I am a lab manager trying to ask other lab biologists what brand/make of markers their labs use for labeling tissue culture plastics, which need to be repeatedly wiped down with 70% ethanol to maintain sterility. (Most "permanent" markers wash off in 70% ethanol.)

I have been looking for an equivalent to the Sharpie Industrial Extra-Fine point marker, which seems not to be on the market anymore. The supposedly solvent-resistant Fisher extra-fine point marker leaves almost no trace when wiped with ethanol.

Does anyone have suggestions?

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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because recommendations for marking pens can by no stretch of the imagination be considered a question about biology. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 21:41
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    $\begingroup$ I think the question is reasonable because it is asking for recommendations on lab materials which only a biologist would be able to make. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 7:46
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, @David, to clarify: biologists use 70% ethanol to wipe down their cell culture materials in order to maintain a sterile environment, but most "permanent" markers wipe off under those conditions. I am a lab manager trying to ask other biologists what pens their labs use for this biology-specific application. $\endgroup$
    – Ema
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 21:54
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    $\begingroup$ I agree. This question, though seemingly wayy off topic, is completely valid here. It has the appropriate lab-techniques tag. @Ema, to avoid more challenge to your question, perhaps you could edit to add a bit more biology context. I think adding your " I am a lab manager trying to ask other biologists..." sentence from your comment to the start of your question would be good :). $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 13:57

2 Answers 2


This is hardcore going to come across as a SPAM answer, but I simply did a Google search:

Laboratory Marking Pens from Ted Pella

enter image description here

Statmark Pen™: resistant to formalin, ethanol isopropanol and xylene

Secureline® Marker: water resistant; autoclavable; not suitable below 0°C (32°F)

Secureline® II / Superfrost: resistant to xylene, ethanol, acetone and formalin; service temperature -15°C to 100°C (5°F to 212°F)

You can try a Sample Pack of all 3 for $8 USD to see which you like the best.

  • $\begingroup$ @Ema Try them out and let us know how they work! (Alternatively... Has anyone used these that could report on their efficacy?) $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 18:13
  • $\begingroup$ I have tried both of those Securelines, but the Extra Fine one doesn't hold up. As stated above, I'm particularly interested in other users' advice on products they have tried and rely on. $\endgroup$
    – Ema
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 18:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Ema Bummer. Well, don't miss the link in my answer to the sharpies I still found on sale for you! :) $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 18:31
  • $\begingroup$ Those are not the correct Sharpie product, but feel free to repost if you find a source for Sharpie Industrial Extra Fine. $\endgroup$
    – Ema
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Ema weird. They changed links on me. Now the correct page lists them for sale for $700! 0.o ... I'll keep my eyes and ears open for ya! $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 18:40

I routinely use 70% ethanol and/or IPA to wipe off plastics written on with Fisherbrand fine-tip marking pens and I find they don't come off easily even after multiple sprays. As long as the marker has had ample time to dry. The sharpie industrial "solvent resistant" markers come off immediately.

So here I have a Corning 250mL bottle, and 3 brands of marker:

Fisherbrand fine-tip marking pen (above)

Sharpie Industrial (above)

Sakura microperm ultrafine-tip

The Sakura markers explicitly state they wash off w/ alcohol but I like the tips for flow tubes and eppendorf tubes. I sprayed the marker with 70% ethanol, let it sit for just a few seconds then used a Kim wipe to clean it off. Fisherbrand, for me, just works the best (excuse my handwriting!).

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ I've resized the images and put them on less lines so we don't need to scroll for what seems like miles. Feel free to roll back. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 19:43
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the input. Unfortunately, I'm in the market for extrafine. The Fisher fine tips work well, but the extra fines come off. $\endgroup$
    – Ema
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 20:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Ema I see. You might find some luck testing VWR's histology markers, which come as ultrafine and out of necessity have to resist histology solvents. I have not tested these myself. The downside is they apparently don't write well on smooth surfaces, only frosted parts. $\endgroup$
    – CKM
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 14:39

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