I received a remarkable quantity of responses regarding my query about markers colours that are permanent enough to be useful yet come off in the dishwasher. Thanks to all those who responded. Many people wanted to hear the answer, so here it is.
As far as I can tell, there is no universal response. Rather, it is context specific. I had many instances of contrasting responses that swore that a certain marker worked perfectly and others that said to avoid it all costs. In the end, it looks like which markers work and which do not depends on your dishwasher, your soap, the wash cycle, how tightly the vials are packed, whether you autoclave or not, etc. Some people even rinsed whole trays in alcohol to remove markers!
We ended up buying a large collection of markers and trying them all. Some came off nicely, others partially, and some not at all. Our results generally did not correspond with what others said about some of the same markers…So in the end, you have to do the experiment yourself if you want to find a solution.
The only thing we haven’t tried yet is a grease pencil, which was recommended by a number of people.
Howard D. Rundle
Assistant Professor - Professeur adjoint
Canada Research Chair - Chaire de recherche du Canada
Department of Biology - Département de biologie
University of Ottawa – Université d'Ottawa
30 Marie-Curie (277 Gendron)
Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 6N5, CANADA