6 Tricks and Tips to Keep a Whiteboard Clean


Straightforward and effective, whiteboards are incredibly versatile tools. And the main attraction of the tool is right in the name. A whiteboard surface continuously offers a fresh white slate, ready for new ideas, drawings, lists and schedules. But what happens when a whiteboard no longer stays white?

Walk into many classrooms, offices or homes and you’ll see whiteboards that look slightly worn with remnants of the last lesson or meeting erased but still reflecting on the board. Maintaining a whiteboard’s peak performance is a simple, inexpensive and quick practice, but many owners aren’t aware that erasing content isn’t enough to keep a whiteboard clean. Follow the six tips and tricks below and you can keep your board looking brand new or transform one that has seen better days back to its original shine.

Tips and tricks

1. Follow the maintenance instructions: This first tip may seem obvious, but it’s one people often skip or forget about when using a whiteboard. PolyVision is a world leader when it comes to producing white and chalk CeramicSteel boards for a wide variety of environments. Scientists at PolyVision say the number one way to keep a board looking new is to take time to read the maintenance instructions before ever writing on the surface. If you’ve lost your instructions, we have a simple step-by-step process on whiteboard surface care to keep it looking brand new.

Math equations written in black marker on a classroom whiteboard with a blue dry-erase marker

2. Erasing is not enough: While erasing works wonderfully at first, its effectiveness wears off if more cleaning isn’t done. “Occasionally we’ll receive a question about boards becoming more difficult to erase over time,” says Becky Lewis, a customer service representative for PolyVision. “When the customer is asked if they’ve ever cleaned their board, they’re often surprised that it’s something that must be done to maintain performance. Cleaning the board with a recommended solution always solves the issue of erasability with CeramicSteel.”

3. Gloss differences cause ghosting: Chemicals from whiteboard markers build up and form a residue on the board if only erased. This residue causes a gloss difference on the board between unused areas and areas where content was written. The gloss difference causes “ghosting” or outlines of previous work even after erasing, which is a top complaint of whiteboard users. To get rid of ghosting, wipe the board with a cloth dipped in a mix of isopropyl alcohol and water — the most effective whiteboard cleaner.

4. Cleaners to use: Again, a mix of isopropyl alcohol and water is the best solution to clean a whiteboard, but there are a variety of other options that work just as well. Using a cloth moistened with whiteboard cleaner is enough to keep a board clean if used every week. Warm soapy water, window cleaner and peroxide all work well too. Be sure to stay away from wax-based cleaners as they leave a pesky film on the whiteboard.

Young girl writing on whiteboard in Indian classroom with black marker
Stained melamine whiteboard

Small group discussing ideas written on a large, floor-to-ceiling whiteboard

5. Frequency matters: Depending on the use of the board, it should be cleaned at different frequencies. When a teacher is writing on the board all day long the board should be wiped daily with whiteboard cleaner. In the office, many teams keep notes and schedules up on a board for a period of time, making erasing and cleaning every day a hassle. In these instances, the content should be erased and the board cleaned before rewriting the content again at least once a week.

6. Permanent marker isn’t permanent: Worry may set in if you realize permanent marker was used on a whiteboard, but don’t fear, even permanent marker can be removed. Trace the permanent marker content with a dry erase marker, erase it and you’ll find a clean slate due to the non-polar solvent in dry erase markers. Any of the cleaners mentioned above also contain organic solvents like 2-butoxyethanol that can help erase permanent pigment.

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