How many times have you stopped drawing or writing because of a dry, rough line from a “dead” marker? If the lifespan of your bookmarks doesn't seem to be reasonably long, fear not: you can often revive them (temporarily, at least) with one of our easy tricks. Whether you're using water-based, dry erase or even permanent colored markers, the solution for dry ends is usually as simple as soaking them in for a few minutes.
Method 1 of 3: Restore Water-Based Markers
Step 1. Pour 1 cup of hot water into a bowl
If you have one or more dry water-based markers, try this simple trick to breathe new life into it. First, fill a bowl with warm or hot water. In the next step, the water will soak into the dry tips of the markers, usually causing the ink to begin to flow freely once more.
Keep in mind that it is not vital that you use hot water, you can also do it with cold water. However, since the ink diffuses more quickly with high-temperature water, it will generally be faster
Step 2. Put the marker (s) point down in the water
Uncover the dry markers and put them in the water so that they are completely submerged. Let them soak without touching them for about 5 minutes. You may notice that some ink is coming off the tips of the marker and into the water. Don't worry, because it is normal.
As mentioned above, we only recommend this method for water-based markers. If you're not sure if your markers are water-based or not, read the packaging (if you have one). As a general rule, water-based markers are for drawing, coloring, and are intended for use by children, although there are exceptions (such as high-quality markers sold to adult artists)
Step 3. Let the markers dry on a scouring pad
Take the markers out of the water. Dab the ends with a scouring pad to remove excess water and then leave them on a scouring pad to dry. You should let them dry until the ink on the tips is no longer diluted in the water, but they should not be so dry that they do not paint.
- The time it will take will vary, but usually it will take up to 24 hours. We recommend testing your markers on a sheet of paper after a few hours to see if they will paint.
- Keep in mind that the towel or scrubber will likely stain a little. Although it will be washable ink, they could be difficult to remove stains, so use an old scouring pad that cannot be stained.
Step 4. Cover the markers when they are done
When the markers paint again, be sure to cover them. If you leave them uncovered, they will surely dry out again. On the other hand, plugging the markers between uses helps retain the moisture in the tip, which will ensure that the marker paints as long as possible.
If you have lost the cap of the marker, don't worry, because you can use a small square of plastic wrap and a rubber band as a temporary solution. If you want to make a more durable cap, wrap some tape around the tip of the marker (sticky side out) and then wrap another bit of tape on top of the first (sticky side in)
Step 5. Another option is to use a few drops of vinegar
Another home remedy for water-based markers is vinegar. For this method, you will need to put the markers point down in a dry bowl and soak each tip with 1-2 drops of white vinegar. Let them soak for a few minutes before drying as mentioned above. Don't soak them like in the water method, just add a few drops to each.
To transfer just 1 or 2 drops to each marker tip, fill the bottle cap with vinegar and with a stick (such as a skewer) or an eyedropper, add the vinegar to each marker drop by drop
Step 6. You could also inject water into the marker
To revive your markers, you will need a long, pointed, and fine needle (like a hypodermic syringe). For this method, you will need to fill the syringe with water and then insert the needle directly into the body of the marker at the tip. Inject some water slowly, while letting air out of the tip. Once you have added no more than approximately 1 milliliter (mL / cc), let the marker sit on an old scouring pad for a moment before using it (as noted above).
Method 2 of 3: Revive the Whiteboard Markers
Step 1. Tie the marker to the end of a long string
Whiteboard markers don't use the same type of water-based ink as regular markers, so reviving them with some liquid won't work. Rather, try to take advantage of the ink that is left inside the marker. To start, tie a long string around the body of the dry marker. Attach the cord with a sturdy tape.
In the next step, you will use the power of centrifugal force to move the ink to the dry tip of the marker. Centrifugal force basically refers to when objects that rotate in a circle experience a force that pushes them outwards, that is, away from the center of the circle. In this case, that pushing out force will push the remaining ink from the marker body towards the tip
Step 2. Spin the marker over your head like a cowboy lasso
Carefully take the cord in your hand and spin it in a circle over your head (like jeans). The tip of the marker should be facing outward, not inward. Centrifugal force will begin to push the marker ink toward the tip. Do this for a minute or two before testing to see if it paints.
- Make sure you have a good unobstructed space before you start spinning the marker. While it is highly unlikely that you will seriously damage anything with the marker, you could still break it or accidentally injure someone if the marker lands on their eye, so be cautious. NOTE: Preferably cover the marker with its cap, place insulating tape on the entire part of the cap, in order to avoid spreading the ink everywhere by leaving a trail of droplets.
Step 3. Another option is to bend the tip with pliers
If the marker doesn't paint after using the method above, find a pair of pliers. Grab the soft cloth tip of the dry erase marker with the pliers and pull straight out. For many markers, the tip will come off without too much effort. Once it comes out, if you have a similar soft cloth tip on the other side of the tip, try to quickly shake the tip and cover it up. The marker is supposed to paint immediately afterwards. As the ink penetrates the previously dry nib, you can pry the nib out again and shake it if you want.
To try this method, we recommend putting on gloves and protecting the work area with an old scouring pad. While it is unlikely, it is possible that when you remove the nib, the marker ink will spill, so protecting yourself from stubborn stains is a prudent measure
Step 4. As a last resort, purchase fill ink
While effective, the above methods will only work if ink remains inside the marker. For dry erase boards that are completely dry, that is, both the tip and the inside of the marker, you will need to purchase replacement ink.
This type of ink is usually sold in office supply stores and Internet specialty stores. Their cost is usually quite low, sometimes up to $ 1.00 for a small jar of ink
Method 3 of 3: Revive Permanent Markers
Step 1. Soak the tips of the dry markers in rubbing alcohol
For most dry-tip permanent markers, you can get it to repaint using a similar trick to the previous method where water-based markers are soaked in water. For this method, first fill a small container with rubbing alcohol, for example, you could use the cap from the alcohol bottle.
You don't need too much alcohol, just enough to dip the tip of the marker (s). Filling an entire bowl with rubbing alcohol (as you would for water-based markers) would be a waste of the product
Step 2. Let the markers dry covered
After soaking them for a few minutes in rubbing alcohol, you will see a small amount of ink spinning in the liquid. Remove the markers from the alcohol and cover. Put the tip up in a glass or mug and let it sit for 24 to 48 hours. After this period, if ink remains on the markers, they are supposed to paint well again.
Alcohol evaporates very quickly unlike water, so you shouldn't let the markers sit uncovered like you would water-based markers after soaking, or they will quickly dry out again
Step 3. Consider using the remaining rubbing alcohol as ink
If the alcohol that you soaked the marker tips in has absorbed some of the ink from the permanent markers, you may be able to use them as a type of ink or stain in your art projects. Alcohol-based inks are much more effective at tinting materials such as metal than other types of ink. For example, to paint colored staples, you only need to soak them in the rubbing alcohol that you used to soften the tips of the colored permanent markers.
Step 4. Another option is to inject alcohol or acetone into the markers
Like water-based markers, dry permanent markers can sometimes be revived by injecting liquid directly into them. However, in this case, you should not do it with water, but with the ink solvent of your marker. Usually it will need to be rubbing alcohol or acetone (the active ingredient in nail polish remover), so inject about 1 milliliter of either of these chemicals into the body of the marker, just like the previous method with water.
If you are not sure what type of liquid solvent your ink uses, read the marker package for the ingredient list
- Avoid leaving the markers uncovered, because this is what dries them the most.
- Don't buy multiple markers at the same time. Experiment with different brands and see which one works best.
- Try to buy good quality markers, even if they are expensive. Markers on sale at general supply stores may not be the best option if you want them to last a long time. Also try to buy those that do not dry without a lid so that, if you forget to cover them, you do not have to buy more.
- Don't buy multiple markers at the same time. Experiment with various brands and determine which one works best.
- For all types of markers, put a little water on the tip and write. The ink may start to flow again.