Tips for Removing Graffiti

Tips for Removing Graffiti


Stepping out in the morning to find your property defaced with graffiti can be heartbreaking. Walking out of your property only to find it defaced with graffiti is all too common nowadays but don’t fret there is something that you can do about it. It's unsightly in many cases, and may cause serious damage to surfaces like brick and stucco. Before you call a cleaning service, know that investing in the right tools instead will save you money should the vandals strike again.


Tools and techniques for removing graffiti

The following are some suggestions for a graffiti fighter’s tool kit:
1. Aerosol solvent
2. Clean cotton painters rags
3. Trash bags
4. Inexpensive paint brushes, rollers and paint containers
5. Paint matching various surfaces around your neighborhood
6. Paint scraper
7. Dust mask
8. Safety glasses
9. Kitchen cleaner and water in spray bottle


How To Remove Graffiti With a Pressure Washer


All you need is a pressure washer and your vandalized property will be back to its prior state in no time at all. Any mess can be tackled with a simple pressure washer. To start with wash down the surface with a low pressure spray. Use the nozzle about 2 feet away and move in closer until you observe the graffiti wearing down. If you find it too stubborn to start wearing down then switch over to the high pressure general tip. At all times keep a watch over the underlying surface to ensure that it doesn’t wither away because of the pressure exerted on it.

We have found that pressure washers, using sand, can actually etch a cinder block wall, further hastening the wall’s demise. A wire brush is somewhat limited in effectiveness as well. Our city, instead, uses a power washer with a biodegradable emulsifier approved by our sewer department. In most cases, we have been able to completely remove the vandalism. However in some cases, because of the porous surfaces involved, a slight hazy remnant of the graffiti still remains.


Metal Surfaces:
Try wiping graffiti with any common paint thinner (ie. mineral spirits such as WD40, lacquer thinner, acetone), or try graffiti removal products or wiping graffiti with a light penetrating oil.
If graffiti remains, try to remove it by rubbing with steel or bronze wool or light sandpaper.
If graffiti still remains, try power-washing it with a 3000psi pressure washer.
If these methods do not work, paint over the graffiti.


Wood Surfaces:
If the wood is not weathered and is sealed with paint, stain or sealer, try to remove it by wiping it with mineral spirits. If the wood is weathered, do not use this technique as the chemicals will be absorbed by the wood, driving the paint further down into the wood.
Power-washing with a 3000psi pressure washer can be used but be careful not to drive the paint deeper into the wood.
If these methods do not work, paint over the graffiti.


Plastic Surfaces:
Try wiping graffiti with a light, penetrating oil. Do not use paint thinners as they can soften the plastic and can cause clouding or permanent tackiness of the surface.
Use an ultra-fine steel or bronze wool and lightly rub the paint.
If these methods do not work, paint over the graffiti.


Masonry Surfaces:
Use a 3000psi pressure washer (do not use a narrow tip as it will etch the masonry surface leaving an outline of the graffiti).
Sand-blasting is another option. Keep the tip moving over the graffiti-painted area to avoid permanently marking the surface.
If these methods do not work, paint over the graffiti.

Recommended Pressure Washer:

Simpson MSH3125 MegaShot Gas Pressure Washer Powered by Honda GC190, 3200 PSI at 2.5 GPM

Cleaning has Never Been So Easy! Need a gas pressure washer that is both durable yet lightweight? We have designed one of the greatest gas pressure washers for you! Clean your Home exterior, patio & decks faster with a

Simpson MSH3125 MegaShot pressure washer! Keep your home looking great all year round with the Simpson MSH3125 MegaShot pressure washer. Clean faster than you would with your garden hose alone. A powerful gas engine provides reliability to complete your cleaning task! The ergonomic spray gun with interchangeable nozzles is designed to provide comfort and control.Eliminate grime and dirt, remove gum or tough stains and clean debris from rooftops with this pressure washer from Simpson.

How To Remove Graffiti With Solvents and Cleaners


Hard Surfaces:
For surfaces like mailboxes, utility boxes, steel roll-up doors, lampposts, etc., liquid graffiti removal solvent (Savogram) is the way to go. This graffiti should be removed as soon as it appears. This requires only some light duty steel wool, a small spray bottle of solvent, and a cleaner like TSP to wash the area down after removing the graffiti. Very little solvent should be used if the graffiti is recent. Just spray on some solvent, lightly rub with steel wool (or even heavy duty paper towels) and then wipe clean. You’ll want to use rubber gloves and lightly wash the affected area after removing the graffiti. Spray solvent such as Jasco, is not recommended for mailboxes or other painted surfaces since it will cause so much paint to bubble up that the “cleaned” area may look worse than it did with the graffiti.


Wet paint is easy to take off but dry paint is a different proposition altogether. This is more so when you already have an underlying layer of paint. Even graffiti over painted walls is a difficult task to tackle without damaging the paint. For this you will require the use of a paint thinner but only slightly mixed in with water to dilute it further. A low pressure nozzle with this mixture from far will do the trick but with graffiti over previously painted surface, you cannot use a pressure washer. Slowly work on the graffiti with a brush and a diluted mixture of paint thinner.


Brick Surface:
For a brick surface, especially red brick, we recommend a professional cleanup, using a biodegradable emulsifier. This method minimizes the toll on the surface. It is generally too difficult to tackle a very rough surface with wire brushes and solvents, and the finished job will still bear a fair amount of the evidence of the graffiti.


Painted Surfaces:
For routinely painted surfaces like fences and some wall, it would be wise to have plenty of matching paint available for immediate cover-up within a day or two of the appearance of graffiti


Graffiti removal is not always a simple “spray it on, wipe it off” affair, especially when it involves brick or other rough surfaces or when paint has been there for a long time. You should expect to encounter examples where the best you can do is reduce the graffiti to an unrecognizable fade.  Don’t give up too soon. Sometimes, several applications of solvent or allowing to sit for a longer time will take care of things.


Recommended Graffiti Cleaners:



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