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Remove Permanent Marker From Formica Plastic Laminate

October 3rd, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

It’s funny how people who know nothing about working with plastic laminate will offer all sorts of ideas on how to remove permanent marker from cabinets or countertops made from Formica.  I’ve been working with laminate for over twenty five years now and there’s really only one solvent solution that works effectively for removing this kind of ink stain. Read

The best thing to use on a permanent marker stain on a cabinet or countertop is lacquer thinner. You can purchase the liquid at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ace Hardware or any cabinet supply company.

It will remove:

  • Grease build-up
  • Paint
  • Permanent Marker
  • Shoe Scuff Marks
  • Old Contact Glue

It’s a little pricey, but will do the job with very little effort. The product is available in small portions, like sixteen ounces. If you are anywhere near a cabinet shop, stop by with a glass jar, empty plastic milk jug or Tupperware container and ask for a small amount. This will save you from spending ten or twelve dollars.

To clean an area that has been stained, apply a small amount of the liquid to a clean white rag and gently wipe the marks off. Make sure that you do not use a colored rag because the paint thinner will cause the colors to bleed out of the rag and will go onto the surface of the cabinet or countertop.

Don’t worry about damaging the plastic laminate at all. We have been using this paint thinner for many years to clean Formica with.

  • A word of caution: Make sure that you do not get the chemical on your wood cabinets or wood floors. It is a solvent/thinner that will ruin the clear coat on a wood finish. It is also very important to avoid getting it on the wood edge on your countertop if you have one.

Be prepared to open the windows in the house, school room, or office when you remove permanent marker from plastic laminate. The liquid cleaner has an extremely strong odor. If you are working with a gloss laminate, clean the area well with Windex after removing the permanent marker from the Formica.


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  1. Dana Keller
    August 30th, 2011 at 15:46 | #1

    I recently had the permanent marker ink used to label a CD transfer to my white glossy formica countertop. I followed the instructions here using lacquer thinner to lift the ink and Windex to replace the shine. It worked perfectly!! Thanks!

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