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How to Fix Dried Out Dry Erase Markers (Easy Methods)

how to fix dried out dry erase markers

I am about to write a remarkable document that will change the course of my life. But when I slid the marker across the paper, it only made a scratching sound. There was no ink; it has dried out. Does that sound familiar? Well, here are five easy methods on how to fix dried out dry erase markers.

Utilizing Water

Although dry erase marker ink is not water-soluble, water still works in getting it flowing again. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Pour hot water in a container you don’t mind getting stained. Though either hot or cold water works, the warmer the water, the faster it works. Hot water diffuses the ink faster; it gives quicker results.

Step 2: Put the dry erase marker tip first into the bowl and let it sit for around 5 minutes.

Step 3: Remove the marker and put it on a towel to dry. Make sure to leave it uncapped.

Step 4: Check the marker every hour to make sure it doesn’t completely dry out again and lose its capacity to write. It should be good to go once the tip is water-free.

Step 5: Replace the cap on the marker. The leading cause of dry erase markers drying out is leaving it uncapped for a prolonged period.

Bonus Tip: Injecting Water

If a skinny syringe is available, injecting the marker tip with water is a viable option.

Step 1: Fill the syringe with water.

Step 2: Insert the needle in the marker’s tip, right into the body.

Step 3: Slowly push water into the marker. Slow pushing of water allows the air inside the marker to drain out while adding moisture.

Step 4: Replace the cap.

Flipping the Tip

This method is unique and fun for me. But it can get very messy very quickly if not careful. I discovered that I could remove the felt tip from the barrel and flip it. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Hold the marker with the tip on top.

Step 2: Using a pair of needle-nosed pliers, carefully pull the felt tip out of the barrel of the marker. Being very careful is crucial here. Not being careful risks spilling the ink all over the place.

Step 3: Separate the ink cartridge from the barrel.

Step 4: Flip the tip and reinsert it back into the marker. I was surprised to find out that both ends of the felt tip are chisel tips.

Step 5: Reassemble the marker.

Flipping the tip is not a permanent fix. But it is one of the quickest ways to write with the marker on short notice.

The Alcoholic Method

Dry erase markers use alcohol as a solvent for the color pigments. Therefore, it makes much more sense to use alcohol to get the tip breathing again.

Step 1: Pour a small amount of isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) into a small container. The alcohol should be enough to cover the tip of the marker.

Step 2: Soak the tip of the marker in the alcohol until the ink starts swirling out.

Step 3: Replace the cap of the marker and leave it tip-side up for a day. The alcohol should then slowly penetrate the entirety of the felt tip.

Bonus Tip: Injecting Alcohol

Just like with the water solution, injecting alcohol also works. It’s precisely the same process, too!

Step 1: Fill the syringe with rubbing alcohol.

Step 2: Insert the needle into the tip.

Step 3: Slowly push the air out and the alcohol into the marker body.

fix dried out dry erase markers alcoholic method

Ethanol – The Organic Alcohol

One type of alcohol that is a potent solvent is ethanol. Ethanol, also called ethyl, grain, or drinking alcohol, is organic. It is less toxic. Here’s how to fix a dried out dry erase marker with ethanol.

Step 1: Hold the marker tip-side up.

Step 2: Use a needle-nosed plier to pull the nib out.

Step 3: Pour a bit of ethanol into the body of the marker.

Step 4: Replace the nib.

Step 5: Let the marker sit tip-side down for a few minutes before trying to write with it.

Step 6: Replace the cap.

Bonus Tip: Injecting Ethanol

The exact process of injecting liquid into the marker works with ethanol.

Using ethanol works well if there is more ink in the marker. Ethanol is a powerful solvent that will release the color pigments of the marker.


Vinegar is a household liquid readily available. It is also a quick alternative when it comes to reviving dried out dry erase markers.

Step 1: Place the marker’s tip on a small bowl.

Step 2: Dampen the tip with just a little bit of vinegar. Two drops should suffice. Make sure not to put too much vinegar – it will damage the tip.

Step 3: Let the marker tip soak in the vinegar for a couple of minutes.

Step 4: Dry the tip before replacing the cap.

Final Thoughts

I hope that these easy methods are helpful! These five easy methods on how to fix dried out dry erase markers are super effective. I don’t have to scratch my head in frustration every time my markers decide to fail on me.

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