I need to remove permanent marker from hard plastic. How can I do it?

  • What color is the marker and the piece of plastic? What type of plastic? Most Lego pieces are ABS plastic, but I think the clear pieces are something else.
    – dfrevert
    Aug 12, 2014 at 19:55
  • Unless the pieces are somewhat rare or expansive to replace, I suggest just getting new pieces as replacements. Chemicals that remove permanent markers will etch the LEGO pieces, and rubbing the marker away may leave scratches. It usually isn't worth the effort. Jun 8, 2020 at 10:48

9 Answers 9


I use pure Eucalyptus oil. It works wonderfully. Keep in mind that if you are using it on LEGO, it will also remove the original printing (but won't harm the plastic itself), so I wouldn't recommend it in that case. But other than that Eucalyptus oil can remove marker, paint, glue-residue, and all kinds of gunk much better and faster than products like Goo-Gone. I'm an artist and use it on a regular basis. Eucalyptus oil is available in small bottles at health-food stores, larger bottles at pharmacies (that's what I use), and also at some Asian stores (usually the cheapest).


I've used a dry erase marker, over the permanent, to remove it from a white board. I don't know if that'd work on Lego or not.


I know it's not the most cost-effective way, but I used to use gasoline on a rag to remove a lot of markings on plastics of all kinds. It won't warp the plastic when used sparingly on a rag.

The only downside is that it may "smear" the marker, depending on the kind of marker that was used.


Rubbing alcohol has worked for me.


Using something you may already have in your home:

Aerosol hairspray

Spraying this over permanent marker allows the marker to be wiped off, and then you can rinse off the residue in warm water. I've used or seen used this remedy on many types of plastic in my life, but I can't recall if I've used it on LEGO pieces before. I think I did use it on a yellow brick some 12+ years ago, but time makes the details unclear.


Assuming it's regular alcohol based permanent markers, 70% Isopropyl alcohol will wipe it off easily. Coat a swab or wet a tissue, don't apply it directly to the brick - it slightly eats away at the material, but not to the degree where you'll shorten the lifespan of the plastic without repeated cleaning or prolonged exposure.


Dry erase marker works great but often just rubbing it out with a dry paper towel works also.

  • Without reading the existing answer from Grandpappy that also refers to Dry erase markers, I'm not sure what you mean? Aug 13, 2014 at 11:22

Nail polish remover (or purer acetone if you happen to work in a lab) works really well. You can either soak the piece in it (I like to use a small tupperware container) if it is really covered, or wipe it away with a paper towel wetted with the solution.

This works because the sharpie in is a non-polar molecule and thus will dissolve in solvents like acetone. Rubbing alcohol also works like this, but is markedly less effective.


Using nail polish remover works really well. You can soak the piece in a small tub of it or wet a cotton ball down with the solution and rub the piece. The part that was rubbed will be a little rough, but scrubbing it with water for 30 seconds or so will remove it.

  • 4
    I would not recommend this, as nail polish remover is usually acetone which DISSOLVES the ABS plastic Lego pieces are made of. Not quite like the Wicked Witch effect, but it still damages the piece badly. Jun 8, 2020 at 9:04

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