How to Refresh a Permanent Marker

Mackenzie Wright

Permanent markers are usually thrown in the garbage long before they are unusable. While ink reserves often still reside protected inside of the marker, the tip, due to improper storage or excessive use, can dry out. The tip acts like a wick for the ink, but if it is too dry or too wet it cannot properly do its job. If your permanent marker goes dry, try to restore it before disposing of it in the garbage. You might be pleasantly surprised and save yourself the cost of a new one.

Step 1

Get an acidic liquid, such as nail polish remover, vinegar or lemon juice. Pour a small amount, perhaps a tablespoon, into a small disposable paper cup.

Step 2

Dip the tip of the marker in the liquid. Allow a bit to soak in, but don’t saturate it.

Step 3

Place its cover over the marker. Turn it tip-side up and place it in a cup or holder. Let it sit overnight.

Step 4

Try writing with your marker the next day on scrap paper. If the tip is still very wet and the color is coming out light, recover it and allow it to sit a while longer until the tip is dry.

Step 5

When the tip is dry, if there is still ink inside, the marker will work. If the marker doesn’t work, the ink is dried out and there will be no way to restore your marker.