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Official Permanent Sharpie Marker Removal Thread


zi
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Official Permanent Sharpie Marker Removal Thread Poll  

19 members have voted

  1. 1. What's your preferred listed method?

    • Method #1
    • Method #2
    • Method #3
    • Method #4
      0
    • Method #5
    • Method #6
      0
    • Method #7
    • Method #8
      0
    • Method #9


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 OFFICIAL RECOMMENDATIONS ON HOW TO REMOVE INK FROM A NES PLASTIC CART


Method 1: Denatured Alcohol 
SUGGESTED BY: many members
METHOD: Apply denatured alcohol to area, then use cotton ball/q-tip/rag/paper towel/pencil eraser, rub the markered area- it will lift off the marker. This will have to be done several times for optimal results. 
VARIANT: Use an electric toothbrush.
CAUTION: Alcohol will damage labels. Apply only to the plastic markered area.

Method 2: Goo Gone
SUGGESTED BY: many members
METHOD: Apply goo gone and then rub the area with cotton ball/q-tip.
CAUTION: Too much goo gone will eat away at the plastic. 
CAUTION: Rubbing too hard will destroy the plastic.
CAUTION: Goo gone will remove the sticky and/or discolor your labels. Apply only to the plastic markered area.

Method 3: Magic Eraser
SUGGESTED BY: a few members
METHOD: Gently wipe with magic eraser pad. 
VARIANT: Add goo gone on magic eraser pad. 
CAUTION: May damage/discolor label.
CAUTION: May damage texture of plastic.

Method 4: Axe Body Spray
SUGGESTED BY: a few members
METHOD: Spray on, wipe or rub off.
CAUTION: Cart will smell like cologne. 
CAUTION: Will damage/discolor label.

Method 6: Nail Polish Removal
SUGGESTED BY: a few members
METHOD: Wipe nail polish removal on markered area- wipe off.
CAUTION: Reports of whitening or discoloration to plastic.
CAUTION: Will damage/discolor label.

Method 7: Dry Erase Marker
SUGGESTED BY: a few members.
METHOD: Scribble dry erase marker on the permanent marker then wipe off. The dry erase should pick up the permanent marker.
CAUTION: Mixed results with textured NES carts.
CAUTION: Might take up to four applications.

Method 8: Sunscreen
SUGGESTED BY: one member
METHOD: Apply sunscreen (unspecified spf) to markered area, let it sit, wipe off.
CAUTION: Unknown effects, sounds crazy.

Method 9: Brake fluid
SUGGESTED BY: a mess of members
METHOD: Rub on, rub off.
CAUTION: Keep the fluid away from the edge of the labels, where it can wick the fluid.

LABLES


Method 1: Insta Lift (which is a remover of paint, permanent marker and other materials)
SUGGESTED BY: a few members
METHOD: Rub it on, and immediately rub it off.
CAUTION: This works well for labels, but it will eat the plastic of your cart. 


Everyone has their favorite methods and it's STRONGLY recommended that you test these on a Silent Service cart before trying to clean up your Flintstones 2 or TMNT4 cart. 

I'm more than happy to update this hog if you have suggestions or want to tell me some method doesn't work. 

Edited by zi
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It's not a method, per se, but might I suggest leaving the marker where it is?  It tells a story of where the cart has been, gives it character, and makes it unique to your collection.  Marker and rental labels are the history of the cart, which you are now taking part in.  Isn't there an argument to be made that having a pristine collection shows one's dedication to fastidiousness, but not necessarily to one's love of the games themselves?  

 

Also, you skipped #5  😅.

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36 minutes ago, epiclotus said:

It's not a method, per se, but might I suggest leaving the marker where it is?  It tells a story of where the cart has been, gives it character, and makes it unique to your collection.  Marker and rental labels are the history of the cart, which you are now taking part in.  Isn't there an argument to be made that having a pristine collection shows one's dedication to fastidiousness, but not necessarily to one's love of the games themselves?  

 

Also, you skipped #5  😅.

I’m neurotic about stuff being essentially pristine. You should see my dress shoe collection, lol.

 

I’ve stocked up on Made in Mexico SNES games with the 40 manufacturing on the back label to swap out bad backs on more expensive games. I bought a bunch because they were cheap and I want to make sure the cart colors are a good match.

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1 minute ago, ICrappedMyPants said:

I’m neurotic about stuff being essentially pristine. You should see my dress shoe collection, lol.

 

I’ve stocked up on Made in Mexico SNES games with the 40 manufacturing on the back label to swap out bad backs on more expensive games. I bought a bunch because they were cheap and I want to make sure the cart colors are a good match.

I get that.  My local pawn shop has probably a couple hundred PS2 sports games that I'm considering raiding just to upgrade cases on games I already have.  I also have a stack of empty clear jewel cases to swap out for PS1 games.  I soooo get that.  I'm just trying to look at a different way, at least here and there.

I'm not playing devil's advocate, though, on the marker thing for carts.  It's something I've given a lot of thought to after I met a museum curator who told me how the pieces they have tell a story about the people that owned them.  He let me see a really old Bible they were researching, from like the 1400's, and how there were notes in the margins that made it a unique and interesting piece of history.  I've tried to adjust my own views on games with that idea in mind. 

There's a mindset that among collectors that we are all preservationists in some way, that our collections will someday be part of an archive, and we are simply the trustees of the items.  It's all a personal preference, of course, but I don't see many people talking about the alternative ways to "collect".  The value of a cart doesn't necessarily have to be tied to its financial worth.  

Some food for thought.  🙂

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I'm always left scratching my head at the popularity of the dry erase marker method, as it's literally the alcohol in their solution that does the job (which is what keeps the ink in the marker from setting and allows it to be wiped away--most of the time).  With this being the case, why not go whole hog and not take the additional risk of getting more marker dye onto a label or such?  Is it the novelty of it, where it's a self-contained item, whereas with alcohol you've got to have at least a couple of different items present to make it effective?  Honestly curious here, as the chemistry between the two is basically the same (with the markers having additional dye/ink for marking purposes).

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Member · Posted

I will say that as much as I stand by the brake fluid method, I've found that it seems to only work well/perfectly with "Sharpie" brand.  If the marker was a cheap knock-off brand, or a different type of marker, it doesn't work as well.

That said, there's something about the DOT-3 oil that breaks down the enzymes in Sharpie ink near-miraculously.  It might take a couple of applications, but it gets the ink 100% off.

I've never tried the dry-eraser method, and sounds like a good step-two.  Regarding cleaning the exterior of carts and the use of isopropyl alcohol, I almost never use it.  If there are faint, sticky dust marks or if a glossy label is dirty, I use it for a gentle cleaning with a q-tip.  Otherwise, I've found it to not be "harsh" enough on the gunk and I usually have to use a generous amount of elbow-grease to completely clean anything that's excessively dirty and for sticker residue, it's good for smearing that stuff around but not actually lifting it off the cartridge.  For me, that stuff is basically a last resort. It does work, but it's often not the best tool for the job.

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27 minutes ago, RH said:

I will say that as much as I stand by the brake fluid method, I've found that it seems to only work well/perfectly with "Sharpie" brand.  If the marker was a cheap knock-off brand, or a different type of marker, it doesn't work as well.

That said, there's something about the DOT-3 oil that breaks down the enzymes in Sharpie ink near-miraculously.  It might take a couple of applications, but it gets the ink 100% off.

I think the same is most likely true with other brands of marker (so long as they haven't permanently stained the plastic), as brake fluid, given enough time, will break down paint, pen, marker, etc.  I'd seen mention of this method on NA a few times but not really taken any stock in it one way or the other until I saw a few toy restoration videos on YouTube where the heavily stained/painted parts left to soak in it (either totally submerged, or just the stained/painted part being under the surface of the fluid).  While it can easily stain labels due to the paper they're made of, I've seen enough videos of pink/peach Action Man and Masters of the Universe toys coming back to life to firmly believe there's no real chance of it doing any damage to the plastic.  While it might take more than one application to remove some really old, stubborn marks, brake fluid still ought to do the job given enough time.  That's not to say that other methods should be used/attempted, but I don't think brake fluid should necessarily be relegated to the bottom of the pile because it's not necessarily convenient--maybe just left as the "big guns" option, the way Brasso is in regard to cleaning pins.

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Member · Posted
5 minutes ago, darkchylde28 said:

I think the same is most likely true with other brands of marker (so long as they haven't permanently stained the plastic), as brake fluid, given enough time, will break down paint, pen, marker, etc.  I'd seen mention of this method on NA a few times but not really taken any stock in it one way or the other until I saw a few toy restoration videos on YouTube where the heavily stained/painted parts left to soak in it (either totally submerged, or just the stained/painted part being under the surface of the fluid).  While it can easily stain labels due to the paper they're made of, I've seen enough videos of pink/peach Action Man and Masters of the Universe toys coming back to life to firmly believe there's no real chance of it doing any damage to the plastic.  While it might take more than one application to remove some really old, stubborn marks, brake fluid still ought to do the job given enough time.  That's not to say that other methods should be used/attempted, but I don't think brake fluid should necessarily be relegated to the bottom of the pile because it's not necessarily convenient--maybe just left as the "big guns" option, the way Brasso is in regard to cleaning pins.

This is a fair point, but for me when it comes to cleaning, I do not like using solvents or mechanisms that damage the cart.  A lot of people swear by Magic-Eraser.  Well, that does work well because it's basically fine-grit "sandpaper".  If you have a game with textured plastic, it rubs off the texture, and I'm not cool with that.  This is basically true too with toothpaste, brasso or any other fine-grit substances.

If someone is fine with stripping off a fine layer of plastic to get rid of the ink, then there are "better" mechanisms than the DOT-3 brake fluid.  However, if keeping your cart in good condition is key, then you have to look for solvents and, so far, Brake Fluid has been #1 for me.

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1 hour ago, darkchylde28 said:

I'm always left scratching my head at the popularity of the dry erase marker method, as it's literally the alcohol in their solution that does the job (which is what keeps the ink in the marker from setting and allows it to be wiped away--most of the time).  With this being the case, why not go whole hog and not take the additional risk of getting more marker dye onto a label or such?  Is it the novelty of it, where it's a self-contained item, whereas with alcohol you've got to have at least a couple of different items present to make it effective?  Honestly curious here, as the chemistry between the two is basically the same (with the markers having additional dye/ink for marking purposes).

I get that it's essentially the same chemistry but for whatever reason it seems to work better than using alcohol itself - maybe the lack of moisture?. One thing is, it's easy to control in that format and the chemical balance seems to be just right so that it eats up the marker but doesn't do much, if any, damage to the item. I draw right on top of the permanent marker so there isn't much risk of getting more ink on it if you take your time and just wipe as you're going along. I used to use alcohol with a Q-Tip but it often faded or made the colors run on boxes and manuals as it seemed to penetrate the surface much easier. 

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With the dry-erase marker technique there's way less rubbing involved and that's what I like.

I once managed to change the texture of the plastic by scrubbing intensively w/ alcohol once and my cart ended up with a noticeable shiny patch. Not doing that again.

As for using any products on label, one needs to make sure the coating is still intact under the residue you want removed. Wether it's goo gone, alcohol or a dry erase marker, you want none of it on exposed paper fiber.

Edited by WhyNotZoidberg
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1 hour ago, Andy_Bogomil said:

I get that it's essentially the same chemistry but for whatever reason it seems to work better than using alcohol itself - maybe the lack of moisture?. One thing is, it's easy to control in that format and the chemical balance seems to be just right so that it eats up the marker but doesn't do much, if any, damage to the item. I draw right on top of the permanent marker so there isn't much risk of getting more ink on it if you take your time and just wipe as you're going along. I used to use alcohol with a Q-Tip but it often faded or made the colors run on boxes and manuals as it seemed to penetrate the surface much easier. 

For boxes, labels, manuals, etc., basically anything that's paper and not plastic, you really ought to try out lighter fluid.  It can lift stains, remove stickers, etc., and leave the paper bits untouched afterward, so long as you let it dry out properly.  I can understand the level of control, and the preference in the case of paperwork, but honestly alcohol itself is just as effective on carts (and toys and walls, etc.).

48 minutes ago, WhyNotZoidberg said:

With the dry-erase marker technique there's way less rubbing involved and that's what I like.

I once managed to change the texture of the plastic by scrubbing intensively w/ alcohol once and my cart ended up with a noticeable shiny patch. Not doing that again.

As for using any products on label, one needs to make sure the coating is still intact under the residue you want removed. Wether it's goo gone, alcohol or a dry erase marker, you want none of it on exposed paper fiber.

Honestly, there doesn't have to be a ton of rubbing involved, as in non-label cases you should be able to just apply a little alcohol and let it sit.  Rubbing will make it work faster, but a little patience can do the job too.  Part of the issue with rubbing on a textured surface is folks' tendency to believe (consciously or unconsciously) that applying more pressure means that it'll work better.

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30 minutes ago, fsped09 said:

When has #7 not worked for people? I know on a NES cart there are times when the ink gets into the nooks and crannies of the texture, but after you've used the dry erase, rubbing alcohol gets the remainder pretty quickly.  

(raises hand)  The couple of cartridges that I picked up late in collecting life, after this method came to exist and became common knowledge, stood up and laughed heartily at this method.  Repeatedly pooling a little 97% rubbing alcohol on the plastic for a couple of minutes and gently wiping it away with a q-tip did the trick after a couple of tries while the marker removed exactly nothing.  I think the effectiveness really depends on the age of the marks you're trying to pick up.  If it's still anywhere near fresh and not "set," sure, dry erase will pick it up without an issue.  However, if you've got something where it's been "set" for a decade or more (likely the case in my instance), you're not going to see as much success, at least in the case of textured cartridges.

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  • 1 year later...
32 minutes ago, a3quit4s said:

Which method?

Very carefully used 70% IPA. No damage but still has some remnants of ink. The ink still looked shiny so it was probably less then 20 years old and the back label is semi glossy. That definitely helps.

Front label is cheaper quality so I'm not going to chance it. Early SNES games had a nice and glossy label which makes it much easier to remove marker.

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