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Parenting tip: Removing permanent marker from your devices

A few years ago, I had the unfortunate experience of leaving my Mac unattended for a few minutes while I got something to eat. Little did I know while I was making some food, my then 4-year-old son had found a Sharpie and was writing all over the screen of my MacBook Pro. When I returned, I wanted to cry. My lovely laptop display was covered from edge to edge with black scribbles. If you find yourself in this circumstance, don't despair as there is an easy solution -- dry erase markers!

It defies conventional wisdom, but I have found that dry erase marker is excellent at removing permanent marker from hard surfaces. All I had to do to remove the permanent marker from my screen was re-scribble over the permanent marker ink with a dry erase marker (any color will do as shown above), wait 20 seconds and wipe with a paper towel. A screen cleaner will remove any residue from the dry erase marker. It took 10 minutes and a bit of scrubbing, but the permanent marker was successfully removed.

Now before you go drawing on your iMac to make sure it works, I will caution you that this is not foolproof. If the material is porous like leather, the permanent marker will be absorbed into the material, and the dry erase marker will only be able to remove some, but not all of the markings. Also, the longer the markings stay on the device the harder it may be to get them off.

I've tested it at home and can confirm this dry erase marker trick works great on the aluminum casing of the iPad (see above), iPhone, Mac mini and MacBook Pro. It also works well on the glossy or matte screen of a MacBook Pro. Accessories also are safe as the dry erase marker removes scribbles from the Magic Trackpad, Magic Mouse and Apple Wireless keyboard. You don't have to worry about permanent marker on the screen of your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch as the oleophobic coating doesn't allow the permanent marker to stick.

If you don't have a dry erase marker, then a harsher solvent like WD-40 or Goo Gone may work, but they are not as effective as the dry erase marker. Do you have any home remedies that work for removing permanent marker from items around the house? If so, share your horror story and the remedy in the comments.

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