How to Revive a Dry Erase Marker

How to Revive a Dry Erase Marker

If your dry-erase marker has run out, you may be in a pickle while you wait for the new pack to arrive. Well, no need to worry, there are some methods to reactivate a dried-out dry-erase marker. 

Check out the post below to learn how reviving markers can be easy. You can get more use out of expo dry-erase markers right up until a few drops remain. 

Use Rubbing Alcohol Or Warm Water

Using isopropyl alcohol or water is a fantastic way to revive dried markers and get more ink out of your pens. Start by pouring hot water or rubbing alcohol into a small bowl. Make sure it’s a bowl that doesn’t get used much because it may get stained in the process. 

Remove the cap from your permanent marker and put the tip of the marker into the alcohol/water. The bigger the marker, the longer you should hold it under the water/alcohol. For markers with thin tips, it’s best to hold them under the liquid for just five minutes to give them a little extra life. 

When you soak the marker tips, the alcohol/water moistens the edges that have dried out. This gives some extra life to the marker by activating the remaining ink. You may see the ink drain into the liquid, but this is normal for water-based markers. 

The Tweezer/ Needle-Nose Pliers Method

Take off the marker cap and grab a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers. Use the tweezers to chisel away at the marker tip. You should also remove the ink cartridge of the marker barrel. Turn the chisel tip side around and place the other end back into the head. 

Once you’ve reassembled your dry-erase pens, you’ll find that it has more life than you thought. 


After reading through our tips on reviving a dried-out marker, be sure to implement these methods. You can get more use out of them and continue using them on dry-erase boards for notes or art.

You should know that there is no permanent fix, and there are some cases where the dried-out markers may be completely dead. In other cases, you’ll be able to successfully revive dry erase markers to be used anywhere from a few hours to days. 


How can you prevent dry-erase markers from drying out too quickly?

One of the main things you can do is ensure that you place the caps on the tip every time you’re finished using your permanent markers. Leaving a pen out in the air will dry up the ink faster. 

Furthermore, it’s best to keep your markers in an upright position when you’re not using them. Using a pencil cup or small container to keep your dry-erase markers in an optimal position will ensure that they last longer due to the centrifugal force.

Can you use nail polish remover to fix dried markers?

Nail polish remover that contains acetone can work similarly to the rubbing alcohol method. Take off the cap and dip the tip of the pen into a small amount of nail polish remover. Check on it regularly and carefully pull out the expo marker after a few hours.

You can wrap it in cling film while it dries to retain the added moisture. You can also dab it gently on paper towels and test it on a dry-erase board.

If the felt tip is still dry, you can repeat the process.

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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.