Geek Lifesaver: Remove Sharpie From (Almost) Anything

Whiteboard attacked by DeathstarWe’ve all done it. Scribbled something naughty on the conference room’s whiteboard.

A drawing of the Death Star complete with binder-clip X-Wings, perhaps. With smug satisfaction, you set down the marker and revel in your work – realizing, to your horror, that you’ve overlooked something: that dry-erase marker wasn’t so dry-erase. In fact, it’s quite permanent.

Non-geeks would sign the name of their least-favorite co-worker, but you – you’re smarter than that. With a little bit of luck and some geek ingenuity, your risk of hitting the unemployment line due to sharpie art can be greatly reduced.

Yellow Alert

First – find a dry-erase marker of the same color that you wrote with, though – if you only have black, it’ll still work.

With the dry-erase marker, draw over the sharpie marks – double or triple cover ’em. Erase the dry-erase marker while it’s still setting, and the sharpie should come off. You may have to repeat the process a few times depending on how long the sharpie has had to set. Using a dry-erase marker of the same color will keep the stains to a minimum (and they’ll look more natural).

Repeat the process as many times as necessary. Be sure to look from different angles to make sure you can’t see any trace of the words. If it’s really stuck on, find some alcohol-based hand-sanitizer and some toilet paper or tissues and scrub that board clean. If there’s no hand-sanitizer handy, try coffee.

Red Alert

If your art has thwarted normal methods of cleaning, and you have time, run to the supermarket and grab up four items: a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, toothpaste, orange pumice soap, and car wax. First, try your luck with the Magic Eraser and the hand sanitizer. If that doesn’t work, move on up to the toothpaste and Magic Eraser. Then the orange pumice soap. If all else fails, try the car wax (let it set, then wipe it off).

Bring Me My Brown Pants

Sometimes even the most devout geeks fail miserably, and though we’re not good at it, we sometimes have to resort to caveman tactics. Don’t be afraid to tear that sucker off the wall before anyone knows better, admit your mistake (of using sharpie, not drawing AWESOME art), and “generously” replace the whiteboard.

Good luck – and keep drawing (but check your marker next time).