How to Get Ink Out of Sharpies

By Bonnie Conrad

Updated September 26, 2017

Save money by salvaging your old markers.
i NA/ Images

Sharpie markers are widely used in both homes and businesses, and when properly capped their ink can last a long time. Sometimes, however, you may forget to put the cap back on your Sharpie after you use it. When that happens, you may find that your brand new Sharpie pen no longer works. You could simply go out and buy a new one, but if you want to save money, or if you need a Sharpie right away, you may be able to salvage the one you have, even if the ink has dried out.

Remove the cap from the dried out Sharpie and set it aside. Fill a shallow bowl with hot water and allow it to cool slightly. You want the water to be warm to the touch but not too hot to put your hand in.

Dip the tip of each Sharpie into the bowl of water. Submerge the tip and allow it to remain in the water for a few minutes.

Remove the Sharpie from the water and clean the tip with a soft cloth or paper towel. If you see a drop of ink on the towel or cloth, that is a good sign. Test the Sharpie to see if the ink is flowing. If the ink is still not flowing, move on to the next step.

Fill an eyedropper with a few drops of alcohol or lacquer thinner. Remove the bulb from the eyedropper and insert the tip of the Sharpie into the tube. Tilt the tube back until the liquid is touching the point of the Sharpie, leave it there for five to 10 seconds then tilt it back. Try the Sharpie after each pass and continue until the ink is flowing again.

Items you will need

  • Shallow bowl

  • Eyedropper

  • Lacquer thinner

  • Alcohol