Best Practices for Cleaning a Dry Erase Board
So, when’s the last time you cleaned your glass dry erase board – not just a corner to corner swipe with a clean cloth, but a thorough cleaning that left your whiteboard surface looking like new? If you can’t remember, chances are it hasn’t been soon enough. A dry eraser does an everyday decent job, but over time, a film caused by a buildup of ink residue may appear on the surface of the whiteboard. Traditional whiteboards should be cleaned regularly, such as once a week.
If you’re wondering how to clean a dry erase board or Float wall-mounted glass board, you’ll need a soft, clean cloth or towel. A microfiber cloth is a good option. You’ll also need a cleaning solution. But what cleaning solution works best?
There are commercial products formulated specifically to clean ink residue from dry erase boards, but they can be expensive. But you probably already have many common cleaning options around the office that are less expensive. But are they safe?
Here are the pros and cons of each whiteboard cleaner, beginning with the most effective one.
Recommended Cleaning Solutions
Isopropyl Alcohol / Peroxide
Isopropyl alcohol, often referred to as rubbing alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide are very effective ways to clean whiteboards. They are especially effective at getting rid of ghosting caused by chemical build up residue from whiteboard markers.
For best results, use 99% or 90% isopropyl alcohol. Seventy-percent solutions don’t work nearly as well. Mix the alcohol or peroxide with water (one, apply the solution to a cloth (preferably with a microfiber cloth or other non-abrasive cloth), and wipe the whiteboard clean.
For stubborn stains, rub isopropyl alcohol directly on the area. Use enough to leave a thin layer of alcohol over it. Let it sit for a few seconds before wiping the area.
You can substitute hydrogen peroxide for isopropyl alcohol and apply it in the same way.
Isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are both readily available, very affordable, and can be used for other purposes.
Most hand sanitizers on the market today will contain at least 60% isopropyl alcohol – the minimum recommended for use against the coronavirus. But for hand sanitizer to work effectively to clean whiteboards, they need a much higher concentration of isopropyl alcohol – the 90% to 99% range is best.
Apply hand sanitizer directly to the whiteboard, using a soft, clean cloth or paper towel to wipe it over the entire surface of the whiteboard. Let sit there for 30 seconds, then wipe off with a fresh cloth or paper towels.
A mixture of vinegar and water is an effective and safe non-chemical way to clean a dry erase board. It has the added benefit of being a natural cleaner that has been used for years. Ratio suggestions for the cleaner range from one teaspoon of vinegar per cup of water to one cup of each.
Spray the solution on the whiteboard and then wipe it off with a microfiber cloth or other soft, clean cloth. If the whiteboard has particularly stubborn stains, let the vinegar and water mixture sit on the whiteboard for a few minutes before wiping with a damp cloth.
This is a very inexpensive cleaner and has the bonus of being a natural cleaner, which many people are looking for these days.
Hairspray also typically contains isopropyl alcohol which makes it a candidate for cleaning a dry erase board. Use a spray bottle to apply it to the whiteboard’s surface. However, it’s not as easy as a spray and wipe. You’ll have to do some extra steps if you don’t want to end up with a sticky mess on your whiteboard.
To clean a whiteboard with hairspray, spray the surface and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Then, use a soft, clean cloth dipped in a solution of mild detergent and warm water to wash away the sticky residue.
If you have a can of WD-40, you can spray it on a dry erase board, then wipe it off to clean the whiteboard. Besides cleaning marks from your dry erase board, it revives the finish, making it slick and smooth and prepped for writing. Be careful in applying it, though. It can stain your clothes.
Cleaning Solutions to Avoid
Toothpaste – preferably white – can be used to clean whiteboards, but not recommended. Simply squirt the toothpaste directly from the tube onto the whiteboard. Use a soft cloth to rub the area. Then wipe the entire whiteboard with a clean cloth.
While it does get your whiteboard clean, toothpaste is a mildly abrasive cleaner and may ruin the surface of your whiteboard over time.
Ben-Gay can be used to clean a dry erase board, in the same manner as toothpaste. The isopropyl alcohol it contains can help boost its cleaning power, compared to toothpaste. It won’t be as economical as toothpaste, though, and it is also a slightly abrasive cleaner. It may ruin the surface of your whiteboard over time, so it’s not recommended.
You may have heard that using Comet to clean your whiteboard will get it looking like new. That’s true. But Comet is an abrasive cleaner and may harm your whiteboard over time, and this is why it’s not recommended. Using abrasive cleaners on your whiteboard may also invalidate your warranty.
Black coffee or coffee grinds
You probably never thought your cup of black coffee could do double-duty as a whiteboard cleaner, but it can. Just dip a paper towel into some coffee and rub it on the whiteboard. You can also use coffee grinds to scrub more stubborn stains.
Both black coffee and coffee grinds require washing off with a solution of warm water and mild detergent. Otherwise, you’ll have a brown stain on the surface of the whiteboard, and it will be gritty. Using coffee grinds is not recommended because they are abrasive and may harm the surface of the whiteboard.