If you’ve purchased a residential or commercial space and want to get rid of the graffiti on one or more walls, there are a few things you should know before you start the graffiti removal process. The objective is to remove the graffiti without damaging the surface, which is why certain methods and products are best depending on what the wall is made of. Here are some tips for removing graffiti from a variety of surfaces.

Metal

To get graffiti off of a metal surface, wipe the graffiti with a paint thinner like acetone or mineral spirits. Or, you can choose a graffiti removal product that is safe for metal. In some cases, wiping the graffiti with WD-40 will get rid of it.

If the graffiti still won’t come off, you can rub it with light sandpaper or steel or bronze wool to break up the pain. If this doesn’t work, use a pressure washer that has 3000psi.

Wood

If the wood is sealed and doesn’t have weather damage, you can try to take off the graffiti with mineral spirits. Don’t use this method for weathered wood, since the wood will absorb the mineral spirits and the graffiti paint will be driven further into the wood.

You can also use a 3000psi pressure washer, but pay attention while washing to make sure the paint isn’t going deeper into the wood.

Masonry

Pressure washing with a 3000posi device is best for removing graffiti from masonry surfaces. Be sure to use the right wand tip during the removal process, since a tip that is too narrow can etch the masonry and leave an outline of the graffiti.

Sand-blasting can work as well. However, as with power washing, don’t let the sandblasting tip stay in one spot for too long, or the surface will be etched permanently.

Glass

To take graffiti off of a glass surface, scrape the graffiti paint with a razor blade. The razor blade should be in a holder to keep it secure, and you should scrape at a 30-degree angle to the glass. Use bronze wool dipped in water to take off the remainder of the paint. Paint thinners can be effective as well, but this process takes longer than the razor blade method.

Final Considerations

Be sure to read all product labels and follow the directions of the manufacturer. Use caution when using products that are labelled as flammable. Wear proper safety clothing like goggles and gloves during the entire graffiti removal process.

If none of the graffiti removal methods work completely, you’ll need to repaint the surface. If you’re using white paint, be sure to use several coats of the paint, so that the shadow of the graffiti won’t show. Be sure to match the new color of paint with the original wall color, since mismatched colors make it obvious that there was graffiti and may encourage people to continue putting graffiti on your walls. If graffiti continues to be a problem in your community, treat your wall with a protective coating so that it will be easier to remove the graffiti without damaging your property.