In this blog post, you'll learn:
- The different materials dry erase boards are made of.
- How to clean even the most stubborn stains from whiteboards.
- How to maintain your dry erase board, so it lasts for years to come.
In this blog post, you'll learn:
How often have you left writing on your dry-erase board surface for a prolonged period, only to find the marker either doesn't come off quickly or leaves behind a stain that's tricky to budge?
We've all been there.
Like anything, cleaning whiteboards or dry-erase boards can be frustrating if you don't have the correct tools for the job. But it shouldn't be that difficult.
There are four types of materials used to make whiteboards. These vary in price, quality, and technique for cleaning.
The four materials are:
Melamine is typically more affordable and usually the most difficult to keep stain-free. Melamine is more porous than the other materials, allowing the ink to soak in, which makes it harder to remove.
And while certain cleaning products work for most whiteboards, which we will outline in this blog post, melamine whiteboards are more prone to damage if cleaned incorrectly, thanks to their scratchable plastic surface.
Tempered glass is a more modern style of dry-erase boards, usually made without a border or frame. Because they're made from glass, they're durable and generally scratch resistant.
You can sometimes get magnetic glass whiteboards, and overall, they can cost a little more than melamine whiteboards but are much easier to clean and maintain.
Painted steel whiteboards are most commonly found in classrooms and offices. They're exactly as the name suggests; steel that has been painted with a white base coat and a clear top coat.
The steel material automatically makes them magnetic, and although heavy-duty, painted steel dry-erase boards typically won't last as long as glass whiteboards.
The fourth type is the porcelain dry-erase board, which is generally the most expensive. But like glass, they are non-porous, so the ink won't bleed into the material.
Porcelain is the heaviest of the four materials and sometimes has a steel backing, making it magnetic and more durable.
Now that you've identified the material your whiteboard is made of, you'll be able to clean it more efficiently.
The best way to clean dry-erase boards is generally the same for all four materials. Though, for melamine whiteboards, you will need to take extra care, so you don't damage the surface.
This next section will outline the best products and tools to clean dry-erase boards.
You may automatically reach for a bottle of surface spray to clean dry-erase boards. And while just about anything can remove newer whiteboard markers, not all cleaners can remove older marker stains from whiteboards.
The best product to remove new markers from whiteboards is a microfiber towel, like our Microfiber Glass Cleaning Cloths. Unlike our Microfiber Cloths which are a woven warp terry (similar to a traditional cotton towel) and a softer texture, the Microfiber Glass Cleaning Cloths are made using a flat weave, which gives them the ability to dry and polish in a flash.
When using a cloth to clean, the pressure is applied to the surface only where your hand is, making it a more prolonged and laborious task. But when you use a tool like our hand trowel and microfiber mop pad, you give yourself a larger surface area to clean with, and the pressure is applied to the entire 9.5-inch surface of the trowel.
Work smarter, not harder.
If you find that the marker is still not budging or you have some stubborn stains, this is when you may want to add a spritz of isopropyl alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol is rubbing alcohol. It comes in various percentages, but for this, you may want to get 75% or higher.
Use isopropyl alcohol with the mop pad and trowel or the microfiber glass cleaning cloth to remove any lingering stains on your dry-erase board.
When you're done using the alcohol, allow it to air dry. You can then go over it with the Microfiber Glass Cleaning Cloths to polish the surface if needed.
This method is safe for all four types of dry-erase boards.
If you don't have any of the above products on hand but you're looking for a quick solution, you may have one of these products at home:
Whiteboard markers are a little hack you may already know of. When drawn over the top of old existing marker stains, or even permanent marker stains, it can sometimes lift the ink off. However, this usually doesn't work for embedded stains and can take longer to use.
Hand sanitizer is alcohol-based, so just like isopropyl alcohol, it can effectively lift stubborn stains. Be sure to choose one that isn't diluted with other ingredients, as some hand sanitizers can be. Use it with a microfiber cloth.
Hairspray can lift stubborn markers from dry erase boards by spritzing it onto the stain and wiping it off with a microfiber cloth. Be sure to clean the surface once you're done using a detergent and clean microfiber cloth, as the hairspray will leave a residue.
WD-40 can also be a quick alternative. Spray it on the stain, allow it to sit for a few seconds, and then wipe away with a microfiber cloth. Again, clean the surface with a detergent and a clean microfiber cloth afterward to remove any WD-40 residue.
Dryer sheets are a lesser-known hack for removing stubborn marker stains. Rub the dryer sheet over the offending mark until it lifts off. This may not remove deeper stains and should be cleaned off afterward with detergent and a clean microfiber cloth to remove any residual dryer sheet wax.
There are a few things you should avoid when it comes to cleaning your dry-erase board. First, you don't want to use wax-based cleaners or polishing products. These are unnecessary and will create a barrier on the surface, making them ineffective to use.
The second thing to avoid is abrasive cleaners. Products like the Pink Stuff, bicarb soda, or toothpaste all have grit, and particularly with melamine whiteboards, you will scratch the surface if you try and clean it with one of these products.
Something I'm sure we're all guilty of is using your fingers to wipe the marker away. Our fingers contain oils, and you leave behind oily residue each time you brush your finger over the dry-erase board. If you don't clean the whiteboard regularly with a detergent, this oil can build up, and your whiteboard will become less effective over time.
We've already outlined what to use and what not to use to clean your whiteboard. But how do you ensure your dry-erase board remains in good condition? Follow these four things:
As mentioned before, your products and tools will determine how difficult it is to clean your dry-erase board. But these products are also better for your whiteboard, avoiding damage, so they'll last longer.
Old markers tend to dry out and fray at the tip. If you continue using them in this condition, it leads to scratching on the dry-erase board's surface.
When ink is still drying, and you try and wipe it away, it usually smears. This then causes the ink to embed into the surface, specifically if you have a melamine whiteboard. When ink is embedded, you need to use more elbow grease and products to clean it, which can degrade the dry-erase board faster.
Instead of leaving ink on the dry-erase board when you're done for the day, snap a picture of it on your phone for safekeeping, and wipe it off with a microfiber cloth. This will avoid stains, so cleaning it will always be a breeze.
Whiteboards are often used regularly, but if you ever find it has been neglected, follow the tips in the blog post to get your dry-erase board back to its original, shiny self.
Invest in some Microfiber Glass Cleaning Cloths, some softer Microfiber Cloths, and isopropyl alcohol for cleaning your whiteboard. If you have larger surfaces, stubborn stains, or more dry-erase boards to clean, get our Microfiber Hand Trowel Tool and Microfiber Wall Wash Mop Pad to make your life much easier.