LAST UPDATED: 7th January 2023 by The Editorial Team
Summary: Step by step guide and video showing how to remove graffiti.
The method you employ to remove graffiti will vary depending on the surface you are cleaning. Specialist products are available from most DIY stores, but here are some methods that might prove just as effective.
Removing graffiti from metal surfaces
- Wipe paint thinner over the surface or a light penetrating oil used normally on rusted, seized or corroded bolts.
- Power-wash the surface with a pressure washer.
- If graffiti remains, try to remove it by rubbing with steel or bronze wool, or light sandpaper.
- If none of these methods work, you will have to repaint the whole surface.
Removing graffiti from wood surfaces
- Power washing with low pressure can be used, but it is important that the pressure is not forcing the paint deeper into the wood grain. To avoid this the pressure should not exceed 700 psi.
- If the wood is not weathered and is sealed with paint, stain or sealer, try to remove it by wiping it with mineral spirits. Do not use this method if the wood is weathered, as it will absorb the mineral spirits, resulting in the graffiti paint penetrating further into the wood.
If these methods do not work, sand the wood and re-paint or simply paint over the graffiti.
Removing graffiti from plastic surfaces
- Try wiping graffiti with a light, penetrating oil but do not use paint thinners as they can soften the plastic and can cause clouding (if being applied to clear plastic), or can produce a permanent tackiness of the surface.
- Sometimes a light rubbing with extra-fine steel wool will remove the paint.
- If these methods do not remove the graffiti, paint over it.
Removing graffiti from glass surfaces
- The best method for removing painted graffiti from glass is to use a razor blade to carefully scrape it off. This method is 99% effective. Use the razor blade in a holder and scrape at a 30-degree angle to the glass.
- If the paint does not come completely off after using the razor blade, use ultra-fine bronze wool with water to gently rub the remaining paint off.
You can use paint thinners on glass, however the razor blade method is much quicker and more environmentally friendly.
Removing graffiti from masonry surfaces
- The best option for this type of surface is to power-wash the graffiti with a low pressure not exceeding 700 psi. Be careful when selecting the type of nozzle you use with the pressure lance. Too narrow of a nozzle will etch the masonry surface leaving a perfect outline of the graffiti on the surface.
- If power-washing does not remove the graffiti, the next best option is to paint over it.
How to remove graffiti video
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