wasn’t as amazing as I’d hoped and ended up going back to the hairspray. It worked about as well as the OxyClean and magic erasers. And I had to really scrub it. OR maybe my arm was just getting tired and it just seemed like more work?
4. Bleach Pen. Because, at this point, it couldn’t get much worse, right? It did okay, but it’s not where I’d start if my walls suddenly become adorned with permanent toddler art again. It did the most good on the marks we hadn’t scrubbed yet, taking off the stuff on the surface. It didn’t stand a chance on the grooves of the texture though. Next time, I’d just skip this I think. The pro was that there was little damage to the paint.
5. Acetone Nail Polish Remover. This was excellent at removing the marker. I just poured a little on a blue Scotchbrite sponge and went to it. However, it was also fantastic at removing the paint. While it worked incredibly well, I wasn’t about to re-texture my wall, so it was very short lived. I did go back to the wall plate and this quickly removed the faint traces left there.
6. Handsanitizer. This worked well too. At least as good as the hairspray. But I had to use a lot of it. And if I scrubbed too hard, it too removed some of the paint and texture. I used the sponge a squeezed out about a nickel-sized circle on it and then just rubbed it over the ink. It came off fairly easily and removed most of the mark. If I let it sit for a few minutes, it came off better.
So, here’s the before (again):
and the after:
You can still see a few faint areas with marks when the curtains are open and the sun is shining in… otherwise, you’d never notice it unless you were looking for it. So, moral of the story… hairspray and hand sanitizer are the best contenders for removing permanent markers from textured walls. At least in my case they were. I shared this photo on my personal Facebook page and got like 5 people suggesting the magic erasers. Because of the intense texture, these didn’t work for me. But I’ve heard they work well on less textured walls.
One of my cousins is a teacher and suggested a pink eraser. I didn’t try it, but it can’t hurt, right…? What have you used for removing permanent marker from the walls?