is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

How to Revive a Highlighter

how to revive a highlighter
Highlighters are among the most useful art tools to use when studying or jotting down important notes. If you are a student, teacher, or a bookworm, you will probably find highlighters a game changer when reading books or studying publications.

As much as you want to keep your notes neat, organized, and creative with highlighters, you can’t always do so when your highlighters start to skip and wear out eventually. Thus, the first thing you do is look up for the effective and easy ways on how to revive a highlighter.

Do not throw your highlighters away just yet. In fact, you can try some basic solutions such as water, rubbing alcohol, or nail polish remover to revive your highlighter. In this article, I will show you some easy techniques on how you can revive your highlighter.

1st Technique: Reviving a Highlighter Using Water

This is indeed the most basic yet effective technique of reviving highlighters. This might not guarantee a full highlighter revival, but it has been proven to do wonders in numerous instances. Follow the easy steps below and see if water revives your highlighter.

Things You Will Need:

  • Water
  • Small bowl or cup

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Double-check if there is any ink remaining in the highlighter. If yes, shake it 2 to 3 times and scribble it down on a piece of paper. Even if the result is indistinct, you can go to the following stage if it produces any line.
  2. In this stage, disassemble the highlighter pen to extract the ink cartridge out of the plastic barrel. You can do this using whatever you have on hand, such as a knife or a pair of scissors. Depending on the product, you can open the highlighter from the tip or top area. Remove the ink sponge afterward.
  3. Fill up your bowl with water. You can use moderately warm water if you prefer. However, you must take precautions and avoid using hot water. It has the potential to permanently harm the ink. Afterward, submerge one side of the ink sponge in water for a few minutes, or until it becomes soft. Similarly, submerge the opposite side in the water and leave it for a few minutes as well.
  4. Place the ink sponge on tissue paper or paper towel. It will assist in gently squeezing the excess water from the sponge and preparing it for usage. Then, grab a piece of paper and begin writing.

2nd Technique: Combining the Wonders of Water and Vinegar

Vinegar provides a lot of health and practical benefits in our daily lives. It even provides huge assistance in reviving our well-loved highlighters. Follow the instructions below to discover how vinegar helps in fixing your highlighter.

Things You Will Need:

  • Small glass cup
  • Water
  • Vinegar

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Fill up a small glass cup with equal parts of warm water and distilled white vinegar.
  2. For roughly a minute, immerse the dried-out tip of your highlighter into the mixture. The acid in this cleaning mixture fixes dryness and revives the color of your highlighter marker.
  3. Afterward, wipe away any remaining liquid with a paper towel or disposable cloth. Your highlighter should be now ready again to use. But remember, this is only a short-term solution.

reviving a highlighter using water

3rd Technique: Reviving Your Dried-Out Highlighter with Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is one of the most common solutions when it comes to fixing not only highlighters but permanent markers and pens as well. Take a look at the guidelines below to revive your highlighter using rubbing alcohol.

Things You Will Need:

  • Small glass bowl
  • Rubbing alcohol

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. In a small glass bowl, apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol, either ethyl or isopropyl alcohol.
  2. Wait a few seconds after dipping the dry highlighter tip into the solution. Then, lift the highlighter from the solution and wipe away any excess fluid from the tip. Afterward, turn it upside down. It will be useful to absorb the alcohol using the ink pad.
  3. Put on the highlighter cap and wait for around 10 to 15 minutes. It will help the marker in efficiently absorbing the alcohol and preparing it for scribbling.
  4. Take out a piece of paper and begin scribbling. If you did not achieve your desired outcome, retry the whole procedure a few times.

4th Technique: Experience a Long-Lasting Result with Acetone-Based Nail Polish Remover

Acetone-based nail polish remover provides a longer-lasting solution to your dilemma. You can also use this very efficient alternative if you do not find rubbing alcohol effective. Simply apply the instructions below and see if nail polish remover solves your problem.

Things You Will Need:

  • Small glass or bowl
  • Acetone-based nail polish remover

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Fill a glass or bowl with acetone-based nail polish remover.
  2. Immerse the highlighter tip in the acetone and let it absorb the solution for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Take out a piece of paper and begin writing. If your highlighter still does not work, repeat the entire process.


With the help of these techniques, you can maintain the quality and extend the longevity of your highlighters. Now that you know how to revive a highlighter, you can skip spending a massive outlay for replacements every time your highlighters wear out.

These are simply a few pointers that I find effective whenever the ink supply of my highlighters malfunction or run out. It is always advisable to learn and try the aforementioned procedures before you decide on throwing them away. I hope you can once again enjoy your newly revived highlighter with these techniques!

Leave a Comment