How to Remove Dry Erase Marker from the Wall? [Including Expo & Permanent]

It never fails.  We finally get into a groove.  I think my oldest is fine playing with his latest fascination and my youngest is distracted by screen time (hey, it happens!).  I feel confident that I can finally prepare dinner.  I get distracted.  Dinner gets made.  But do you know what else gets made?  A nice, “pretty” picture on the wall by my littlest with the dry erase marker I didn’t realize was within his reach.  As if I didn’t have enough to worry about, now the concern is how to remove dry erase markers from the wall.

The easiest way to remove dry erase markers from the wall is with the use of rubbing alcohol.  Add a bit of rubbing alcohol to a cotton ball, slightly rub the surface, and voila.  I know that not everyone has rubbing alcohol on hand, however, and some people prefer not to use it at all.  Fortunately, there are a few other substances that work almost just as well and they’re probably already under your kitchen sink.

I put together a list of the top ways to remove dry erase markers from the wall, whether you’re cool with rubbing alcohol or not.

What Removes Dry Erase Marker The Easiest?

Dry erase markers are supposed to be some of the easiest marks to remove.  When put on dry erase boards, you can easily use dry products to remove them.  That’s how they earn their name at all!

It’s a different story, however, when the marks appear on a different surface.  When removing dry erase markers from surfaces other than a dry erase board, you want to ensure that you aren’t taking the surface with you.  You otherwise might sooner keep your child’s new work of art before you prefer a hole in your paint.

Paper Towel

Hear me out.  If the art just happened– as in, the marker is still wet– taking a paper towel to the area could be enough to rid of the marks.

Give it a shot if so!

Rubbing Alcohol

I had to include the classic.  Rubbing alcohol is probably the most effective, cleanest way to remove dry erase marker from the wall.  Just a small amount on a cotton ball is plenty to magically rub away the beautiful drawing your little one left for you.

How Do You Get Dry Erase Marker Off a Wall Without Rubbing Alcohol?

Not everyone is a fan of using rubbing alcohol because the scent can be pretty strong.  Thankfully, there are plenty of alternatives for removing your child’s new artwork.

Check out below for the top running alcohol alternatives for getting dry erase markers off the wall.

Mom’s Special Potion

There is absolutely nothing that I have been unable to remove or undo with the use of my favorite potion.  In a spray bottle, mix together warm water, Dawn dish soap, baking soda, and white cleaning vinegar.  Then keep this magic potion under the kitchen sink for 

This special potion is my substitute for a carpet cleaner, stain remover, surface cleaner– you name it.  The soap and baking soda help to lift stains while the vinegar adds a clean touch with a replacement scent (when needed).  I’d absolutely try my special potion before anything else since it’s the most natural combination that I have on hand. 

Dry erase markers are easier to remove than permanent markers since their intent is to be easily removable, even if the surface doesn’t match the writing tool in this instance.

Magic Eraser

You can’t throw magic into the name and not be a match for something as prevalent as dry erase markers.  You can use a Magic Eraser to lessen the amount of dry erase marker on your wall but scrub carefully.  Too much friction can remove the paint from your wall as well.  A scrub just gentle enough will remove the marker while leaving the paint intact. 

Magic Erasers claim that the addition of a cleansing agent is unnecessary since the product contains its own built-in cleansing formula. I’ve found this to be true, but it doesn’t hurt to add a dab of one of the additional options below to further expedite the process.

Hair Spray

Who says I only keep hair spray on hand to make my hair as big as possible?  Call me stuck in the past or just clever, hair spray has a bunch of uses from attacking spiders that surprise me in the corner of the bathroom to, you guessed it, removing dry erase marker from the wall.  

Beware: hair spray is one of the stickier substances.  Bonus:  your wall will smell nice.

Melamine Sponge

Like the Magic Eraser, this handy little tool is specially formulated to create a powerful enough friction that removes excess decorations from the wall without removing the paint at the same time.

Take a melamine sponge to the wall and with soft, circular motions, gently rub the marker to remove.

Office Eraser

That’s right.  That little pink rectangle or the tip of my son’s favorite Halloween pencil is a friend of mine as well.  You want to erase something?  Try an eraser.

I’ve had plenty of success using office and classroom erasers to get dry erase marker off the wall– probably more experience than I’d like to actually admit.  

Crayon is whole other story.


Something about acetone takes nail polish right off your nails.  I’m not sure I want to know why it’s so magical.  All I know is that it’s so powerful, I wasn’t supposed to use it at all while I was pregnant.

Acetone works so well with dry erase marker that there’s some concern for the paint behind it, so don’t use too much.

This one is definitely worth doing a test spot in an unseen area of the wall before committing to a full-blown artwork removal.

Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover

The only difference between acetone-free nail polish remover and its acetone-y predecessor is the intensity at which you’ll have to scrub.  When I use acetone-free nail polish on my toenails, I can always tell right away because, even though it’s getting the job done, it’s slow and messier than when I use the acetone stuff.

You can expect about the same results from using acetone-free nail polish remover to remove dry erase markers from the wall.  You might be saving yourself and your wall some extra chemical exposure but the trade-off is more work needed from you, and a potentially smeary mess left behind.

Stain Remover

Add stain remover to a damp sponge and gently rub the wall in a circular motion to remove dry erase marker.

Tide, Gain — the brand shouldn’t matter.  The make-up of any detergent is usually powerful enough to remove the marker.  However, don’t use bleach!  Bleach will take your paint right off the wall.  Bleach is formulated to remove color, which is why we reserve it for our whites.  While it will remove the marker, you can be sure it’ll take the paint with it.

How Can My Kids Help Remove Marker from the Wall?

For most of the methods listed above, your kids can be little assistants for marker removal.  My oldest is fascinated by the Magic Eraser.  He is so immersed in being a magician who makes marks disappear, he hardly realizes he’s cleaning.

I’d steer clear from encouraging the young ones from using the stronger cleaning agents, but, if your kids are anything like mine, they’re already using baking soda and vinegar to create volcanic experiments on the kitchen table, so your more natural ingredients and materials are the safest bet.


How to Remove Expo Dry Erase Marker from Painted Wall?

When removing any substance from a painted wall, it’s important to test a small area to ensure that the paint doesn’t lift as easily as the marker itself.

In some cases, paint can begin to look faded when a stain of any kind is removed, so it could be helpful to lightly rub a small area of the wall first.  You should be familiar with this process from all the times you dyed your hair in middle school.  Red was never my color, personally, but I kept trying it anyway for some reason.  

In most cases, just the dry erase marker will lift from the wall.

How to Remove Washable Markers from the Wall?

You can’t feature the word “washable” in your marker name and then refuse to come off easily.  For these suckers, just take a damp sponge or washcloth and rub the marks away.  Nothing else needed.

How to Remove Permanent Markers from the Wall?

If the household components mentioned above don’t work for this sort of attempt, you can try rubbing toothpaste on the area as well.

When all else fails, I go for a strong remover that was specifically created with this sort of issue in mind, such as a multi-purpose remover.


If it’s your first time experiencing new, unexpected artwork on the walls, I can reassure you that it probably won’t be your last.  Thankfully, there is an abundance of household products you can use to quickly kiss the drawings goodbye. 

Over time, manufacturers have come to accommodate kids and their tendencies to draw on our walls, but those same companies are plagued with helping us rid of stubborn stains while maintaining convenient grab-and-go means for busy parents and homeowners. 

As a result, some products are too intense for paint.  Others can be used in small increments to get the job done without risking your favorite walls.