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What are Dry Erase Markers?

what are dry erase markers

Do you want to know what are dry-erase markers and what makes them different from other markers? In general, dry-erase markers are simply amazing writing tools. They are so incredible that they have almost completely replaced traditional chalkboards in classrooms.

In almost every way, in a classroom setting at least, dry-erase markers are better than chalk. But how do these markers work? How come they can leave such clear marks on whiteboards, but you can wipe them off cleanly every time? This article will try to answer all your questions about dry-erase markers as thoroughly as possible.

Dry Erase Markers Defined

Dry-erase markers may look like regular permanent markers but they work quite differently. Both can write on non-porous surfaces but you can erase the dry-erase marker by wiping it off using a dry eraser or even just a paper towel.

Dry-erase markers use the same hardware as permanent markers but they have different kinds of ink. If you use it on non-porous surfaces, you can wipe it off completely using a rag or paper towel.

What are Dry Erase Markers Made of?

On the outside, both permanent and dry-erase markers look the same. The difference is what is inside of them. Permanent marker ink is similar to the ones used in regular pens but they are looser because they use alcohol as their primary solvent. They also utilize different chemicals and resins, which is why they leave permanent marks.

On the other hand, the ink that dry-erase markers use is completely different. Although dry-erase ink is also alcohol-based, they use silicone-based pigment, which means they do not stick onto non-porous surfaces. The silicone also contains a minute amount of static charge. This is the reason why it can stick on smooth surfaces.

In general, dry-erase markers contain resin, SD alcohol-40, and isopropanol. You can define SD alcohol-40 as ethyl alcohol or specially denatured ethanol alcohol. With the isopropanol component of a dry-erase marker, there is definitely something that will dissolve the ink and put it on the surface.

Uses of Dry Erase Markers

advantages of using dry erase markers

Dry-erase markers have a wide array of uses. Here are just a few of the many mediums and sectors where you can find this type of marker working productively:


Whiteboards are now more visible in educational settings compared to blackboards due to their ease of use, feasibility, and compatibility. You can use high-quality dry-erase markers on these whiteboards.

What’s great about dry-erase markers is that the writing they make will stay on the whiteboard markers without settling permanently. This promotes ease in removing the writing even if you just scrub it gently. It does not also leave heavy dark patches provided you take off the ink correctly.

Plastic Surface

You can also utilize dry-erase markers on plastic surfaces. This is if you intend to put writings on the surface temporarily. The ink of this marker also gives you the freedom to remove it before it settles, which means you can also easily monitor and control plastic notice boards through it.

Laminated Paper

You will also find dry-erase markers useful in laminated papers. Some even find it useful in designing various charts and stats on these types of papers. After the ink settles, you have an assurance that it will not fade away that easily.

It also allows you to highlight certain areas of your work by using various colors. The writings on laminated paper will also remain even up to the time when you decide to erase them.

Wooden Surface

Dry-erase markers also settle on anything that is made of wood quickly. These include wooden cabinets and furniture. What’s even better about dry-erase markers is that you will not have any problems removing them from the wooden material.

The only thing that you have to do is to use a scrubber in taking off the ink from the wood. You also have an assurance that the ink will not damage the wood surface since it does not settle on the medium that easily.

Advantages of Using Dry Erase Markers

what are dry erase markers made of

If you are wondering what makes dry-erase markers good, then here are a few of their advantages. These are also among the qualities and features that make them better than chalk and other markers.

Quick drying time

Compared to other markers, dry-erase markers have a quicker drying time. It dries up within just fifteen to thirty seconds after using it on non-porous surfaces.

Cleaner compared to chalk

Unlike chalk, dry-erase markers do not leave any dust when you erase their marks. This is one of the biggest reasons why you see these in classrooms nowadays. Young kids usually suffer from asthma, and not having chalk dust that can trigger their asthma attacks is always a good thing.

Easy to use

Another nice thing about using dry-erase markers is that they are much easier to write with. When you are using chalk to write on chalkboards, you will need to place a significant amount of pressure to leave a legible mark.

On the other hand, you hardly need to place any pressure on the tip of a dry-erase marker to leave clear lines on whiteboards.

Easy to read

The thing about chalk lines is that the edges are a bit fuzzy, so when you use them to write small letters, they can be quite hard to read. Compared to chalk, the marks that dry-erase markers leave behind are bold and crisp. When written on a whiteboard, they are very easy to read.

Do not leave marks on the board

Most whiteboards used in classrooms have a glass surface, the painted metal and plastic whiteboards are not quite as popular these days. When you write on glass whiteboards, the dry-erase marks disappear completely. Chalk marks leave faint stains on the blackboard, which can only be removed with soap and water.

Are there Downsides to Using Dry Erase Markers?

what are dry erase markers used for

Some dry-erase markers actually have a strong and somewhat unpleasant scent. Others can irritate the eyes, throat, and nose lining. With that in mind, you have to be careful when making your choice and ensure that you get the non-toxic ones and those with low odor.

These are the ones that are safe for use in both homes and schools, especially if there are children around. If you are using a dry-erase marker, it is also advisable to wear a mask.

The reason is that the isopropanol component of this marker can emit fumes that result in short-term health issues, like mucus membrane irritation, kidney problem, and liver problems.


So, what are dry-erase markers? Although they look like and come with the same internal components as permanent markers, those are the only things that the two share.

Dry-erase markers use inks that contain silicone, thereby preventing them from bonding permanently on smooth and non-porous surfaces. The biggest difference is that you can completely remove dry-erase ink using a whiteboard eraser or even a paper towel.

Now that you know what they are, you will no longer mistake dry-erase markers for permanent ones, which means you will no longer need to deal with permanent ink stains on your whiteboard.