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. The process for how to maintain 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 whiteboard 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. Use erasers and cleaning solution: 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. Remove whiteboard 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. Homemade whiteboard cleaner: 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

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

5. Clean whiteboard frequently: 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. How to remove permanent marker: 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.


  1. mike lynch says:

    September 10th, 2019 at 2:54 AM

    Thanks for the info. I am a school custodian and we have been accused of ruining whiteboards with microfiber cloths and neutral detergent in warm water. We also used non ammonia ‘green’ window cleaner and were told to stop using that.

  2. JM Johnson says:

    January 21st, 2020 at 4:31 PM

    Thank you! I recently invested in a 7×4′ whiteboard for my home office and want to care for it properly. This information was quite useful.

  3. Kimberly says:

    February 19th, 2020 at 5:39 PM

    At the school I work for. We have student desk that have a whiteboard top so that students can write on it. Is there anything you can put on it to disinfect it properly. We use expo to clean it.

  4. adminPV says:

    February 19th, 2020 at 5:59 PM

    Hi Kimberly, it would depend on what type of dry erase surface it is, as some surfaces can’t withstand abrasive cleaners. Any standard disinfectant works on CeramicSteel surfaces, but you would need to check with the manufacturer of your specific surface to be sure not to damage the finish.

  5. jamie says:

    March 24th, 2020 at 2:51 PM

    hi, what is the recipe for homemade cleaner for the white board?

  6. adminPV says:

    April 20th, 2020 at 5:30 PM

    Thank you for your response! For CeramicSteel surfaces, we recommend a 30/70 solution of isopropyl alcohol (30%) and water (70%).

  7. izzy says:

    May 26th, 2020 at 10:50 AM

    Thank you for this article! I have just bought a whiteboard to help with my studies at university and found this quite helpful!

  8. Heather Bishop says:

    June 12th, 2020 at 11:40 AM

    Out of curiosity, I tried a bit of water to erase whiteboard dry wipe
    marker – IT WORKED VERY EASILY!!!

  9. adminPV says:

    June 15th, 2020 at 1:56 PM

    Thank you for your response, Heather! Yes, water will easily remove dry erase marker ink from CeramicSteel. However, the marker will leave behind a clear residue. This is why we recommend a deeper cleaning every so often.

  10. Natalia says:

    September 25th, 2020 at 3:38 PM

    Hi! Thank you for this information 🙂 What type of markers do you recommend? My understanding is that there are two types for whiteboards: alcohol-based and water-based, but I don’t know which one to buy.

  11. Teaching says:

    December 30th, 2020 at 1:17 PM

    Hello, I have some glue on my new white board, can I put household alcohol onto it? Or do you have any other solution?

    Thanks so much!

  12. Polyvision says:

    January 5th, 2021 at 6:22 PM

    If your new whiteboard surface is indeed CeramicSteel, which is perfectly solvent resistant, you can use alcohol (or any other solvent for that matter) to remove glue residue off the surface. You can verify if the surface is CeramicSteel by trying to scratch it with a sharp tool in an inconspicuous corner of the board – a CeramicSteel surface will not scratch whilst a painted steel surface will. Should the surface be painted steel, we’d suggest to check with the supplier/manufacturer of the board, since not all painted steel whiteboard surfaces are solvent resistant.

  13. Very helpful tips,thank you. Mary Vance says:

    January 11th, 2021 at 1:24 PM

    Very helpful tips,thank you Mary.

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