The joy of whiteboard markers

The joy of whiteboard markers

By Emily Hayes


There are few joys at work like pulling the cap off a brand new dry-erase marker, ready to drop some whiteboard knowledge in multiple colors. Amiright? Not so much? Okay, maybe it’s just me. Nonetheless, whiteboard markers are a must when it comes to supplies for work. No fully stocked supply closet is worth its weight in Post-it notes without whiteboard markers.


The whiteboard marker was invented in 1975 by a man named Jerry Woolfe, nearly 20 years after the whiteboard was invented! Dry-erase markers evolved from wet markers, which required a damp towel to be cleaned… or a whole new whiteboard. Just kidding. Wet markers were generally used on sheets for overhead projectors. Not long after the invention of the dry-erase marker, Woolfe sold the patent to Pilot Pens.


Whiteboard markers have evolved over the years, adding more color options and removing harmful, foul-smelling chemical solvents. Today’s whiteboard markers use alcohol-based, non-toxic solvents.


So, we know you’re wondering, “what are the most pressing dry-erase questions today?” NPP experts are here to share the scuttlebutt from businesses coast to coast.


Can you use whiteboard markers on paper?
Dry-erase ink works on regular paper, but be aware of two things: 1.) When used on paper the mark is permanent. I repeat, you cannot remove dry erase markers from paper so don’t blame me if you make this mistake. 2.) The tip can become damaged if you use it on regular paper. You’ll need to replace them more often. Luckily, NPP members get deals on work supplies from brands such as Staples.


Pro tip: If you really want to use a marker on paper, try a Sharpie or any other marker that is specifically meant for paper. #DroppingKnowledge


How do they work?
Most whiteboard markers consist of three components: color pigment, a solvent and an oily silicone polymer (also known as a “release agent”). Whereas permanent markers use an acrylic polymer that helps the pigment stick to surfaces, the oily silicone polymer not only helps the ink dry quickly but also acts as a barrier to prevent the color pigments from binding to the surface! Whoa, science.


What else can dry-erase markers do?

You can use dry erase markers to remove markings from permanent markers. Mind… blown. The solvent used in dry erase markers will dissolve most permanent marker inks. All you need to do is scribble over the permanent mark and wipe away with a paper towel. It may take a couple of tries to clean it off entirely (and, according to legal, it may not work), but this is a hack we had to share!


Now revel in the joy of whiteboard knowledge! Cover that whiteboard on Fridays or any other day of the week! If you don’t have a whiteboard or the markers to use on it, check out discount office supplies from NPP. We have a lot of useful business discounts for all types of overachievers… and the companies that employ them.


Eligible businesses can join NPP for free and you don’t have to purchase. Peruse the selection of great offers at (click above).


Need to know more about whiteboard markers (we thought so!). We recognize some of the information from this stellar article.