How Do You Rehydrate Felt Tip Pens, Gel Pens, and Markers?

While you probably wish to save the ink left in your dried markers, others would simply throw the pens away without giving it a second thought. You’ll be pleased that you can now keep them around for longer. So how do you rehydrate felt tip pens and markers? You can’t believe it’s actually quick, easy, fun, and rewarding.

colorful markers

Inks in general can lose their effectiveness after only a few usages, especially if you accidentally leave them in a hot area. Drying out is another issue with felt pens, gel pens, dry-erase, and even permanent markers. Fortunately, since these liners are really just weaker versions of conventional pens, you can rehydrate them.

Nothing is worse than having your pen to skip in color, scratch, or smudge in the middle of a project. Before you ditch those markers you thought are useless, read on for some tricks to reviving them!


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How Do You Rehydrate Felt Tip Pens 

Step 1:

Moisten the tip of the marker by damping it wet or under slow-flowing water. Estimate the right amount of wetness as there are thin and chubby markers. So a quick drop of water for the thin ones may do and a little bit more for the fat group.

Step 2:

Wrap the tip of the marker with a cling film or any plastic material to hold the moisture in their felts. You can put a thin slice of tape to help the plastic tight and air-free.

Step 3:

Leave it fully covered for a few hours. For best results, place them away from heat or spaces where the sun is blasting. It may dry them up. Then remove the plastic wrap and test it out.

Effects and Results

Thinner markers are those with fine points that you typically use for writing. The dry-erase markers are quite thin. This party could get back to life and work after a few hours. The thicker ones may need more time. Sometimes, you may need to repeat the process and try again. It may even help to position the markers upside down to help the ink pool up and go denser.

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How Do You Rehydrate Dried Out Gel Pens

The ink in gel pens is perhaps the smoothest flowing ink I’ve ever known. But due to the water-based feature, it is prone to be clogged or dried out. As a result, many gel pens will stop giving you the wonderful lines they used to show. This is the main issue with gel pens – they can stop writing nicely when not constantly used.

Trick # 1:

Dislodge any possible air bubbles by shaking the pen. After a few shakes, try writing it to encourage the ink to flow again. Shake and write in-between until the ink will run.

Trick # 2:

Unbolt or unfasten the top of the gel pen. You can do this by twisting the metal point area and slowly pull it off. Using a water dropper, gently add a drop or two of water into the ink. Return the metal tip and gently shake to awaken the ink. If it still doesn’t write, add another drop of water and try again.

Trick # 3:

Soak the entire pen in warm (but not hot) water for 5 to 10 minutes. This effort is to thaw the hardened liquid ink with slight heat all over the pen. Shake and keep writing until the ink flows out.

permanent marker

How to Revive a Permanent Marker

In permanent inks, the pigments, and dyes are usually dissolved in water and glycol. When these substances evaporate, the pigments and dyes soak into the paper, leaving a mark that will last a long time, if not forever.

With Alcohol

Pour rubbing alcohol into the marker’s cap and soak its tip into it. When the ink starts to swish out with the water, remove and return to its original capped state. Leave for at least 15 to 20 minutes to allow the solution to moisten the dried area.

You can also use a few drops of denatured alcohol right into the marker’s tip. This type of alcohol is a bit stronger than rubbing alcohol being a solvent and a fuel additive.

Without Alcohol

Place the whole tip of the marker into a glass of hot water (below boiling point) for about 10 minutes. You will see the ink swirling from the tip of the marker into the water.

When the Tricks Do Not Work

There’s no exact prescription as to how long the markers will actually get back to work. It depends on the quality of the brand, how long the markers have been dried out, and the strength of the dryness, which is influenced by the storage environment’s room temperature.

Keep repeating the simple steps until you get the markers to the desired wetness. To encourage the ink to flow through the tip, spin them with the right side up, turn them upside down, and try writing. In my third attempt, I was able to revive a couple of extremely dried markers. I tried it again after letting the markers rest for a day, and this time it worked!


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7 Ways to Preserve Gel, Felt, and Other Markers

These writing implements’ usefulness may be reduced by improper storage. Even if you’re lucky enough to get them to operate, the likelihood is that they will perform less smoothly or have less brilliant colors. By the time they cut the lines you are making or have color skipping already, you will hate them.

So to continue your loving relationship together, remember these storing tips and work together until their last drop of ink:

Check, Mark, Orange, Tick, Symbol, Icon, Sign, IsolatedSee to it that your markers are tightly capped after use even if manufacturers claim that you can leave them uncapped for a few minutes.  Remember that all inks dry and normally evaporates from the pen.

Check, Mark, Orange, Tick, Symbol, Icon, Sign, IsolatedStore your gel pens vertically with the cap tip facing down. This way the ink stays at the nib and is ready to go for your use. Since they are densely collected, there will be no slipping or streaking in their performance.

Check, Mark, Orange, Tick, Symbol, Icon, Sign, IsolatedIf you’re using dual-ended markers, store them horizontally. Positioning them on their ends can pool the ink at one tip and leave the other to dry out. Storing them flat will also help as the ink is resting in the barrel evenly and consistently.

Check, Mark, Orange, Tick, Symbol, Icon, Sign, IsolatedFind a special container intended for these pens. This helps protect the pens from falling and affecting the density of their ink.

Check, Mark, Orange, Tick, Symbol, Icon, Sign, IsolatedWhen using gel pens a lot in one sitting, put them on a cup where it makes it easy to pick and hold a color you need. Sometimes, digging can cause the pens to slip, roll, and fall on the floor.

Check, Mark, Orange, Tick, Symbol, Icon, Sign, IsolatedStore all these pens in a cool spot in your house or classroom. Not inside your car or near the window where the sun can strike hot. It can be a vexing surprise to have all of your markers dry when you needed them.

Check, Mark, Orange, Tick, Symbol, Icon, Sign, IsolatedIf a pen seems not working, control the urge to tap its tip part on hard surfaces. You don’t want the ink to clog at the tip.


Try this fix for alcohol markers that have gone dry. Watch the video below.

To Sum it up

I used to simply discard dried-up markers. Now, I have learned quick step process for saving them. Wish I had learned these tricks earlier. How many markers have I thrown away believing they were useless when they still had a lot of life in them? I can’t even begin to count.

It makes no difference whether it’s a fine point, dry-erase, or chunky marker. They all can be extended. The great thing is these tricks work with any brand.

Do you have any experience with extending the life of classroom markers? How nice it would be if you could share them with us in the comments.