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We’ve probably all done it before. You pick up a marker and start writing or doodling on a white board. Everything is going fine until you realize … that marker you thought was made for the whiteboard was actually a Sharpie.
That permanently etches your words or drawing on the white board, right? Well thankfully that permanent marker is not as permanent as you think.
Dry erase markers can be used to “erase” other markers on some objects (such as a whiteboard). Simply color over it with the dry erase marker and then wipe it off with a wet cloth or paper towel.
I used to substitute teach at my son’s elementary school, which completely terrified me because I have really bad social anxiety. Every time I went in I would be really afraid that I was going to mess something up or they were going to ask me a question that I didn’t know the answer to.
Well one day I was frantically writing the daily schedule on the board while trying to take deep breaths to calm down. I was almost done with the schedule and only had a couple minutes before the kids came in, when I made a mistake and tried to erase it. To my horror it wouldn’t erase.
It was at that moment I realized that I had been writing with a Sharpie! The whole entire days’ schedule was permanently on the board, or was it?
Thankfully I remembered my mom telling me just a few months before, how someone at work had made the same mistake and used a dry erase marker to take it off. I didn’t know if it would work or not, especially on such a big area, but I had to give it a shot.
So I scribbled wildly all over the permanent marker and wiped the board with a paper towel. Turns out, it works beautifully! I did have to go over it a few times, but it took everything off.
So if you’ve accidentally used permanent marker on a whiteboard, dry erase markers can easily help you remove that mistake.
You don’t have to frantically scribble all over the board like I did though. The only thing you need to do is trace over your words or drawings with the dryer erase marker and simply wipe it away.
That’s it, super easy!
To see the most popular dry erase markers on the market just click here.
How Does A Dry Erase Marker Remove Permanent Ink?
We’re going to have to get a little science-y to solve this mystery. In order to remove a material from a surface, you need a chemical solvent to remove it.
But what is a solvent? If you look up the dictionary definition it’s a long and confusing answer, but basically a solvent is a molecule that has the ability to dissolve other molecules.
So in this case, the dry erase marker contains a solvent. Dry erase markers contain color pigments, a chemical solvent, and a release agent. The chemical solvent is usually alcohol which just so happens to be a great solvent for the pigments found in permanent markers.
So to put it simply, it works like this:
The permanent marker is attached to the board. When you write over it with a dry erase marker, you’re actually adding pigment and solvent to the board. The solvent dissolves the permanent marker underneath and allows the dry erase pigment, permanent marker ink, and the solvent to be wiped away.
Why Is Your Dry Erase Board Smearing?
What happens if your whiteboard is smearing or not erasing completely? If you are using a felt eraser instead of a microfiber cloth or paper towel, it can be part of the problem. Before trying to erase anything else, clean the felt eraser to remove the marker build up.
If that doesn’t work, you can try going over the smeared section with a fresh dry erase marker and it will generally lift the stain.
Whatever you do, don’t use rubbing alcohol or other harsh chemicals to remove stains.
Alcohol destroys the lubricating layer of your dry erase board. Your whiteboard will look spotless, but after continued use, it will eventually lose the ability to wipe clean.
Instead of using an alcohol-based solution to clean your whiteboard, use a whiteboard cleaner. It removes the stains but it’s also conditioning which means that the board’s outer layer remains in good condition.
What Surfaces Can Dry Erase Markers Be Used On?
Obviously there are tons of ways that you can use dry erase markers on a whiteboard but what about other surfaces?
Dry erase markers work well on mirrors, glass, and generally any other smooth, non-porous surface.
Dry erase markers will not work well on porous surfaces like wood, clothing etc.
Creative Uses For Dry Erase Markers?
When people think of dry erase markers they will typically only think of using them on a dry erase board, but that is far from the only use for them.
Some other creative ways you can use dry erase markers are:
Label Food Storage Containers
I can’t be the only one with this problem: several different food storage containers with leftovers in my fridge and no idea when the food was made. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to throw away leftover food because I wasn’t sure when I cooked it.
But I recently started using dry erase markers to label and put the dates on my leftovers. Now I know exactly when something was made and I throw away a lot less leftovers!
*Before you write on the plastic side of any containers, do a small spot test to make sure the marker wipes off.
Take your standard index cards and transform them into portable dry erase boards by laminating them. You can also use clear packing tape for a cheaper option.
Have a young one learning sight words? Here’s a really great option. Go to the dollar store and buy white plastic party plates, a black permanent marker, and a dry erase marker.
Write a simple three letter sight word in permanent marker on the plate leaving the middle letter blank for your child to fill in with dry erase marker. It’s a fun and easy way for kids to learn their sight words!
Just for fun! For this experiment all you need is a glass plate or container. Take your dry erase marker and draw something easy, like a stick figure.
Slowly pour about half a cup of water on the plate and watch your drawing come to life. The marker releases from the plate and now you have floatable art.
Give your kiddos a straw and they can blow the drawings around for lots of fun!