Paint Care

How to Remove Paint Pen From Car? – 4 Methods

Written by Howell Crist / Fact checked by Sam Howard

how to remove paint pen from car

Even if you know how to remove paint pen from car, you could still end up damaging your car with abrasive materials and harsh chemicals. This is why it’s best to know multiple methods for car paint pen removal. If one method doesn’t work, you can always switch methods instead of using a stronger solvent or applying heavier/rougher pressure.

Keep reading to discover the four different ways you can remove paint marker stains from your car.

4 Easy Ways to Remove Paint Pen From Car

Method #1: Commercial Cleaning Pads


What to prepare:

  • Commercial Cleaning Pads
  • Water
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Cotton Cloth

Because this is such a common occurrence, a lot of companies have actually manufactured industrial-strength foam pads specifically formulated to remove tough stains.

If you are able to purchase melamine foam pads, polymeric foam pads, or similar products, proceed to Step 1 of this method.

Step 1: Wet Commercial Cleaning Foam Pad

Different products will have different directions for use. Generally speaking, most cleaning foam pads will typically need to be wet for successful application and paint removal. Wet the foam pad thoroughly, then squeeze out the excess water.

Step 2: Scrub Paint Pen Marks

Using moderate pressure, scrub the paint pen mark with the now-wet melamine or polymeric pad. Keep going until the stain is fully removed. If it’s considerably lighter but not completely gone, move on to Step 3. Otherwise, go directly to Step 4.

Note: most commercial cleaning foam pads are coarse enough to remove sharpie paint pen and marker stains but not abrasive enough to chip car paint.

However, it’s still best to err on the side of caution. If the paint pen stain doesn’t budge, try other paint pen removal methods instead of increasing the pressure.

Step 3: Apply Rubbing Alcohol

Usually, regular rubbing alcohol is strong enough to finish what the commercial cleaning pad has started.

If the stain isn’t completely gone, pour rubbing alcohol on a cotton cloth and rub it on the paint mark using circular motions.

Press down hard enough to allow the cloth fibers to penetrate the automotive paint pen stain. Keep rubbing in circular motions until it’s removed. Since cotton is soft and non-abrasive, you can increase the pressure as needed.

Step 4: Wash Area and Assess

Once you’ve successfully rubbed the stain off, wash the area with water. Then, assess the mark if there are still remnants or faint traces of the paint left, and repeat steps 3 and 4.

Once you’re certain the paint pen stain is no more, give the area one last rinse. Pat dry using a microfiber cloth or soft towel.

Method #2: Acetone


What to prepare:

  • Acetone/Nail Polish Remover
  • Water
  • Soft Cloth/Microfiber Towel

Acetone or nail polish remover is another fairly common way to get paint markers off car interiors.

Step 1: Spot Test

Before you apply acetone to the stain, you’ll need to do a spot test. Dab the acetone on an inconspicuous area of the car interior and let it sit for a few minutes. If the formula doesn’t damage the area, you can proceed to Step 2.

If it does damage your interior, quickly wipe it off with a clean cloth (to prevent the acetone from spreading) and try another removal method.

Step 2: Rub Out Stain Using Acetone and Cloth

Apply some acetone to a soft, clean cloth and then use that to gently rub the marker stain off. Use sure, controlled strokes with even pressure.

Keep going until the stain has been rubbed off.

Step 3: Rinse Area With Damp Cloth

Once the paint pen mark is gone, wet a clean cloth with cool water and use it to rinse the area. Blot or pat dry with a clean, soft cloth or microfiber towel.

Method #3: Whole Milk


What to Prepare:

  • Whole Milk
  • Cotton Cloth
  • Terry Cloth Towel
  • Soft Cloth/Microfiber Towel
  • Dishwashing Soap
  • Water

Another way to remove pen ink from the car exterior is by “soaking” the stain in whole milk. This method will require you to leave your car for a few hours – or overnight, in some cases – so ensure you have ample time to perform this task.

Step 1: Soak Cotton Cloth in Whole Milk

Apply whole milk to the vehicle paint pen stain by first soaking a cotton cloth in the milk. Make sure the cotton cloth is big enough to cover the stain.

Once the cloth is saturated, place it over the affected area.

The cloth may slide off if the stain is on the side of the car – like the car door or trunk. Have someone hold it or find some way to secure it while you prep for Step 2.

Step 2: Soak Terry Cloth & Place Over Cotton Cloth

Next, soak a large terry cloth towel in cool water and drape it over the milk-soaked cotton cloth. Then, find a way to anchor both pieces of cloth down and let them sit for 4-5 hours.

It may be tempting to check the status of the marks every now and then, but the cloth soaked in whole milk must stay in contact with the stain the entire time. Make sure you align both towels properly and do not remove them before the 4 or 5 hours are up.

Step 3: Remove Cloth & Check Stain

After 4-5 hours, remove both pieces of cloth. Use a fresh towel to check if the permanent marker stains can be lifted off. Microfiber towels or chamois would be best, as they’re gentle on car exteriors.

If the stain persists, repeat steps 1 and 2. Apply whole milk to the cotton cloth, wet the terry cloth towel again, and leave them in the same setup overnight.

If the stain can be lifted off, proceed to Step 4.

Step 4: Remove Permanent Marker Stain with Warm Water & Dish Soap

Mix a few drops of dishwashing soap in warm water. Then, dip the clean chamois or microfiber towel in the mixture and use it to wash off the whole milk and paint stain.

Repeat this step as many times as necessary to remove the paint marker completely.

Finally, rinse the area with cool, clean water (with no dish soap) and wipe or blot it dry.

Method #4: Isopropyl Alcohol & Paper Towel


What to Prepare:

  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Paper Towel

This method is solely for removing dealer marker paint from car windows. Dealers typically use these markers to write the price, features, or important details of a car on the windshield. So although they’re resistant to external elements, they’re not permanent.

Step 1: Pour Alcohol on Paper Towel

Apply a small amount of isopropyl alcohol on a clean paper towel.

Step 2: Rub Off Paint Marker from Glass

Gently rub the chalk marker stain off using the alcohol and paper towel. Use moderate pressure and circular motions. Repeat this step until the mark is completely gone.

What Removes Paint Marker From a Car?


There are multiple ways to get car marker off your car. A lot of them use inexpensive household items that are easily accessible. For instance, acetone (or nail polish remover), rubbing alcohol, and whole milk.

What’s important is that the product and cleaning method can remove tire paint pen marks and stains without damaging your car’s paint job.

That’s why it’s always best to do a spot test before applying any sort of solution to your vehicle’s surface. Regulating your pressure and using soft, non-abrasive materials against the car’s paint is also key.


Regarding vehicle cleaning and maintenance, it’s always best to be cautious. Even something as simple as washing your car can cause scratches and swirl marks, which bother a lot of car owners. That’s why it’s best to have options.

Now that you know how to remove paint pen from car using different products and methods, you’re less likely to damage the paint while eliminating permanent marker and paint pen stains.

5/5 - (3 votes)

Our chief editor is Sam Howard. The vast market of car care necessitates extensive research. He entered the market, experienced the service, and reported customer feedback in order to provide the best advice and content to car owners. We have faith in him to turn our website into a reliable resource for all car owners.

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