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I tried this TikTok toothpaste hack to remove permanent marker — here's what happened

Colgate toothpaste and toothbrush
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

It can be a nightmare when you see permanent marker stains on your surfaces. Whether it’s accidental or children displaying their artistic talents on the furniture, getting rid of permanent marks seems impossible to remove. Well, this latest TikTok toothpaste cleaning hack is trending, and you can see why.

Posted by TikTok user hometalk with the caption "Permanent marker on your table? Try this genius cleaning trick!”, it shows the word ‘marker’ written on a table in a permanent marker pen. He then adds Colgate toothpaste onto a microfiber cloth before rubbing onto the permanent marker until it disappears. Impressive! 

Apparently, permanent markers are not so permanent after all, and this toothpaste cleaning hack is meant to work on any type of surface. 

While we’ve seen all the hacks about what makes baking soda and white vinegar so good at cleaning, it seems the humble toothpaste needs to shine. What’s more, we all have toothpaste in the house so we don't even need to buy expensive stain removers. 

I decided to put my toothpaste to the test on an old plastic bowl, as I didn’t fancy permanent marker stains all over my tables. As impressive as the TikTok clip seemed, I wasn’t taking any chances. So here’s what happened. 

@hometalk

♬ Break It Down - Clutch

How to remove permanent marker with toothpaste

Blob of toothpaste on cloth

Blob of toothpaste on cloth (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

First, squeeze a pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto a clean, dry microfiber or lint-free cloth.  Use a white toothpaste and not a gel one, as these contain dyes which may transfer and stain your surface.

Rubbing off permanent marker off plastic bowl

Rubbing off permanent marker off plastic bowl (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Next, rub the toothpaste into the mark in a circular motion until the mark has gone.  

Rubbing permanent marker off plastic bowl

Rubbing permanent marker off plastic bowl (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I noticed straight away that the permanent mark was starting to fade as I was rubbing in the toothpaste. After cleaning for about 10 seconds, the pen mark had completely disappeared. My plastic bowl had no traces of permanent marker on it and I was pleasantly surprised! 

What makes toothpaste so good at cleaning? 

Toothpaste on brush

Toothpaste on brush (Image credit: Shutterstock)

As well as cleaning our pearly whites, toothpaste is a mild abrasive that often contains baking soda. This makes it abrasive enough to easily remove stains and scuffs on any surface or walls around the home. 

Avoid using gel pastes as these often contain dyes which might transfer. If you’re decorating though, you’d probably need to know how to clean painted walls to remove stains before you start. 

Cynthia Lawrence specialises in Homes ecommerce, covering all things homes and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 


Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.


With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!