How to Remove Permanent Marker from a Doll’s Face


Cath asked: How do I remove permanent marker from a doll’s face? The head of the doll is hard, and the body is soft. The marker is just on the head.

When permanent marker lands on unwanted surfaces, it can be tricky to remove. Fortunately, this is not a new problem and there a host of options to choose from. Use the items and steps below to remove the unwanted marks.

You Will Need:

  • Cotton swabs or cotton balls
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Nail polish remover (with acetone)
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
  • Soft cloths
  • Mild soap
  • Water

Steps to Remove the Marker:

  1. For the purposes of this guide, we will work our way through the products above, however, if you don’t have one of them on hand, feel free to skip a step and move onto the item that is available.
  2. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are great for removing all kinds of stains. Simply moisten the sponge and rub it over the marker. If it doesn’t remove all of the marks, continue on with the next step.
  3. Moisten a cotton swab or cotton ball with rubbing alcohol. Rub the alcohol over the marked surface. If the doll has other paints and colorings on the surface, use the cotton swab for better accuracy.
  4. Nail polish remover is another great at-home product for removing permanent marker. Again, moisten the cotton ball or swab with the remover and rub it over the affected area.
  5. Once the stain is removed, clean the surface with soap and water to remove any residue from the cleaning products.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • While these methods will remove the marker, they can also remove the coloration that is used to add details to a doll’s face. If there is other paints/marking on the doll that you don’t removed, use the cotton swabs and watch closely as you are cleaning to ensure they are not being rubbed away with the marker.


  1. Hannah says:

    My friend and I were making clothes for our Ever After High dolls and my friend accidentally got Sharpie on her doll. We tried all of these and they didn’t work. The last thing we tried was nail polish remover and it took paint off her lips and smeared her eyeball. So these things do not work; do not follow these tricks.

  2. Aubrey says:

    This was so useful for me :)

  3. Lynn H says:

    None of these worked for us. I got Sharpie on my daughter’s Monster High doll and none of these worked. Prior to reading these tips, I tried a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, and I also tried the nail polish remover… no luck :(

  4. Lily Lucy says:

    Nail polish remover can take off a Barbie’s makeup and eyes.

  5. Don P says:

    None of these work on the face of a Barbie. I also tried acetone and a citrus-based paint remover, all with no effect. As a last resort, I tried sanding the face with sandpaper with no luck. My solution…$15 for a new doll.

  6. Diamond says:

    Do generic Magic Erasers work on Monster High dolls?

  7. Rosemarie says:

    I have a doll with a beautiful face that is rubber. My grandaughter wrote with purple permanent marker on the face. I just hate to throw it away. I have tried Goof Off, alcohol, Purell hand sanitizer and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Nothing worked. Is there anything else I can try? Is there a paint for rubber surfaces that I could use? I could paint the hair and maybe touch-up the face with a flesh color as long as it wouldn’t peel off.

  8. Melanie says:

    There are many solvents that could possibly remove the marker. You can try nail polish remover, baking soda toothpaste (or just baking soda mixed with water), hairspray, baby wipes, sunscreen, WD-40, insect repellent or even dish liquid. You may want to test each one on a hidden spot first to check for any adverse reaction.
    There are a variety of paints that can be used on dolls. If you need to repaint the doll’s face, you could take the doll to a craft store for help determining the exact paint that would be best for your doll. Different types of paint may also be better for different aspects of the painting. Another option is to have the doll professionally restored.

    Source: – How to Clean Permanent Marker
    Source: Prilly Charmin Dolls – Coloring Vinyl: Overview
    Source: Mandaline Artful Living – A Classic Baby: Repainting a Rubber Doll

  9. Gabrielle says:

    I tried nail polish remover and my MH doll has no eyes now.

  10. Amber says:

    To anyone reading this: try an acne cream that has 10% benzyl peroxide. Leave it on for a few hours under a lamp and it will fade it away! Got that tip from No Nap Time!

  11. Kayla says:

    Didn’t work for me. Going to try acne cream. My four-year-old made her doll into a kitty.

  12. Pam says:

    I tried all these methods except the acne cream & did not work on removing ink from a rubber doll. What I did get to work was a pumice that you use on your feet for callouses. My ink was on the foot of the doll. It took it off with lots of scrubbing. However, some of the color of the skin came with it. In my case, it did not matter; the doll skin was very light. I just took the pumice to the good foot a little to match the color of the two feet better. Worked for me.

  13. Martha says:

    I tried it and it did not work, but then I made a mixture of peroxide and baking soda, and it worked.

  14. Judy says:

    I have used dry erase marker to dissolve permanent marker. Green works the best, seeming to leave little or no stain. Do not use blue or red dry erase markers. They leave a stain. This works especially well to get permanent marker off CHILDREN!

  15. Destiny says:

    My MH doll got sharpie on her face and I used the steps, but it didn’t help; it made it worse and turned her lips and eyes crappy and messed up, so I looked up a method and it said deodorant, and it worked.

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