Formica & Permanent Markers

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2012 • all rights reserved

This morning, Dave was writing on a piece of paper with a Sharpie on our Formica counter.  When he moved the paper, I was just sick.  The Sharpie had bled through and there were little black marks all over the Formica.  Sorry, no photos of this part of the operation . . . I was just thinking how to get it off.

The first several things I tried did absolutely nothing — dish soap with a scrubby, the Goo Gone, ammonia, even laundry soap didn’t even fade the spots.  Then I grabbed the Awesome. I should have known to try it first.

See the photo?  See that the Formica doesn’t have the measles?  Five minutes before, it was covered with black marks.  Now that’s Awesome!

Awesome — the full name on the bottle is “LA’s Totally Awesome” — seems to be safe to use on pretty much anything but always test in an inconspicuous place first.  It has no bleach or ammonia.  And while the bottle says “dilute before using,” the very fact that it’s in a spray bottle means that pretty much everyone uses it full strength right from the bottle.

I’d first become acquainted with Awesome in the Sea of Cortez, when a friend’s trawler had sunk and then was refloated by a large and very determined group of cruisers.  It’s a long and wonderful story of how you never know how a good deed will be repaid — the year before, the trawler, The Cat’s Meow, had saved numerous boats on the rocks after Hurricane Marty — read about saving Winsome here and now boats came from over 100 miles away to help her.  But I digress . . .

After she was re-floated and towed back to Puerto Escondido, everything aboard had to be taken off the boat and sorted into “trash” or “salvagable.”  And everything salvagable had to be cleaned.

Over 20 boats helped with the clean up, but we quickly exhausted the cleaning supplies we had on our own boats.  Then the local tienda donated a case of spray cleaner that they had just gotten in.  Awesome.  And pretty soon, the word was passed around: “Awesome is.”  It cleaned so much better and faster than anything else we were using!

At first, there were just one or two places on the Baja peninsula were you could buy Awesome — and cruisers would stock up on two or three bottles when they found it.  Now, it’s widely available.  In the US, I’ve bought it at dollar stores, Walmart, Dollar General and grocery stores, all pretty cheaply.  It’s available online from Amazon and others, but it’s generally more expensive.

On my counter, all I did was spray the Awesome on, let it sit maybe 15 seconds, then wipe it off with a rag.  No scrubbing or anything.  So if you see Awesome at the store, you might want to grab a bottle.  And I’ll bet you find a bunch of other uses for it besides permanent markers on the Formica!

NOTE:  Since I first wrote this, I’ve discovered Krud Kutter (read about it here) which I actually like better for most cleaning.  But it won’t take permanent marker off my Formica, so I’m not getting rid of the Awesome.

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  1. This stuff is…wait for it… Awesome. We find it at our local dollar store and have been practioners for several years! Red wine, black streaks and EveryThing in between!

  2. Magic Eraser also works, but you do have to rub a little. Any ideas for getting ink off closed cell foam cushions?

  3. Been using it for yrs. 🙂

  4. I also find that the magic eraser works for that and much, much more. We had a wine stain on our laminate countertop that was resistant to cleaning, but a few swipes of the eraser and it was gone. I am completely convinced that there are crushed unicorn horns and other (possibly nefarious) contents in that little sponge.

  5. I haven’t tried it [yet]. For the curious, the MSDS can be found here:

    It appears extremely benign compared to other cleaning agents.

  6. Awesome is awesome. Works in the laundry too.

  7. Use Magic eraser. It is lightweight, reusable and doesn’t put phosphates into the water.

  8. This stuff works AWESOME! I accidently got some black permanent marker on my light blue formica countertop and couldn’t get it off with anything. So I did an internet search, found this page and thought… “hey, I saw some of that stuff in the back room, I guess I’ll give it a try.” (It came with the new husband and cleaning supplies he had sitting around for years.) It worked like a charm. I did have to do a little scrubbing to get the last tiny little faintness out but it worked great. Totally Awesome! 🙂 Thanks for posting this!

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