What is the best way to remove graffiti?

What is the best way to remove graffiti? Graffiti is such a nuisance and highly frustrating for homeowners of business owners who might be affected by this pointless vandalism. It might be another reason why people avail of my cleaning services but the truth is, this is one affliction I do not wish upon any property.

But how can you remove graffiti from a surface?

I suspect this is the question you need answered and in this article, we will take a look at the process along with why some graffiti can be a little more tricky to remove than others.

How to Remove Graffiti from any Surface

For many people, they get lucky in a sense that some graffiti can be removed quickly and with minimal effort. At the same time, you might be unlucky and find yourself with a wall of graffiti with which you can do little more than “tone it down”.

However, there are several ways in which you can tackle graffiti and giving up too soon is often the mistake that most people make. In other words, you can use as much elbow grease as you want but sometimes solvents are needed to encourage graffiti to move on. What’s more, sometimes you need to apply this effort numerous times before the process starts to have any real impact.

Now, you might be wondering how this process can take…

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How Long Does it Take to Remove Graffiti?

Good question. It really depends on the type of surface. Removing graffiti from a surface can also depend on how long the graffiti is present. That is to say, if the graffiti happened yesterday, it will be much easier to remove than something that happened last year.

For example, if the graffiti is on a modern sign of some kind, this tends to come off very quickly. In fact, you can sometimes use a solution of soap and water or maybe a light solvent and this will be enough to remove the graffiti.

On the other hand, older surfaces or rough areas can be a lot more challenging. If you think about it, these surfaces are often porous which means the paint gets inside every tiny crack it comes across. Cinder block walls are a good example and for most people, they feel there is not other option but to paint over the entire wall.

But wait, that’s not to say there’s no hope…….there’s always hope!

What Tools are Best for Removing Graffiti?

Wire Brush or Steel Wool

As a rule, investing in a decent wire brush or steel wool can make this task a lot easier and you can use one of these to scrub many surfaces including rocks, pavement, wood and even certain metals. Now, this will also mean that the brush leaves a mark but in the above instances, these surfaces will eventually weather back to their original state which includes both the colour and texture.

Anyway, this wire brush will play an important role but more on that later…

Using a Jet Washer

It’s not secret that the pressure washer is one of my favourite inventions of all time. As you might expect, these fantastic machines have the ability to blast graffiti out of existence and remove this vandalism to the point where it’s nothing but a hazy sight. That is to say, due to the sheer power of a jet washer, you might find a slightly hazy appearance to the wall afterward.

However, it must also be noted that using the wrong emulsifier is another mistake that people make and this should be avoided. Instead, try to choose a biodegradable product that will ensure you don’t cause any damage to the environment.

As for how you can get your hands on a Jet washer, you can possibly rent or buy one at your nearby hardware store. Alternatively, if you contact a reputable cleaning service in the area, they will likely have one at their disposal.

Either way, I have to say that the jet washer is invaluable for removing graffiti from a surface.

What Solvents or Chemicals to Use for Removing Graffiti

While many homeowners know that bleach such as domestos can be used on white surfaces, this is not always effective. Also, jif is a fantastic substance but not always enough to remove graffiti.

On the other hand, “Savogram” is a good solvent to have lying around the garage and this can be used to remove graffiti from various surfaces such as lampposts, roll up doors or mailboxes.

In the case of brick surfaces, you should use a biodegradable emulsifier and then some elbow grease with a solid wire brush and solvents.

If the graffiti is minor and recent, you can usually have a go at removing it without much planing. For example, you can take your spray bottle and fill it up with some solvent. Spray some of this solution on the affected area and after a few minutes, use some steel wool to wipe it clean.

Note: For most fences or wood, I usually recommend that painting might be a better option.

Warning About Using Solvents to Remove Graffiti

Several products exist which can be rather useful for removing graffiti from a surface. Some are good and others are terrible for the environment so make sure to check this before you make the purchase. In case you might be asking yourself, you can find these solvents at your local hardware store but if you do pick one up, you should also make sure to invest in some safety glasses and a face mask.

With this in mind, it’s sometimes best to avoid this job on a windy day as this increases the risk of solvent getting in your eyes or mouth. Just as importantly, you should discard of this solvent safely and this also goes for any cloths than you might use during the process. 

Now, on to the actual process and steps that you can take to remove graffiti from a surface:

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How to Remove Graffiti from a Surface in Five Steps

As already mentioned, the sooner you can get the graffiti, the easier it will be to remove the paint.

For this reason, try not to waste time and get started as soon as possible.

  1. Put on Some Protective Gear

Make sure to put on some gloves, face mask and safety glasses so that the solvent doe not come into contact with your eyes or mouth.

  1. Test the Solution

Pour some solution into the spray bottle but instead of spraying the entire wall, try some solution on a small section and ensure there is no stain as a result of using this particular solution.

  1. Leave the Solution for a Few Minutes

Don’t remove this solution right away. Instead, leave it to break down the paint for a few minutes.

  1. Use Sponge to Rub Stain

Take out your sponge and try to rub the stain until it disappears. It may take a few attempts but continue this process so long as it does not discolour the surface too much.

  1. Jet Washer (Outdoors Only)

Now for the fun bit. Make sure you are wearing all the necessary safety equipment and begin using the jet washer with hot water to remove the remnants of the graffiti.

As you might expect, step five is not suitable for every situation using a jet washer to remove graffiti indoors is not a good idea.

Hiring a Professional to Remove Graffiti

I know that some “artists” get carried away with their graffiti and the job is likely a little too big for the average homeowner. For this reason, you might want to consider a local cleaning service to come out and remove it for you. At the same time, I also know that many of these services are somewhat expensive and industrial companies are sure to charge a significant amount for even just a few hours work.

As an alternative, you might want to consider contacting the local window cleaner. You see, most local cleaners will have their own jet washer and vast experience of getting this type of job done. What’s more, they charge a fraction of the price compared to industrial services and are just as reliable in terms of the outcome. As if that’s not enough, due to the shorter lead time, when it comes to hiring a professional to remove graffiti, your local window cleaner is likely to get the job done a lot faster.

Now, that’s not to say you absolutely need someone to get the job done for you. Maybe you have the time, equipment and will to give it a shot yourself. Either way, graffiti is usually something you can remove with enough effort and with the steps above, you should be on your way to blasting this pointless vandalism into nothing more than an unwanted memory.

By the way, if you would like some assistance with removing graffiti, Reach Wash Cleaning is a local and reliable service that can get the job done for very affordable prices.

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