The Best Washable Markers For Kids (& Adults), According To An Expert

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Written by Candace Nagy
Little girl, a 3 year old girl, with a ponytail hairstyle in a multi-colored colorful striped jacket...

Creating art can be therapeutic and fun. But you know what’s not fun? Trying to get all those marker stains out of your kid's clothes or, even worse, out of your new white sofa. While, yes, kids are usually the ones making the mess, adults too can get a little wild with all those intricate coloring pages. That’s why the best washable markers come in a size and style that’s appropriate for the artist using them— from nontoxic washable markers for toddlers to washable watercolor markers for advanced artists. This list has something for everyone — even those working on fabric.

Permanent, alcohol-based markers not only stain skin and other surfaces, they’re also usually loaded with chemicals. That’s bad news for kids and adults. According to Jessica Kiss, D.O., family medicine physician, “Whenever possible with markers or other art supplies, you want to use something that is water-based. Typically [they] contain less harmful chemicals to children [so you] also want to make sure you always pick markers that are labeled nontoxic. Permanent markers can contain harmful solvents that can be toxic to small children [and adults].”

And those smelly markers? You can cross those off the list, too. Kiss says “I hate to be a buzzkill, but scented markers should not be used with small children. Yes, these seem fun and harmless, but you are teaching the child the habit that they should be sniffing markers to see what they smell like. This can be quite dangerous and it is hard to un-teach.”

For more experienced artists, it’s important to pay attention to the tip type, too. Finer, chiseled tips will allow for the focused coloring involved with adult coloring books, while broader tips can be good for creating bold lines and wide strokes. For ultimate versatility, spring for a dual-ended marker set so you always have the right tool for the job.

As you can see, choosing the right marker for the job is important. Ahead, the 11 best washable markers for every artist out there.

Best Washable Markers For Toddlers & Kids

1. These Ultra-Clean Washable Markers From Crayola

Crayola is a leader in the kid’s art supplies world, so of course these broad-line washable markers made the list. Since these are thick, they’re perfect for those tiny hands. And if they accidentally find their way into your kiddo's mouth, which is quite likely, you won’t have to worry because they’re also nontoxic and water-based. Designed for ages 3 and up, this pack contains 12 fun colors that will make your little one feel like a real artist!

Helpful Review: “Amazing! My son has colored everything from the coffee table to the floors with these, and they wash out every time!”

2. Some Washable Dot Markers For Mess-Free Creations

Toddlers who are still mastering their fine motor skills will love the ability to stamp away while creating their very own work of art with these Dot A Dot washable paint markers. And parents will appreciate this hassle-free painting that requires no water and paintbrushes — not to mention that they’re nontoxic and free of latex and gluten, too! The washable six-pack is designed for ages 3 and up, although several Amazon reviewers mentioned their two-year-olds were able to use them as well.

Helpful Review: “This is a great way to introduce arts and crafts to a young toddler. I have young twins and this product was easy to use and created little mess! There's lots of activities on Pinterest to use as they get a little older, as well. Easy to grip, washable, super easy to use! I'd highly recommend this product.”

3. These Triangular Markers For Better Grip

The triangular design of these Crayola My First Tripod washable markers is perfect for promoting the proper writing grip for toddlers just learning to draw and write — plus, the shape prevents them from rolling off the table. Altogether, there’s less frustration and more fun. Nontoxic and all the colors of the rainbow (plus some!) make this 8-pack a wonderful choice for beginner artists as young as 24-months-old.

Helpful Review: “Super easy to clean off of every surface that baby drew on (like wall, wood floor, and furniture). All I need is water. Baby absolutely loves these markers, too. Definitely recommended!!!”

4. A Set Of Washable Chalk Markers That Work On Everything From Mirrors To Chalkboards

These water-based chalk markers are ideal for creating that chalk effect without all of the cleanup. They’re also great for indoor use and those with sensory issues. They’re washable, reversible (choose from chiseled or rounded tips), and can be used on a variety of surfaces like windows, whiteboards, chalkboards, and more. The nontoxic set includes eight bright colors, and since it’s designed for ages 6 and up, it’s a great choice for your budding school-aged artist.

Helpful Review: “This product worked nicely with the first day of school chalkboard I purchased. The product was easy to remove and dried fast enough not to make a mess.”

5. A 36-Pack Of Washable Markers That Come In A Cute Travel Box

If you have a real Picasso in the making, this washable marker set includes a whopping 36 colors — plus the water-based markers have a unique tip design that allows for fine, medium, or bold strokes. The art possibilities are endless. Designed for ages 3 and up, the markers have a thick base that small hands can grip easily. Even better? The nontoxic markers come in an adorable storage box that’s great for travel.

Helpful Review: “Beautiful water colors ... perfect box container. I had ordered one set and the girls loved them. [...]Very nice colors - washable!”

6. These Washable Dry Erase Markers

Gone are the days of the old-school blackboards of our childhoods! Walk into just about any classroom today and you’ll see that whiteboards have replaced them. These Crayola Dry Erase washable markers are versatile enough for teachers, kids, and even the boardroom. With a nontoxic formula, they’re safe for ages 36 months and up, but since they feature finer tips, they’re probably best suited for slightly older kids.

Helpful Review: “I bought this to give as a gift. The reason I bought the Crayola brand is mostly because they wash clean from clothes and hands! Young kids sometimes like to draw on their arms and/or legs, and they usually end up with some markings on their clothes. Also, I've found that any of the Crayola brand markers don't dry out as fast as other brands if they are not used regularly, another big plus!”

Best Washable Watercolor Markers

7. A Set of Blendable Markers For Watercolor Masterpieces

Watercolor painting isn’t an easy skill to learn, but these watercolor markers make it that much easier. The brush tips provide new watercolor artists more control, while the included water brush makes blending a breeze. And since they're water-based, washing them out of clothes is no problem. The brand says the washable, nontoxic markers are for artists of all ages.

Helpful Review: “The brush tip is really nice; it seems easier to blend colors with it. The colors are very vibrant and lay down very easily without streaking or leaving wet marks. The tip is very pointy and is excellent for projects ranging from calligraphy to graphic work.”

Best Washable Dual-Tip Markers

8. This Comprehensive Set Of Double-Ended Marker Pens

If you’re looking for the convenience of two markers in one, this is the set for you! One side has a broad tip, ideal for drawing, while the opposite fine tip is great for outlines and even journaling. And the generous 36 colors is a huge plus. No specific age recommendation is provided for this set, but the markers are water-based and washable.

Helpful Review: “Really love them! Great for colouring or journalling or scrapbooking! Would really recommend these!”

9. A Super-Versatile Set Of Washable Fabric Markers

In a convenient 20-pack, this set of washable fabric markers is perhaps the most versatile set on this list. You can use them on fabric and paper, and since the markers are double-sided — with one side featuring a finer tip, the other a thicker one — you can really customize your art. While no specific age range is specified by the brand, the formula promises to completely disappear after a warm wash cycle.

Helpful Review: “These washable fabric markers are so fun. And they seriously wash right out in the washer. So no worries if the kids get it in their clothes.”

Best Bulk Washable Markers

10. A Bulk Order Of Classic Crayolas For Prolific Artists & Classrooms

If you’re a mom to an art-loving kid (or a few) or just want a year’s supply of markers so you’ll never run out right at that crucial moment when your child insists on drawing you a self-portrait, then you’ll want to buy this 12 pack of 10-piece boxes of Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable Markers. They feature the same reliable, nontoxic formula you’ve come to love, and they’re even washable on skin and walls.

Helpful Review: “My kid goes through A LOT of markers so buying them in bulk makes sense. Not much cheaper than buying the same number at a store, but saves me a trip and uncertainty of inventory. Works for me.”

11. An Even Bigger Order Of Markers For Schools & Parties

Need even more? These may not be packed individually like the bulk Crayolas above, but 240 loose markers in 12 classic colors is just the thing for classrooms or for hosting your very own art party! The markers are designed for kids ages 3 and up, and they feature a washable formula.

Helpful Review: “A nice variety of colors, lots and lots of markers. Gave as a gift. Was appreciated for her art class. A good value for the number of washable markers you get.”

Expert: Jessica Kiss, D.O., at Palos Verdes Medical Group