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I never really thought much about HOW TO REMOVE PERMANENT MARKER FROM BINDERS, but school supplies can be expensive, so when one of my daughters came home from school with her binders on the last day of school, I was dismayed to see permanent marker written over the front of them!

(Has your child come home from school with permanent marker on their binder?)

Since the binders were in otherwise great condition, I tried to find a way to remove the permanent marker from these binders.


Of course, water did nothing to remove the permanent marker.

My daughter’s teacher had suggested hairspray. So I doused the front of the binder with hairspray and… nothing. I tried again, this time letting the hairspray sit for a while. Again nothing.


Frustrated and wanting to get this permanent marker off, I grabbed my trusted lemon essential oil thinking “What have I got to lose?”.

remove permanent marker from binders

With a few drops of the lemon essential oil and a wipe of a paper towel, the permanent marker came right off!

remove permanent marker

I had my friend over when I was doing this and she was in complete shock. She could not believe it, so it made me think that there must be other people out there too who could use this handy tip.

clean binder

Another one of my daughter’s binders came home with sticker residue.  2 drops of the lemon essential oil and a wipe of the paper towel and this binder was as good as new too.

clean binder 2

permanent marker removed

how to remove permanent marker from binders

Have you found any other ways to remove permanent marker? What tips do you have to reuse school supplies from year to year?

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Sunday 4th of March 2018

I have this mini binder that had puffy gold paint stuff drawn all over it, when I scraped that off the best I could (some is being stubborn) I found under it a silver permanent marker. I just happened to have lemon essential oil in the house when I found this post and tried it, and I'm pretty surprised how well the silver came off since it had to have been on there for two decades preserved under the puffy paint, thank you. Unfortunately I discovered under the marker, there it was again written in blue pen ink as well... any tips on how to combat my next layer?

Jody @ Mommy Moment

Monday 5th of March 2018

I am glad to hear that it worked for you! I love how useful Lemon Essential oil is for so many things. As for the blue pen, I have not had to try removing that myself, but some ideas may be Rubbing alcohol, Shaving cream (if the alcohol doesn't remove the ink) and Hairspray (if neither the alcohol nor shaving cream works). Good Luck.


Sunday 21st of August 2016

I have found that using alcohol swabs also removes permanent marker, at least on sneakers!

Darlene W

Thursday 18th of August 2016

awesome, hacks, thank you will pass the info on to my daughter


Saturday 9th of July 2016

Oh wow! VERY good to know

Laurie P

Thursday 7th of July 2016

great to know!

Jody @ Mommy Moment

Thursday 7th of July 2016

Laurie, It works so incredibly well! I am glad it is saving me from having to buy all new binders!