How to Clean a Whiteboard that Won’t Erase

The invention of whiteboards was a wonder. Using a chalkboard was very difficult to work with; it’s harmful to our body and has many limitations. Ever since we started using dry erase markers and permanent marker pens on whiteboards or dry erase boards, things have been easier for us.

We can use color variations; it is easy to control and maintain. But the problem begins when we start to clean the board.

Although it’s easy to clean, some stain marks and ink won’t come off quickly. It isn’t easy to get a good clean. I’ll also discuss the procedures how for removing permanent marker stains. In this article, I will talk about how to clean a whiteboard that won’t erase. I’ll talk about the elements needed and step by step procedure. Let’s go.

How to Clean a Whiteboard


First of all, you need to know about the stain marks. Usually, there are two types of markers used. Permanent markers and Dry erase markers.

Dry erase marker stain can be cleaned easily. There are various agents and chemicals out there that can do the job. But permanent markers create another scenario.

The pigments in these markers are super resistant to water. Making them hard to clean. You need to go through a lot to get a proper clean. Nail polish remover and acetone can remove permanent marker.

Dry erase markers have powerful pigments that naturally stick with the whiteboard surface. That’s why you’ll see more stain marks with more usage. Isopropyl Alcohol agents can remove these stain marks properly.

Read Also: How Do Dry Erase Marker Works?

Best Cleaning Agents on Whiteboard

Before starting the process, we need to know about the cleaning agents. Various cleaning agents can do the trick properly. I’m going to list some of the cleaning agents below.

Isopropyl Alcohol

You may know the agent as ‘rubbing alcohol .’This is the most commonly used name of the element.

This rubbing alcohol and peroxide can be used as whiteboard cleaning agents. The chemical structure of Rubbing Alcohol allows it to defeat the marker particles on the dry erase boards. And you can easily clean the whiteboard off.

Use 90% Isopropyl Alcohol and mix it with water to make a cleaning solution. Take a cloth and dip it in the solution. Start wiping the inked area afterward.

If the stain is hardcore and isn’t coming off quickly, use the rubbing alcohol directly. Directly put it over the stain and leave it for a few seconds. Then simply wipe it off with paper towels.


The applications of Vinegar cannot be described in words. You can even use it to wipe clean an entire whiteboard!

The mixture of Vinegar and water can be an acceptable cleaning agent. It is inexpensive, non-toxic, environment friendly, natural, and effective.

All you need to do is take one teaspoon of Vinegar and mix it with a cup of water. Take the solution in a spraying bottle.

Spray the cleaning solution on the board. Then wait for a few seconds and simply wipe it off with paper towels. This is the most accessible and most straightforward of all.

Hand Sanitizer

It’s safe to say everyone is familiar with hand sanitizer these days, especially in this time of covid. Hand sanitizer can also be used to clean whiteboards as well.

A typical Hand sanitizer contains 60% Isopropyl Alcohol. So it works well for preventing acid.

But for cleaning Whiteboards, there will be a higher solution concentration. We will directly apply it over the stain marks to tackle the problem. Simply wipe it off using paper towels.

Now you have another valuable side of the typical hand sanitizer.


Yes, hairspray can also be used to clean off whiteboards. It’s simply because they contain Isopropyl Alcohol as well.

But requires some extra steps. First, use the hairspray on the desired area. And let it sit for at least 3 minutes.

Then, take a soft cloth and dip it in a detergent solution. You can use warm water for better results.

Take this cloth and start wiping it over the sprayed area after 3 minutes. The stains should come off quite easily by thorough cleaning.

WD – 40

A bottle of WD-40 will also do the job. Take a bottle of WD-40 and spray it over the area you want to clean.

It not only cleans the surface but also gives it a smooth finish. The smooth finish further allows good writing and reasonable control over the whiteboard.

But be careful when you’re using this spray. Don’t ruin your clothes during the process! Spray it and wipe it off with a cloth afterward.

Nail polish remover and window cleaner are other honorable mentions. Don’t use any scouring pads.

How to Clean a Whiteboard Stain Easily

Now I will discuss some techniques that can help you clean a whiteboard properly. I’m going to be talking about three steps using three various agents. Let’s get right in!

Using Rubbing Alcohol

The things you will need:

  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Water
  • Paper towel
  • Spraying bottle
  • Dry eraser

Step 1:

Before you start cleaning with Rubbing alcohol, you need to ensure no extra marks or strains are present on the board. It’ll make things harder to process.

You can use a dry erase marker to remove the excess and hard stain marks. It’s super easy to use and opera. And it gets the job done.

Step 2:

After removing the extra stains, you can start using the Rubbing Alcohol.

Mix the Rubbing alcohol with water to create a solution. Put it in a spray bottle and spray it over the desired area. If the marks are too hard to remove, use the rubbing alcohol directly on the place.

This will keep the concentration higher and remove all kinds of stains. Even the board I got from storeroom was cleaned with rubbing alcohol.

Step 3:

After spraying the area with rubbing alcohol, you have to wipe it off.

To do that, you can use a damp cloth. Take a soft cloth and put it in water. Squeeze the extra water out. Wipe the area with a damp cloth.

Step 4:

After wiping it damp cloth, you need to let it dry for some time. You don’t have to use anything. Simply let it dry naturally, and you’ll get your result.

Using Another Marker

Things you’ll need:

  • Dry erase markers
  • Dry eraser
  • Paper towel

Step 1:

Most people start panicking when they accidentally use a permanent marker on Whiteboard. And sometimes, regular markers leave hard stains that are hard to remove.

The first step is super simple. Take a dry erase marker and start drying over the stained places on the board. In that case, dry erase markers can be your savior. Draw whatever you like. However, you like. Just make sure to cover all the stained places.

Step 2:

The second step is simply letting it dry. As the name suggests, the dry erase markers take some time to dry off properly.

Letting it dry for some time allows it to sit on the board correctly and link up with the stained marks. So let it dry.

Step 3:

After letting it dry for some time, wipe the mark off with a whiteboard eraser. It will remove the dry eraser marker and remove the previous stains in the process. It’s like killing two birds with a stone.

And if you see that the stain marks aren’t entirely removed yet, keep repeating the process.

Give the entire board a thorough cleaning. Draw a line with the dry eraser marker, let it dry, then wipe it off with the eraser marker.

Repeating this process for some time will surely do the job for you.

Using Dry Erase Method

Things you’ll need:

  • Dry eraser
  • Whiteboard cleaner
  • WD-40
  • Paper towel
  • Bowl
  • Dish soap or mild detergent
  • Warm water

Another effective way of cleaning Whiteboards that won’t erase is using a dry eraser.

Step 1:

First, you have to clean the eraser itself. Sometimes, these erasers have a lot of ink stored inside, so the best option is to clean the eraser first.

Take a bowl and add some dish soap to it. Add some warm water as well. Now put your dry eraser and wait 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, simply wash the dry eraser with water. And now you have a fresh eraser.

Step 2:

After you’ve dry the eraser, you will erase the whiteboard with a dry eraser. Just hold your eraser tightly on your hand and smoothly start rubbing the whiteboard.

A gentle and smooth rub will surely take out all the ink on the whiteboard. Cover all the areas while doing so.

A dry eraser will remove the marker inks from the board, but many stains will remain. And there are some hard-to-remove points as well. Follow the next step for the solution.

Step 3:

You can always use a whiteboard cleaner to clean your whiteboard. There are a lot of whiteboard cleaners out there.

The main component of the whiteboard cleaner is Isopropyl Alcohol. It can easily remove any stain and permanent marks. Buy a whiteboard cleaner of your preference. Spray it over the desired area and then wipe it off using a dry paper towel.

Step 4:

As I mentioned before, WD-40 is an excellent cleaner and a finisher. You can use this without any worries.

Spray this WD-40 on your whiteboard. And let it sit for some time. Its chemical structure will allow it to give the whiteboard a clean, smooth, and frequent finish.

Step 5:

And the final step is wiping the spray off. You can use a wet cloth to do the job.

You can even use water to make it a damp cloth. Then, use the cloth to wipe off the spray. And there you go. Your whiteboard should be good as new at this point.


Q: Do WD-40 clean whiteboards?

WD-40 or Water displacement, 40th formula can be easily used to clean whiteboards. The characteristics of this chemical easily allow it to clean off whiteboards.

The procedure is straightforward. Spray WD-40 directly on the board surface. The place where you want to clean it.

Then afterward, clean the area by wiping it with a paper towel. Be careful while using WD-40. Don’t ruin your clothes in doing so!

Q: How do you get stubborn marks out of whiteboards?

Sometimes regular cleaning won’t remove the stubborn marks on whiteboards. Some hardcore marks and old stains won’t leave the whiteboard’s surface, no matter the pressure.

You can use rubbing alcohol for that case. Rubbing alcohol contains 90 to 99 percent of the Isopropyl Alcohol element.

You can apply the alcohol on your paper towel or directly on the whiteboard surface. Then, wipe it off afterward. This will surely get rid of that stubborn mark.

Q: Can I use Windex on a Whiteboard?

Windex is a glass cleaner. You can easily use Windex to clean a dry erase board. And yes, Windex can be used on whiteboards for cleaning purposes.

Windex contains water, isopropanol amine, hydrogen peroxide, and ammonium hydroxide type chemicals. These chemicals, especially hydrogen peroxide, allow Windex to clean off the dry-erase whiteboard.

Whiteboard users can confirm. This is a common phenomenon for most people. They can use Windex to clean glass and Whiteboard at the same time. It’s a very effective product indeed.

Q: Can you use baby wipes on a Whiteboard?

Baby wipes can be used to clean whiteboards sometimes. Now, this depends on the board you are using.

Most whiteboards won’t usually face any problems if you use baby wipes. But sometimes, it creates a sticky residue, getting dirty quickly.

And most whiteboards do well with baby wipes. You just have to wipe the board more rapidly and frequently than usual to get a result. But it will indeed perform like Vinegar or other solution in that matter.

Q: How do you clean a whiteboard with toothpaste?

Guess what? Toothpaste can be used to clean your whiteboard’s surface as well. You can use one white agent to clean another.

Simply put toothpaste on the place you want to clean. Then, clean it off with a soft cloth. Rub the area very carefully and maintain a thorough rub during the time. After that, wipe you should wipe the board with a dry cloth.

And there you go; you have your clean board. Since toothpaste is mildly adhesive, it may damage the whiteboard over time. Be aware of that.


I’ve briefly discussed whiteboard markers and how to clean them.

I’ve discussed the cleaning agents, how to use them, and shared Important factors that need to be taken care of.

My goal was to give you an overview of the whole whiteboard cleaning process. I’ve also provided step-by-step procedures using some elements.

So, get your things and start cleaning!

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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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