Removing permanent marker from LEGO pieces

[From the question: How do I remove permanent marker or Texta from LEGO bricks? How to I remove ink from LEGO bricks? How do I remove pen or Biro marks?]

When working with older or second-hand LEGO bricks, it is not unusual to find some of the pieces have been marked with a permanent marker. This can be difficult to remove if it has been on the bricks for some time.

Ben Tomlins from Brickoholics has recommended the use of hand sanitizer to remove permanent marker. He found it was removed without any damage to the print – something that is quite important to those wishing to use the parts for other creations.

Photo credit: Ben Tomlins

The active ingredient is a form of ethanol (alcohol), which dissolves the ink. If you don’t have any hand sanitizer to hand, the following products will produce a similar result:

  • Whiteboard markers – draw over the permanent marker and wipe off. This is the method commonly used by teachers to remove permanent marker from whiteboards
  • Isopropyl Alcohol – available from some supermarkets and pharmacies. Use on the end of a cotton bud or cloth
  • Hand or sanitizing wipes (such as Wet Ones) – check that it has alcohol as an active ingredient as there are a number of brands that are “alcohol free”
  • Methylated spirits
  • Shaving foam/lotion/creme  – most of these contain low levels of alcohol in the form of glycerol

Other products that can be used to a lesser extent include:

  • Eucalyptus oil – use sparingly as it may melt the LEGO brick
  • Magic Eraser (white sponges) – will remove the ink but may also remove the print and may dull the surface of the brick.

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