How to Make a Dried Out Sharpie Work Again | Helpful Methods

Sharpie is a popular name in the world of permanent markers, which is used for writing, crafting, and other art activities. But when they don’t work, it can be frustrating!

We’re all guilty of occasionally forgetting to put the cap back on our sharpies. But what do you do when you find out that your newly bought sharpie is dead?

The answer is simple: revive it!

In this article, we’ll discuss how to bring life back into your dried out sharpie and make them as good as new again! Hopefully, you will never encounter this problem anymore!

How to Fix a  Dried Out Sharpie

Different Types of Sharpie -Based on Ink

Before learning the revival method, you must know the type of sharpie markers. The reason is that depending on the permanent marker ink, the process will vary. However, there are three types of sharpies depending on their ink and the revive methods of them are different.


The alcohol-based ones are the most common and widely used type of sharpie. They contain alcohol-based ink and come in many kinds of colors. They have a fast-drying capacity and suitable for drawing on different surfaces.

And also the alcohol ink dries quickly if you keep uncapped your marker for a long period in the open air.

Read Also: Cheap Alcohol-Based Markers


The water-based sharpie is good for writing on non-porous surfaces because it is less likely to bleed through paper. Water-based sharpies are also easy to clean up, and they come in a wider variety of colors.

When they dry for a day, they become waterproof. You can use these markers for up to six months if handled correctly. It’s also very opaque and easy to use.


Oil-based sharpies are great for light tracing without worrying about them being rubbed off by hands. This marker goes well on slick surfaces. These are also dried waterproof as well.

But a good thing about these oil-based ink is that it takes more time to dry if you keep them uncapped for a long time than other types of sharpies.

How Do I Know That the Sharpie Ink Has Run Out or Dried?

In most cases, we suddenly found that our sharpie isn’t working. But how do you know that the ink has run out or dries up?

There are two ways to know. The first one is by looking at the sharpie tip. If you see that it isn’t as bright and vibrant anymore, it means that the ink has either ran out or dried up.

Another way to check whether its dried up or not is by smelling your sharpie. If there’s a strong smell of plastic, then there might be some moisture in the body, making the ink runny again.

Depending on the signs, you have to take further steps. So, before buying another pack, head over to this article below, where we’ll show you how to revive a dead sharpie using different methods!

Important: If none of these signs show up on your sharpies, then they’re probably dead for good!!

How to Fix a Dried Out Sharpie- Methods

Fixing a dried sharpie depend not only on the type of ink but also the cause where your sharpie has gone dry, such as drying out from too much use, old age, lack of exposure to air, and so forth. It’s all in here!

So foot tapping will no longer be necessary because we’ll surely revive that dried-out markers of yours.

Things You’ll Need

Here we’ve given a list of some common things you’ll need to revive a sharpie –

  • Small Bowl
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Paper Towel
  • Syringe
  • Screws
  • Bottle Cap

Using Rubbing Alcohol for Reviving Sharpie

Using Alcohol

Maybe this is the easiest option to back a dead sharpie into life. Permanent marker ink contains mostly organic solvents in its ingredients. And when the alcohol somehow evaporates, the marker stops working.

So, by replacing its solvents with alcohol, you can easily revive your favorite sharpie pen.

You have to manage 91% or 99% rubbing alcohol in this case. It can be either ethanol or isopropyl alcohol. And you can use rubbing alcohol in two ways for reviving dried-out sharpie.

The first and quick method is to pour a bit of alcohol into a small bowl or bottle cap. Then remove the lid and soak the marker tip on the solvent for at least a minute.

Next, take the pen out of the solvent and gently shake it several times to eliminate any excess liquid droplets that may be on the tip. And with this simple trick, you can use this sharpie for writing again!

The second method is more complicated but very useful. Because in this way, you won’t need to worry about using too much rubbing alcohol which might evaporate quickly, leaving your permanent marker dry again.

Step 1:

Hold your sharpie in hands and pull out the internal mechanism using pliers to separate it into two parts. Then you’ll get a container that holds the marker’s ink and another one that contains the ink tube.

Step 2:

Now hold the pen upside down means put the writing part down as you will fill the alcohol from the upper side using a syringe.

Step 3:

Now, inject the rubbing alcohol into the ink pad of the sharpie. Continue to fill it up until you see some noticeable changes means; after proper filling with alcohol, the pad will be saturated.

Step 4:

When done, reassemble both parts back together again using screws like before and cap it carefully. As over tightening it may break off any plastic pieces around there, leading to leakage problems later.

Then, gently shake it, allowing the solvent to go into the writing part and saturate properly.

Now your marker should be good as a new one again! 🙂

The good news is that it’ll also be effective for high-quality markers that contain alcohol alcohol-based ink.

Tips: Make sure that before using any of these methods that your sharpie has been left unused for at least one day so air will be able to dry out the interior ink tube from inside out.

How to Fix a Sharpie Without Rubbing Alcohol?

Most probably, we all know about the alcohol method. But what will you do when you don’t find any alcohol near your hand?

Don’t worry! Here’s some amazing methods available to you. Let’s have a look.

Method 1: Warm Water

Well, there is always the water method. It will work just fine for quick fixes or if you have nothing else available on hand! But it’s safe to say that this method will work best for water-based sharpies.

First, boil some water in a pot and then let it cool down for a bit. Then dip the tip of your sharpie into the water for about 5-7 minutes at least.

After that, take out the marker from the water and remove any extra water using a paper towel or clean cloth. Then draw some lines on a piece of paper to test if the ink is still alive.

But you must need to keep track of the ink and don’t let the sharpie dry too much.

Method 2: Using Vinegar

Vinegar can be found in the kitchen cabinets or your nearby grocery store. Just take it and pour an ideal amount in a small bowl.

Now you just have to remove the cap of your marker. Then dip the tip into the vinegar and quickly remove it. Continue the process at least 8-10 times.

Remember that you should not hold the marker in the vinegar solution for a long time as it will ruin the permanent ink forever!

After doing this process, keep the marker aside for couple of hours; so that the ink can dry and set up properly. It is basically done to clean the marker felt for the smooth flow of ink. You can also try to pour some drops of vinegar (not too much) on the marker tip by using the syringe.

Tips for Storing Your Sharpies

Here some tips are given below by which you can store your sharpie for a long time.

  • Keep it in a cool weather
  • Don’t keep the marker uncapped for a long time
  •  Keep the lid airtight after every use
  •   Store marker vertically, keeping the face side down
  • Keep it safe from children

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Q: Why Sharpie Dried Out Quickly and How to Fix?

The most common reason to dry up a sharpie is that; they were left open and uncapped during storage which means air got into it, easily corroding the ink. Sometimes the marker ink clogged inside, which makes it unable to use.

If so, then follow the methods explained so far to revive them again. 

Make sure to keep them capped off tightly after every use. It would prevent any foreign particles from getting inside and drying them out completely.

If the marker totally gets out of ink totally or dead, then the only option is to buy a new one.

Q: Can You Heat Sharpie Marker to Make it Fix?

Reviving gel pens by heating is a very popular and common method and It also works effectively.

However, when it comes to sharpie you should not provide direct heat as they have a plastic body. But if you want, you can try the heating up method very carefully.

For this, hold your marker at hand and pull out the tip using pliers. Then, holding up the tip with pliers, heat it up by using a heat gun or blow dryer for a few seconds.

Hopefully, the sharpie will start to work again as before!

Warning: You must need to follow this method carefully. And heating up too much can completely ruin the ink, and it may not work again!

Q: Can You Fix a Dried-out Marker Using these Methods?

You have to apply these methods depending on the ink type of your markers. For example –

For alcohol-based marker: Apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto the tip. Let it sit for 30 seconds, and then blot off any excess liquid. Repeat until your marker is revived.

You can also use nail polish remover in this case as it contains alcohol. First, pour some nail polish remover into a small bowl. Then pull out the marker tip with pliers and soak it in the solvent for a few minutes.

Now, use a paper towel to remove excess solvent. Then set up the marker again and start to write up.

For water-based markers: Simply dip your dried-out water-based markers in warm water for few minutes before using them again. You could also mix salt with hot water and soak your dried-out brush pens in that mixture too!

Read Also: How to Fix a Dried Out Marker Easily

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you have got all your answers regarding fixing a dried out sharpie and have also learned some good tips.

The ways mentioned above should help you revive your sharpie easily without having too much hassle of looking around the internet for different tips and tricks. 

So, throw away all of your frustrations and be relaxed! I hope this article has helped! Good Luck!

Loard Eva

Hi there! I’m Eva, artist, designer, photographer and mom of three little gentlemen altogether. When I’m not playing with my kids, you’ll find me researching and writing for ChooseMarker.

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