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Whether you’re chalking up the day’s specials or teaching a classroom full of little ones, chalk is a simple and effective means of communicating your thoughts and creating awesome art! However, it can be difficult to get it off of some things, so before you throw your chalkboard in the trash, let’s look at a few ways that you can get rid of stubborn chalk marker stains and why chalk can be difficult to remove in the first place.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Can Chalk Marker Be Difficult to Remove?
- 2 How to Remove Chalk Marker
- 3 Tips for Using Chalkboard Markers
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
Why Can Chalk Marker Be Difficult to Remove?
Chalk markers have been around since 1944, and since then classrooms, signage boards, and concrete walls have been littered with chalk creations. Let’s have a look at why chalk can be challenging to remove and what exactly these markers are made of so we can understand what makes them work so well, to begin with.
Poor Quality Markers
Not all chalk markers are of the same quality, and selecting a poor-quality one made of inferior materials can result in the marker being difficult to remove.
Checking reviews and/or testing the marker beforehand can save you a lot of time and effort later on, not to mention saving your workpiece from some hard-to-remove stains.
Highly Porous Surfaces
The porosity of a surface refers to little indents or holes in the surface that allow things like water, dust, and grime to build up. Surfaces with high porosity tend to be more challenging to clean, so when chalk markers are used on them the little bits of chalk get trapped in these pores which can make them challenging to remove too.
Have you ever wondered how blackboards and greenboards are made? The coatings used to change ordinary surfaces into chalk-friendly ones are called seasoning, which comes in both black and green varieties.
These coatings seal off any pores in the surface of the board and allow you to easily apply and remove chalk markers.
How to Remove Chalk Marker
If you’re using a chalk marker for the first time you should ensure that your marker is of a decent quality and that the surface is conducive to the use of said markers beforehand.
If you forgot to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and find yourself unable to remove the marker by conventional means, we’ve prepared a list of methods you can follow.
Here’s how to remove chalk marker when things like water or a thorough scrubbing just aren’t working (or making the problem worse).
Use a Damp Cloth or Sponge
For most of us, this would be our first instinct. After all, we clean most things with water, right? Using a damp cloth or sponge usually works when removing chalk marker from a blackboard because water displaces the chalk and pigment. However, it might not work depending on the type of blackboard or greenboard you have installed.
Blackboards and greenboards can be porous and non-porous. Non-porous boards are unlikely to give you trouble when it comes to removing chalk marker. Porous boards on the other hand might require you to leave a damp cloth on the board’s surface to help raise and displace the ink and chalk combo so that it can later be wiped away.
Simply leave the cloth on your board for about five minutes.
Use a Magic Eraser
If water and window cleaners aren’t quite doing the trick, you could try some magic! Magic erasers to be specific, are a great way to get rid of stubborn chalk markers and they’re both easy to find and easy to use! Whether you have a sheer surface you are trying to clean or a highly porous one, magic erasers can be a huge help!
These are available at most craft stores and all you need to do is rub the affected surface thoroughly to remove your chalk marker.
If your marker stains are particularly stubborn, you could try using some water on the affected area before you use the marker. The best part about these is that they’re reusable so you can keep them around for any future stains.
Use Some Window Cleaner
Chalk markers are commonly used on glass surfaces. They’re a great tool for making window and mirror art, but if they’re of poor quality they can be quite challenging to remove. Thankfully, window cleaner products do a pretty good job of removing chalk markers from sheer surfaces like glass and ceramic.
All you need to do is spray the affected area with some of the window cleaner and leave it to lift the chalk and ink for a while. Once it’s set in nicely, all you need to do is wipe the cleaner away and the chalk marker should come away right along with this.
Feel free to use the window cleaner generously as it can take quite a bit to remove stubborn chalk.
Use Water and Vinegar
Wood can be a tough surface to clean, and when chalk markers are involved, it can be even more so. A lot of wood species are highly porous, and as we’ve established porous surfaces are challenging to clean because the ink and chalk get stuck in the little recesses. However, with some time and effort, you can make your wood surface look as good as new.
The trick here is to use some chalk and vinegar to clean the surface. The ideal ratio would be around four cups of water to one cup of vinegar.
Don’t put the mixture into a spray bottle, instead dip a cloth into it and gently wipe the surface of the affected area. Your chalk marker should come away quite easily after a while.
Use Some Soap and Water
Chalk markers are a great way to temporarily decorate metal surfaces. However, it can be quite frustrating when the decorations aren’t as temporary as you’d like them to be. Failing to remove chalk markers from metal surfaces can leave behind some nasty stains, so finding a way to thoroughly remove chalk markers from metal can save you a lot of frustration.
The best way to go about this is to use some soapy water.
Soap water is a great way to remove chalk marker from metal surfaces without damaging the existing paint job, so just mix some general use cleaner with some water and wipe the surface thoroughly using a clean cloth and your chalk marker should come away quite easily.
Use Some Pot Cleaner
While pot cleaner like Bon Ami is usually reserved for kitchenware you can also use some to clean off chalk marker as well.
Whether you have a metal surface or a chalkboard, pot cleaner can help dissolve the bonds between the surface and the chalk/ink of the marker.
This is especially effective when you are dealing with particularly porous surfaces. How do you use pot cleaner to get rid of chalk marker stains then? The best method is to use a spray bottle to wet the chalk marker surface and then sprinkle the surface with some pot cleaner. Let the mixture raise the chalk marker from the surface of your workpiece and then use a paper towel or clean cloth to remove the chalk marker.
Use Wet Paper Towels
When chalk marker is freshly applied it can be far easier to remove. If you’ve applied your chalk marker and then immediately realized you need to remove it, one of the most effective ways to remove it is to wet a sheet of paper towel and then use it to rub the chalk marker off of the affected surface. It’s that easy!
How does this work? Water tends to break down the bond between the chalk marker and then the surface (when it’s still fresh). All you need to do is rub the affected area vigorously with your wet paper towel to remove the chalk marker. If the market is particularly stubborn feel free to add some general-use cleaner to the surface.
Use Some Baking Soda
An old trick to removing stubborn chalk marker from a chalkboard is to use some baking soda. Baking soda is one of the most inexpensive and accessible means of removing chalk marker from greenboards and blackboards, so if you have some lying around it can be a lifesaver (not to mention help you bake some tasty treats).
How do you use baking soda to erase chalk marker? It’s a similar technique to using pot cleaner.
Using a spray bottle wet the surface of your workpiece and then apply the baking soda. Allow the baking soda to lift the chalk marker and then wipe it away using a clean cloth or a bit of paper towel and your board should be chalk-free.
Use Ammonia-Based Cleaners
While pot cleaners and common household cleaners do an excellent job of removing chalk markers, if you have particularly stubborn stains that you just cannot seem to get rid of, using ammonia-based cleaners is even more effective. The chalk and ink combination can be easily lifted away from common surfaces using this chemical.
You should be cautious when using this type of cleaner though as it can be harmful to your skin, eyes, and airways.
Ensure that the area you are working in is as well-ventilated as possible and that you are wearing a set of gloves, a face mask, and some eye protection when you are working with this and any other potentially harmful chemical.
Use a Chalkboard Cleaning Kit
If you want to erase chalk marker and don’t want to go the DIY route then you could always go with a dedicated chalkboard removal kit. Not only are these extremely effective at removing chalkboard marker but they are also one of the most effective and affordable means of doing so. These usually contain a dedicated wiping tool and chemical solutions specifically designed for the job.
Chalkboard cleaning kits will equip you with everything you need to clean even the most stubborn chalk marker stains, but they might not always be an option depending on where you live and how quickly you need to get rid of your stain.
That being said, if you are going to be using chalk markers it’s best to be prepared for worst-case scenarios.
Tips for Using Chalkboard Markers
Chalkboard markers are really fun to use and what you can create with them is limited only by your imagination. However, knowing how to use them effectively can ensure your art always turns out exactly how you want it to. To help you do this we’ve listed a few tips and tricks you can follow to ensure you always get the best results possible.
Spring for High-Quality Markers
As we mentioned previously, low-quality markers tend to make stains that are difficult to remove but they can also produce poor-quality results. Forking out a bit more for your markers can save you from both poor-quality markers and stains that are difficult to remove, so if you have the budget we’d recommend going for the top-shelf stuff.
Prime and Prep Your Supplies
Another way to ensure that you achieve the best results when working with these markers is to prepare the surface you will be working on.
Clean the surface thoroughly so as not to contaminate your markers or cause any resistance to the tips while you are working.
You should also ensure that all of your markers are in good working order before you begin.
Adjust Width and Spacing
There are many techniques that you can use to improve both writing and artwork when it comes to using chalk markers. One of the simplest techniques is to use different marker tip sizes and space your words and elements correctly. This is something that is learned through practice and is one of the elementary techniques within chalk art that will serve you well in the future.
Allow Your Work to Dry
One of the easiest mistakes to make when working with chalk markers is touching your work while it’s still wet. Always follow the instructions detailed by the manufacturer when it comes to drying time to ensure that your work is completely dry. Failing to do so could result in you needing to clean off the entire work surface and start all over again.
That’s pretty much all you need to know about using liquid chalk and how to get liquid chalk off chalkboard surfaces. There are many videos online detailing how to get liquid chalk off chalkboard stands and blackboards, but they all pretty much boil down to ensuring that your surface is prepared and knowing what products to use when stubborn stains just won’t come off.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Removes Chalk Marker?
If you are a lover of chalkboard art, then you’re no stranger to stubborn stains. What removes chalk marker, though? There are many household items like pot cleaners and ammonia-based cleaners that do a good job, but a dedicated chalkboard cleaning kit is always the best bet.
Are Chalk Markers Safe?
Chalk markers are designed to mimic chalk, but have a more pronounced color to them. Most of the markers sold today are non-toxic, and their markings can easily be cleaned off using some water or chalkboard cleaner in the event of an accident.
What Are Chalk Markers Good For?
Chalk markers are a great way to make vibrant artworks. They are designed for use on sheer or non-porous surfaces like glass, chalkboards, vinyl, and ceramics. They can be used to make interesting shapes, scenery, and even calligraphy!
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