Odor-free dry-erase markers
March 29, 2010 3:59 PM   Subscribe

Are any dry-erase whiteboard markers genuinely odorless (or close)?

I like writing on whiteboards, but I hate the scent of dry-erase markers and the way it permeates a room for days. So I should just buy some Low-Odor Markers, right?

Easier said than done. All the big marker brands seem to claim low-odor status, but I haven't found any that live up to that lofty promise. I did once manage to find some dry-erase markers that smelled okay -- only to discover that they didn't work on whiteboards.

Has anyone found a whiteboard marker that actually doesn't produce choking fumes? Don't make me resort to chalk, people.
posted by decagon to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: What about white board crayons? e.g. 1 2
posted by sentient at 4:30 PM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Not odor free, but for me the most tolerable have been the Expo black (not the colours). I'll be watching this thread closely.
posted by kch at 4:38 PM on March 29, 2010

There's a brand called AusPen that makes "eco friendly" whiteboard markets. They're refillable (their main selling point), and supposedly extremely low odor. If the xylene is really the main cause of the smell, then maybe these are worth a try.

You can read a bit more about (and buy) them here. Some of the sets are sold out at the previous link, but you can get them elsewhere.

Here's another xylene free brand, which could be worth checking out.

For all we know, though, whatever they use instead of xylene doesn't smell great either...
posted by sentient at 5:15 PM on March 29, 2010

does it need to be dry-erase? there are chalk-ink markers, like the pentel wet-erase chalk marker. (it writes like a marker, not like chalk.)

(disclaimer: we sell these at the art supplies store that i co-own.)
posted by jimw at 6:05 PM on March 29, 2010

You can just search for "odorless dry erase marker" and lots of stuff comes up.
posted by Dr. Wu at 7:58 PM on March 29, 2010

You want the alcohol-based markers, rather than the petroleum-based markers. Expo2 has been marketed as such but I am sure there are more niche ones for that purpose.
posted by Danf at 8:19 PM on March 29, 2010

What if you get them with scents like cherry, chocolate, licorice, etc. rather than unscented?
posted by CathyG at 8:56 PM on March 29, 2010

God, the scented Expos are amazing. I don't know how they completely mask the odor but several in our office have taken to... well... enjoying them a bit too much. It's a good thing they're non toxic.

The Expo 2 are the "low odor" brand. Low odor may not seem like much until you accidentally switch back to regular Expo markers and find yourself fumigated by a few pen-strokes.

In short, seriously consider the scented ones. They're delicious.
posted by disillusioned at 3:05 AM on March 30, 2010

In my experience, "low-odor" dry-erase markers don't work as well as the regular kind. They seem less readable.
posted by AugieAugustus at 5:49 AM on March 30, 2010

Response by poster: I picked up some scented markers. It might just be that they disagreed with me in particular, but they were intolerable -- ten times grosser than any normal marker smell I've experienced. So I tried the dry-erase crayons. They're working well so far. It takes a bit of effort to erase them, but nothing especially taxing. Thanks, everyone.
posted by decagon at 8:26 PM on April 29, 2010

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