How to Fix Dry Markers (5 Different Ways in 2021!)

how to fix dry markers

Have you ever gone to work on a project or write something down just to find that all of your markers are dried out? Or maybe you have a child who loves to leave the caps off after their coloring sessions.

We’ve all been there! Personally, I’ve even waited too long to use brand-new markers and found them completely dried out after opening the packaging. I wish I’d known then that there are ways to revive markers that seem dead!

Oftentimes, there is still ink in the markers that we think are dry. The problem is what is missing in the marker. In the case of water-based markers, often a bit of water is all you need. Permanent markers need a little bit of alcohol to get the ink flowing again.

Today we’ll discuss 5 ways to fix dry markers including water-based markers, dry erase markers, and permanent markers. These methods are:

  • Soak dry, water-based markers in water or vinegar
  • Fix dry water-based markers with a few drops of water and vinegar and plastic wrap.
  • Use pliers to fix dry erase markers
  • Apply rubbing alcohol to the tips of dry permanent markers
  • Purchase replacement ink for your dry markers

We’ll also go over a couple of additional tips to keep your markers working like new for even longer!

How to Fix Dried out Markers in 5 Different Ways

1. Soak Dry, Water-Based Markers in Water

This solution works for all water-based markers. You’ll need:

  • A small bowl or container
  • Water

Follow these steps to fix your dry markers:

  1. Fill your bowl or container with warm (not hot) water. The smaller the bowl, the better—ideally only the markers’ tips will be submerged in the water.
  2. Remove caps and place the markers into the container tip-down. Only submerge the tip if possible. Fully-submerged markers will take longer to dry out.
  3. Wait five minutes, or until you see some ink bleeding into the water.
  4. Take the markers out and place them on paper towels or a rag you don’t mind having stained.
  5. Let the markers dry on the rag. This may take 15 minutes if only the tips were soaked, or up to 24 hours for markers that were entirely submerged in the water.
  6. Test the markers on paper. If the ink is too runny, allow them to dry longer.
  7. If the test works, replace the caps on all of your markers and enjoy their revival!

If soaking the markers in water doesn’t work, repeat the steps above with a vinegar-water solution or straight vinegar. If your markers still won’t write after all three attempts, you should purchase new markers.

2. Fix Dried-out Markers Using Plastic Wrap

Another way to fix dried-out markers that are water-based is to use plastic wrap. For this method, you’ll need:

  • A faucet
  • Plastic wrap
  • Small rubber bands

Here’s how to fix dry markers using plastic wrap:

  1. Turn on the faucet so that only a small stream of water is coming out of the tap.
  2. Run the markers’ tips under the water for a few seconds.
  3. Wrap the tips in plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band if needed.
  4. Wait 2-3 hours before testing.

If this method doesn’t work, you can also try dripping a few drops of vinegar onto the markers and seeing if that fixes them.

3. Use Pliers to Fix Dry Erase Markers

If your dry erase marker is giving you trouble, try this simple step. All you’ll need to get the job done is:

  • Pliers

Here’s how to fix dried-out dry erase markers:

  1. Grip the tip in the pliers and pull it out of the marker’s base.
  2. Turn the tip around and replace it, dry end facing the marker.
  3. Repeat as-needed or until the marker no longer works on either side.

Unlike the other methods, there is no wait time for this one. However, it will likely have limited uses as the tip becomes drier.

4. Use Rubbing Alcohol to Fix Dry Permanent Markers

If the ink in your permanent marker is no longer looking so, well, permanent, there is a way to fix them too! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A small container or bowl
  • Rubbing alcohol

Make sure that you don’t mind your container getting stained. This ink will likely be much harder to remove than the water-based markers we talked about above.

Once you’ve gathered your supplies, fix your dry permanent marker with these steps:

  1. Pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol into your container.
  2. Place your permanent markers tip-down into the rubbing alcohol. Only submerge the tips.
  3. Wait a few minutes.
  4. Replace the caps and allow your markers to dry for 1-2 days before use.

5. Purchase Replacement Ink

If none of these methods work and you don’t want to buy new markers, consider looking for replacement ink. This is a great way to reduce waste by reusing the markers you already have!

More Tips and Tricks

Always store markers tip-down. Gravity will work in your favor and the ink will stay close to the marker’s tip.

Lose the cap? Use plastic wrap to keep your marker fresh!

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