How to Make Dry-Erase Markers Work

How to Make Dry-Erase Markers Work

Realising that your dry-erase marker has stopped working can be super annoying. This is especially the case if you were getting prepared to do an art project or write something on dry-erase boards.

Well, you may be glad to hear that instead of throwing out the marker and waiting for a new set to arrive, you can revive your dry-erase markers

This post takes you through the steps involved in making your dry-erase marker work again. 

Refillable Ink Cartridge

Make sure to check whether your dry-erase marker is refillable. This can provide you with an easier approach to making it work again before trying out the other methods on this list. 

  • Start by unscrewing the marker tip and setting it down.
  • Use a dropper to add a few drops of the new ink to the marker barrel until you fill it up all the way.
  • Test your pen and see if it works.

Needle Nose Pliers

  • Take the marker cap off and use your needle-nosed pliers to hold the chisel tip.
  • Gently pull it all the way out and flip it around 180 degrees.
  • Next, reinsert the nib back into the marker body. 
  • You may want to keep some paper towels underneath to catch any of the remaining ink that spills out.

Rubbing Alcohol

  • Pour isopropyl alcohol into a small bowl.
  • Submerge your marker tip into the solution until the ink begins to run into the alcohol.
  • Once the ink bleeds, remove it, place the marker cap on and leave it vertically with the nib facing down for 15 minutes. 
  • Test the pen to see if the alcohol reactivated the ink. 


  • Fill a bowl with warm water.
  • Remove the marker cap and place the tip into the water.
  • Dunk it for around five seconds and remove the marker before putting the cap back on. 
  • Leave the dry-erase marker to dry for one day before testing it out. 

Nail Polish Remover

  • Pour nail polish remover into a bowl and remove your marker cap.
  • Place the tip in the bowl and leave it to soak in the acetone from the nail polish remover until the ink begins to bleed.
  • Remove the marker and put the cap back on.
  • Leave it in a vertical position for around 15 minutes before testing it.

Also read: How to Revive Alcohol Markers


After reading through our post on ways to revive dry-erase markers, we hope that you’re feeling more confident about the various methods. Some of these methods may work better for reviving dried-out pens than others, depending on your permanent markers and the little extra life that they may or may not have.

Of course, if your dry-erase pens are still dried out, it may be because the ink is totally finished…in which case, you’ll need to buy new ones. 


How can you prevent dried-out dry-erase markers?

Making sure that you put the cap on your pens when they’re not being used is the most effective way to preserve your dry-erase marker ink. Furthermore, it’s best to use your permanent marker on a dry-erase board rather than paper.

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Written By Adam Rushton

Adam has made a name for himself in the illustration industry and is a passionate blogger and writer on the subject of art, illustration and graphic design.

His artwork has been featured in countless publications and used for very well-known media projects. As a professional illustrator for over 20 years, Adams media outlets, a wealth of knowledge, and experience enable him to consult and advise artists and illustrators in this country (from York and Manchester to Southampton and London) and all over the world.