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Are You a Street Art Victim? Tips on How to Remove Graffiti:

7/4/2017 (Permalink)

Cleaning Are You a Street Art Victim? Tips on How to Remove Graffiti: Like It Never Happened

Graffiti can be seen in almost every city in the world.  Unless your property has been the victim of Banksy (famous England-based graffiti artist), you would consider graffiti an act of vandalism that you might want cleaned off or removed.

Most modern signs clean quickly with the use of soap and water or solvents. Nevertheless, paint applied to a rough surface normally causes permanent damage. The character of the surface will change because, in some cases, due to the interaction between the paint and the porous surface, it is nearly impossible to totally clean off these street art pieces.

Here are some DIY tips for removing graffiti from various types of surfaces:


  • Try using common paint thinner (ex: mineral spirits, lacquer thinner, acetone), or try graffiti removal products from the market.
  • Try to remove it by rubbing with steel or bronze wool, or light sandpaper.
  • Try power-washing it with a 3000psi pressure washer.


  • If the wood is not weathered and is sealed with paint, stain or sealer, try to remove the graffiti by wiping it with mineral spirits.
  • Try power-washing with a 3000psi pressure washer, however, observe carefully to make sure the pressure is not driving the paint deeper into the wood grain.
  • A stronger approach is to sand the wood and repaint.


  • Try using a razor blade to carefully scrape it off. This method is 99% effective.
  • Try using ultra-fine bronze wool with water to gently rub the paint off.
  • Finally, you can also try using paint thinners on glass.


  • Do not use paint thinners as they can soften the plastic, causing clouding or permanent tackiness.
  • Try a light rubbing with ultra-fine steel or bronze wool to remove the paint.


  • Try to power-wash the graffiti with a 3000psi-pressure washer. Be careful in selecting the type of tip you use in the pressure wand.
  • Try sand-blasting.  As with pressure washing, be careful not to allow the sandblasting tip to remain in one spot too long as it can permanently etch the surface.

Other alternatives

1.     Painting over the graffiti.

When painting over graffiti, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind.

  • It is recommended that you paint straight from the top to the bottom of the wall, or that you repaint the entire wall. Matching the paint color of the building- is very complicated, because mismatched colors do not improve the way the building looks, this only serves as continuing evidence of graffiti.
  • If you are using white paint, use enough coats so that the "shadow" of the graffiti will no longer be visible.
  • If the graffiti is a persistent problem, you may want to consider painting your building with a protective coating that makes graffiti removal easier.

1.     Environmentally Friendly Removal

  • Try citrus based graffiti removal agents that contain ingredients such as "natural orange extract". These products are biodegradable, they are essentially the same as graffiti removal agents and they are available at local retailers. Always keep in mind, citrus based products are usually safe to apply to almost any natural or painted surface, however, some plastics may become clouded or discolored.

Graffiti removal is not always a simple “spray it on, clean it off” issue. When approaching problem graffiti, you become very aware of how much more difficult it is to remove it than it is to apply it, especially in the case of rough surfaces. For routinely painted surfaces like fences and some walls, it would be wise to try matching the paint, since painted surfaces turn out best when repainted. But then again for a brick surface, especially red brick, we recommend a professional cleanup.

Remember, a rapid response is the key!

SERVPRO of Martin County will act quickly to remove vandalism and graffiti from residential and commercial spaces. In addition to removing spray-painted graffiti from exterior walls, we can also clean driveways, walkways, asphalt, metals, wood, glass, plastic, and masonry. Our highly trained technicians can offer the following services:

  • General cleaning and graffiti removal
  • Brick, stone, and concrete cleaning
  • Odor removal and deodorization
  • Debris removal
  • Water damage restoration
  • Fire damage restoration
  • Mold damage restoration
  • Contents cleaning

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