how to remove pencil marks from wood
Kristina Davis

If you’ve noticed that you have pencil marks on your wood table or other wood furniture, you’re probably wondering how to remove pencil marks from wood.

Nothing ruins the aesthetic your wood furniture provides or its value like lead pencil markings on the surface or other areas.

You may have accidentally gotten pencil marks on the wood from doing assignments at the table. Or when you were building something out of wood and using a pencil to mark where you need to saw.

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This leaves the marks on can ruin the look you’re going for.

Removing pencil marks from wood isn't difficult. You can often resolve the issue by using a standard eraser or other common household products like rubbing alcohol.

How to Remove Pencil Marks From Wood

removing pencil marks

Removing pencil marks from wood isn’t super challenging and something everyone who owns wood furniture or builds it should know how to do.

In fact, there are a few ways you can approach removing these marks from your wood furniture.

Whether you’re looking for how to remove pencil marks from stained wood or another type, here are some of the best ways to do so and get your furniture back to normal.

Try the Eraser First

The easiest way to remove pencil marks from all wood is to use an eraser. Yes, it can be that simple, but it isn’t always.

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You’ll want to take a soft rubber eraser and gently rub it on the pencil markings.

Using an eraser should do the trick as long as the markings aren’t very deep.

try the eraser

You can remove almost all pencil markings for classic number two pencils this way.

If you’re using a harsher pencil like a number six, you may not be able to rely on this method alone.

Tip: While the eraser on a pencil can do it, it's not the best eraser to use for pencil marks on wood.

There are larger and more sturdy erasers that aren’t connected to pencils that work much better.

Vinyl tends to be the best option rather than the rubber that comes with the pencils.

Remember that you don’t want to be aggressive about it when trying this step. If you’re too aggressive, you can cause damage to the wood and its finishes.

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The best part about this step is that you can try it on unfinished, finished, and painted wood.

After you’ve tried to use the eraser and can’t seem to get the marks out, there are other steps you can try.

How to Get Pencil Marks Off Unfinished Wood

pencil marks on unfinished woods

Unfinished wood hasn’t received any finishing, like a protective layer or wood stain on top of it.

Unfinished wood is essentially the purest form of wood you can find for furniture.

Tip: Most people don't have this type of wood lying around unless you're building something.

If you’ve gotten pencil marks on your unfinished wood, you can remove it with warm water and a magic eraser or similar product.

You can use a rubber eraser to remove surface lead marks, but this product is ideal for the deeper and darker areas.

It won’t cause damage to the wood, and since it’s unfinished, it won’t remove any finishing, stains, or paint, leaving it in the same condition it was before the pencil marks.

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You can also try using warm water, dish soap, and a towel. You may need to repeat wiping the marks down several times before seeing a difference.

How to Get Pencil Marks Off Finished Wood

How you’ll remove pencil marks from finished wood and how to get pencil marks off stained wood are the same.

Wood stains are considered a type of finish, and when removing pencil marking, you don’t want to strip the wood of its finish.

While you can always restrain or refinish the wood, it can be a hassle and preventable if you use the proper tools to remove the pencil markings.

pencil marks on finished woods

This process is a bit more challenging than removing the markings from unfinished wood because, typically, you’re not just getting lead marks on the wood.

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You’re also getting dents in the wood.

This is because the lead from the pencil needs to push through the finish to leave the stain.

You’ll need a clean rag or towel and isopropyl or denatured alcohol for this process.

Isopropyl alcohol is an excellent cleaning solution that works well on finished wood without stripping the finishing.

You’ll add a few drops of the alcohol solution to your rag and gently rub the pencil markings.

You’ll want to work in small sections, following the wood’s grain when doing this.

Tip: You may have to repeat this process a few times if you see that the marks are still there.

How to Get Pencil Marks Off Painted Wood

Now that we’ve tackled how to remove pencil marks from unfinished and finished wood, what about painted wood?

While some people consider painting a finish, and it may as well be, you can’t use the same steps and methods on painted wood that you would on finished wood.

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pencil marks on painted woods

When removing pencil marks from painted wood, the idea is to avoid stripping the wood of the paint.

Tip: If you're planning on repainting the furniture, then you may not care if paint comes off with pencil marks.

Using isopropyl alcohol to remove pencil markings on painted wood can cause the paint to smear and come off.

To remove pencil marks from painted wood, you can use a few methods and tools.

You can use almost any non-abrasive cleaner to help remove pencil marks from painted wood.

The non-abrasive nature will help make sure that the paint stays in place as you wipe away the lead marks.

Another option you have is using a rag and all-purpose cleaner. You’ll spray the cleaner onto the rag, not the furniture, and then start wiping in the direction of the pencil marks.

Like with the other cleaning options on other wood, you may have to repeat this process a few times to get all of the pencil marking off.


popular questions

If you still have questions about removing pencil marks from wood, here are some of the most frequently asked questions and their answers on the topic.

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Can You Use a Magic Eraser to Remove Pencil Marks?

It depends on what type of wood you’re using it on. Magic Erasers are known for helping remove crayons off walls and other surfaces.

But you or anyone else shouldn’t use these tools on finished food since they can strip the finish off with the pencil markings.

Can You Paint over Pencil Marks?

If you don’t want to take the time to remove the pencil markings, or you truly can’t get them out, yes. You can paint over pencil marks on any wood furniture.

This also applies to adding wood stain to the wood. You may need to choose a dark color or use several coats of a lighter one to hide the graphite marking.

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Final Thoughts

How to remove pencil marks from wood is something everyone should know if they live in a house with wood furniture or are building wood objects.

Accidents happen, and pencil marks can end up on wood furniture.

If you need to remove lead marks from your wood table or other wooden furniture, how you’ll do so will depend on whether you have unfinished, finished, or painted wood.

Either way, the simplest way to remove the marks is to try a vinyl or rubber eraser first.

More often than not, the erasers will do the trick. If they don’t, there’s no reason to panic. Removing the stains is still manageable as long as you use the proper tools for the type of wood you have.