How to Revive Alcohol Markers

Using alcohol markers can be great for taking notes and doing artwork. However, alcohol-based markers tend to run out over time due to how alcohol evaporates faster. It can be annoying when markers dry unexpectedly.

If you’re interested to learn how to bring your alcohol-based markers back to life, read through the steps below. 

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol can be used to disinfect wounds and also revive dried-out markers that have run out of ink.

  • Use a clean syringe to draw the liquid directly from the rubbing alcohol bottle.
  • Inject a small amount of rubbing alcohol into the marker nib to force ink to be reactivated.
  • Try the marker and see if it works. If not, gradually inject more of the alcohol into the pen so that it seeps into the ink inside. 
  • This method is more of a temporary solution. 

Dipping Method

  • Add rubbing alcohol to a small bowl. Take the marker cap off the permanent marker and place the tip down into the alcohol.
  • Leave the tip side to soak up the alcohol for several minutes.
  • You can remove the tip once you see the ink leaking out of the pen. 
  • Put the marker cap on to ensure that the alcohol stays in the nib so that you can go back to using it as normal. 
  • Let the pen sit upright with the tip facing downwards for about a day. You can then test it out on some scrap paper to make sure that it can be used again for writing or drawing. 

The Plier Method

  • Grab two pairs of pliers and hold the marker with one of the pliers on the body and the other on the cap. 
  • Pull them apart so that the cap and the body are separate from each other. Put the marker body on the table and place the tip downwards.
  • Use a syringe to draw in rubbing alcohol and put a few drops into the marker barrel.
  • Once the ink pad is full of alcohol, place the marker back down and put the cap on. 
  • Let it sit for a few minutes before testing it out on paper. 

Ink Refills

If you find that the methods above don’t work as a quick fix, it may be because the marker doesn’t have any ink left to revive. In this case, you’ll want to see if your pen brand has refillable ink.

Higher-end markers, such as Copic and some other brands, offer refillable ink. Alternatively, you may just have to buy some new markers. 

Also read: How to Make Sharpies Work Again


If you’re a huge marker fan, you no longer need to let a dried-out marker stop you. Instead, you can follow the methods mentioned above to revive your permanent markers and bring your alcohol-based ink new life.

As a result, you won’t have to throw out so many markers!

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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.