How to Get Permanent Marker Off a Polyurethane Finished Table

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Things You'll Need

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Cloths

  • Non-acetone fingernail polish remover


Use white cloths so you can see the stain transfer to the cloth and so you’ll know when the cleaning solution stops working.

Cap markers when you aren't using them.

Polyurethane is a varnish that protects wood surfaces, including table surfaces, from absorbing water and stains. Though this covering protects tables from stains and liquids, it is vulnerable to staining itself. If your poly-finished wooden table gets marred with permanent markers, remove the stains as soon as possible, before they have a chance to set. Once set, they can be tough to remove.


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Step 1

Soak a clean cloth in rubbing alcohol.

Step 2

Dab the rubbing alcohol over the permanent marker stain until it is gone. Work from the edges of the marker toward the center until it is completely clean, or until the stain no longer transfers from the table onto the cloth.

Step 3

Soak a clean cloth in non-acetone fingernail polish remover. Wring it out so that the cloth is wet, but not soaking.

Step 4

Dab the cloth onto the permanent marker stain. Work from the edges of the stain toward the center. Use as little polish remover as possible to remove the stain, as the chemical can also remove some of the polyurethane coating.


Step 5

Immediately rinse the area with clear water.

Step 6

Dry the area completely.



Kaye Wagner

Kaye Wagner has been working in the fields of journalism and public relations since 2006 and is a recipient of a National Hearst Award. She is particularly interested in home-and-garden projects, as well as beauty and fashion writing. An avid traveler, she also writes travel reviews and guides. Wagner earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brigham Young University.