How to Remove Sharpie from a Toddler and Other Objects

Nesting on 10.31.11
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Photo Credit: Sarah Fernandez

There is nothing quite like having two kids all snuggled up in their pajamas on a cold Sunday evening at 8 p.m., and then hearing the older one yell "Mom, Carolina colored herself with Sharpie!" Sharpies are most wonderful markers when you need to label something or are making a poster, but they are incredibly dangerous in the hands of a two-year-old. Yes, I ask myself why it is that my husband who always has one in his pocket for work insists on throwing it in the basket next to the door that my daughter can reach when he comes home, but also why must she insist on covering every inch of her body with markers when she has access to them? Washable markers I can handle with some wipes, but removing Sharpie is whole different ball game so it was to the internet I went while she hopped into the bath.

While my husband scrubbed her arm with a brush and soap to little avail (although it got the super dark top coat off), I found online that rubbing alcohol was the key ingredient needed to remove Sharpie. I didn't have any, but found a comment that said hand sanitizer would work because the key ingredient in it is alcohol. And sure enough, it took off the bulk of the Sharpie and with much less fuss than the bristles of the brush rubbing against her skin.

sharpie removal from wall
Photo Credit: Sarah Fernandez

As this wasn't her first encounter with a Sharpie, I thought I would take a shot at removing Sharpie marks from other spots around the house. I attacked the kitchen wall and switch plate that she got several months ago with the hand sanitizer, and sure enough it came right off. However, I will warn you that some of the paint came off on the cloth I was using as well. My kitchen walls are dark red and it's not horribly noticeable, but I wouldn't want to have to hit the same spot too many times.

sharpie removal from door
Photo Credit: Sarah Fernandez

I also attempted to get it off the kitchen door and while I was able to get some of it off with the hand sanitizer, it didn't all come off. The same happened with my hardwood floors in the living room. However, those spots had been hit by her at least six months ago so I was quite happy that I was able to get any of it off. You can see why I call her a "markers on the wall" type of kid.

I always hoped I would have a creative child, but I think I will make a special Sharpie holder with padlock for my husband and buy stock in rubbing alcohol. No matter what I do, I'm sure this will not be our last Sharpie incident, but at least now I know how to tackle it head on.

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