An expert weighs in on viral cleaning hacks: 'Do they really work?'

We asked a cleaning expert how these hacks scrub up.

Anyone with children will know how frustrating it can be to find permanent marker all over furniture, doors, floors and well, just about anything.

But according to mums in an online cleaning group, plenty of unlikely household items can work as fuss-free stain removers. But do they really work?

Sharing a post to the Facebook group Cleaning & Organising Inspiration Australia, one mum asked for advice on removing permanent marker from her door.

Sharing a picture of the scribbled work of a little artist, dozens of people offered their tips. But surprisingly cleaning products weren’t the most popular options.

Instead, people suggested everything from sunscreen to WD40 to remove the marks.

“Personally hair spray has worked wonders to remove permanent markers off furniture and walls. It's the only reason we have hairspray in the house,” one person said, adding that she should use caution when using it.

Permanent Marker Cleaning hacks
The permanent marker artwork well and truly took over the entire door. Photo: Facebook

“Sounds silly but get a whiteboard marker and go over it, another said.


“We used to use Glen 20 to get permanent marker off of plastic buckets - maybe try that, but just do a small test first to make sure it doesn’t strip the paint,” a third chimed in.

Her cry for help racked up over 600 comments from fellow mums with differing advice on what she should use and the suggestions definitely got a little weird.

Among the odd recommendations that came flooding in were Aeroguard, sunscreen, lemon essential oil, hand sanitiser, hair spray, toothpaste, fly spray, nail polish remover, shaving cream and even deodorant.

A lot of comments came from tried and tested methods with fellow group members saying they had tried the bizarre suggestions, but they had worked.

Permanent Marker Cleaning hacks
Hairspray was just one of the many suggestions for removing the stains, Photo: Getty

But cleaning and organisation expert Anita Birges says before using any of these home remedies, it’s important to first think about the surface you are removing the marker from.

She says the big difference in what works to remove the marker will depend on the type of paint on the walls or doors. Using hair spray could damage the paint and cause more problems than just permanent marker.

“Whatever it is that you want to try to remove permanent marker, it’s best to use it in an inconspicuous spot first to see how well it works and whether it impacts the paint or surface,” Anita says.


She says some household items like toothpaste or sunscreen will work, but the trick to not damaging a surface further is letting it lift the stain out instead of scrubbing it out.

“Don’t just spray it and start scrubbing. If you wait a few minutes you will see the marker starting to dissolve,” She says.

Permanent Marker Cleaning hacks

“Once this starts to happen do not start scrubbing, just give it a light wipe once the stain is lifted with a microfibre cloth.”

But if there is one cleaning product she swears by when rehoming tough stains like permanent marker, it's Diggers graffiti remover from Bunnings.

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