How to Erase Old Marks off a Dry Erase Board
Have you ever noticed that if you leave a message or drawing on a whiteboard for long enough, it isn’t so erasable anymore? While getting those stains off isn’t as easy as swiping a paper towel, there is a simple way to make your white board white again… Solutions have been listed in order of greatest likelihood for success. Note that there are three types of eraser boards: Everwhite, Melamine, and Porcelain. The primary difference is that one uses dry abrasion for erasure while the other requires a liquid such as alcohol. The following solutions are suggested for use with the type of board requiring a dry erase marker, not liquid.
- Try to avoid using any abrasive, since the surface will become microscopically rough and retain that ghost look next time after erasing and become harder to clean next time. Clean it with chemical similar to dry-cleaning fluid (such as hairspray or carpet spot remover), then condition the board for next time by rubbing a thin film of mineral oil (baby oil) over the surface.
- Use “Spot Shot” spray cleaner and a “Mr. Clean Eraser” sponge. Together they will not only take the ghost marker off, but any permanent marker accidentally used. Let the “Spot Shot” soak a while first.
- Get a dry erase marker (yes, you make marks to take marks away) and a dry eraser. The darker the color of marker you use, the easier the marks will disappear.
- Draw over what you want to erase (make sure you draw slowly to fill it in better).This takes a few times in each spot and so it takes a while and wears out markers.
- Erase what you’ve written over as you normally would. Surprise! It erases. This is also a great method when you’ve accidentally used permanent marker instead of dry erase!
- Any cheap brand of hand sanitizer (Purrell, Germ X, etc) works great on any dry erase surface.
- Spray a film of hairspray, let it soak in for a couple of minutes, then clean off with a good paper towel or cotton rag. You can use just plain soap and water to clean any stickiness left over, or better yet use a shampoo & conditioner combo with water to clean the hairspray off and lubricate the board for next time.
- The toothpaste method appears to be the leading alternative way for removing dry erase marker. Use ordinary white toothpaste. It contains a very mild abrasive and is water soluble. Plus, it will leave your whiteboard minty fresh! This method will also remove permanent marker marks from most smooth, non-porous surfaces.
Muscle Cream (Ben-Gay)
This is similar to the toothpaste method, and removes permanent marker stains with only a few medium pressure wipes. Its less abrasive than toothpaste, and the alcohol acts as a better cleaning agent.
- Lava Soap used with a damp cotton swab or washcloth works almost as well as toothpaste but requires a second cleaning for total erasure.
- A close runner up to Lava Soap and Cameo is Orange Goop, the hand cleaner sold at automotive stores around the country. Orange Goop contains a mild abrasive and should be used with care. Do a spot test first to make sure you don’t remove the shine.
Cameo Kitchen Cleanser / Bar-keeper’s Friend
- Cameo, a gentle powdered cleanser intended for use on stainless steel sinks, contains a very fine abrasive, which will not mark or score surfaces. Bar-keeper’s Friend is a similar non-abrasive cleansing powder product. This worked for me, when Windex, ammonia, Oxy-Clean, and many other methods did not work.
- Peroxide easily cleans clogged inkjet heads, which use a similarly permanent ink. It does a fair job of removing dry erase marker.
- Oxy Clean or any of the generic brands of this cleaner work almost as well as Peroxide. This powder should be made into a paste and then rubbed in a circular motion using a soft cloth. Rinse the residue away with water.
Vinegar & Water
- Vinegar and Water is the undisputed champion for removing old dry erase marker.
- Ammonia does a great job when used on the correct type of dry erase ink. It does not work on the dry erase board, but rather on the type that uses liquid for erasure. Use extreme caution with this chemical, which can irritate the lungs or other mucous membranes.
Old Dryer Sheets
- Use old dryer sheets on older formulations of dry erase markers. The rough surface and the softener left in the sheet are what’s responsible for removing the marks. New dryer sheets will not work.
Car Wax Method
- Use ordinary car wax. Simply use the applicator in circular motions and wipe off with a clean cloth. This will remove very stubborn stains and leaves your white board like it was the day you bought it!
Neutral Shoe Polish Method
- Apply neutral (no color) shoe polish to clean, and buff with a clean cloth. It works wonderfully and provides a smooth like-new surface.
Artist Eraser Method
- Use an artists eraser on your board. Just make sure you don’t rub so hard the finish comes off. This works very effectively.
Baby Wipe Method
- Regular baby wipes work well to clean marks off liquid erase white boards, not dry erase.
Comet With Bleach Soft Cleanser Cream
- It’s a counter tops & kitchen sinks ; tubs & tiles cleaner.
- It works perfectly on any dry erase board! It will turn out to look and even feel perfectly new!
- Use coffee and the permanent marker comes right off.
- Consider alternative methods such as placing either lighter fuel, aerosol hairspray, soft scrub, coffee, sunscreen, WD40, Bon Ami powder, brass polish, diet soda, shampoo, or Simple Green on a paper towel and then wiping the white board.
- Keep in mind that liquids clean wet erase boards while abrasives clean dry erase boards. If you try them, first test the method on a small part of the white board before placing the substance on the entire board.
Advanced Methods for Tougher Marks
- Put some rubbing alcohol on a paper towel or spray some deodorant spray on the board and rub vigorously for a couple of seconds, then wipe dry. (Commercial Dry-Erase cleaners are often just formulations that contain rubbing alcohol.) If the stains remain, then…
- Lay the board flat on a table and put a few drops of the rubbing alcohol onto the board, rubbing it around with your finger. (Use enough alcohol to leave a thin layer.) Allow it to soak for a few seconds, then wipe dry. And if all else fails, try the next step.
- Use “Mr. Clean Magic Eraser” or a white board cleaner on the marks and rub vigorously to get the stains off.
- If that still doesn’t work, try toothpaste. It’s been reported to work when 70% alcohol solutions have not.
- Get a paper towel.
- Dampen it.