How to Clean Dry Erase Boards: 10 surprising tricks.

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It is the bane of every teacher and public speaker’s existance– dry erase marker stains that won’t come off your dry erase board. EXPO & Quartet make  great dry erase board cleaners that get rid of stubborn stains, but if you don’t have any on hand, there are a surprising number of products found in nearly every home and maintenance supply closet that should do the trick.

Clean dry erase board marker stains with:

  1. Isopropyl Alcohol
    Make sure you are using the 99% or 90% solution. The 70% stuff doesn’t work nearly as well.
  2. Peroxide
    No 99% Isopropyl alcohol on hand to clean your dry erase board? Try peroxide.
  3. Hand Sanitizer
    Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are better than “natural” sanitizers at cleaning your dry erase board — better at killing germs on your hands too.
  4. WD-40
    At this point, I want to know if there is anything WD-40 can’t do. (Answer: yes.)
  5. Hairspray
    Spray on, wipe off, then get rid of the sticky residue with soap and water.
  6. Toothpaste
    Actually, toothpaste removes stubborn stains from most smooth, non-porous surfaces.
  7. Ben-Gay
    Slightly abrasive like toothpaste, and contains alcohol for added cleaning power.
  8. Comet
    Abrasive with proven cleaning power. Your dry erase board will look brand new.
  9. Coffee Grinds
    Of course, once you’ve used coffee grinds to scrub off dry erase marker stains, you have to turn around and clean off the brown coffee residue. Still, works in a pinch!
  10. Vinegar
    Should probably list this first, since vinegar and water are my go to solution for most cleaning projects.

Do you have any tips and tricks for keeping your dry erase board looking new? We’d love to here them. Share your advice in the comments.

Sources: WikiHow, Gizmodo

344 comments on “How to Clean Dry Erase Boards: 10 surprising tricks.

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  • Toilet bowl cleaner with bleach put directly on the white board wipe with hot wet washcloth when done with that wipe with hot soapy cloth rinse wash cloth and wipe with just water all the stains will be gone, just tried it worked wonderful

    Reply
      • Ellie Sanders says:

        We found my Mom unconscious on the floor several times because she kept insisting on mixing bleach with toilet bowl cleaner, luckily for her, she always fell out of the bathroom and got fresh air or we would have lost her right the. Do not mix these ingredients!

        Reply
  • Marsha Mellow says:

    L. A.’s Totally Awesome, undiluted, available at Dollar Tree takes most of it off. Follow this with a coat of car wax. I use liquid or paste Turtle wax. It is amazing. Plus the wax seems to seal out future stains! I also use a car buffer after the second coat of wax. Only because I clean a lot of square footageof white board as a school custodian.
    Smaller white boards I polish by hand.

    Reply
    • Aileen Frye says:

      LA Totally Awesome is my #1 for 98% of everything I clean in my house. Even parts of my car! Works perfect on my new board and is onoy cleaner I have used, seems to be lasting longer than past boards of smae type. Also quility pens are a must for the best use and performance of any quality dry board.

      Reply
    • Going through the cleaning closet for various products mentioned here and elsewhere, I found a green spray bottle that says “LA’s Totally Awesome All Purpose Cleaner,” but then says “Rust, Lime, Calcium” in a larger font. Is this the stuff you mean? If it is, would you recommend it over CLR, which I also found?

      Reply
      • Marsha Mellow says:

        Not the right stuff. The awesome we speak of is either a yellow liquid in a clearish bottle or awesome orange in a white bottle with an orange label. I am unsure how the calcium/ lime remover would work, but it probably won’t hurt.

        Reply
      • Neethu Mohan says:

        Mam try to clean ur board with liquids I mean liquid used for cleaning vessels .. add small amt of water to it dilute it and make a try … I think it works

        Reply
    • I agree – toothpaste! I tried nearly everything on the list, and the toothpaste took it off in a snap! Vinegar, alcohol & peroxide did nothing to remove the stains.

      Reply
  • I tried 90% Isopropyl Alcohol, hand sanitizer, nail acetone, WD-40, vinegar, hairspray on a 2 year old marks in my whiteboard and it did NOT worked. Tooth paste on the other hand worked perfectly. Thank You!

    Reply
  • Just used 91% Isopropyl Alcohol and it worked like a charm! The stains were years old but it worked! Thank you for the advice!

    Reply
  • Okay I had like a huge problem because my little sister had stuck contact papaer on my whiteboard and it than had pink marks on it but hand sanitizer works like nobody’s business. It works wonders thank you

    Reply
  • After you cleaned it, apply caranuba wax (the one you use on your car) over the board and let it dry completely, then wipe it off (that'll be some work).

    That'll keep the board to gunk up so fast. For the whiteboard to work it needs a hydrophobic coat, the wax takes care of that.

    Reply
  • Vinegar didn't work at all for me. I think older boarrds that lose their smooth surface become harder and harder to clean, especially if the marks dry for several days or weeks.

    Reply
    • Hand Sanitizer for the win! I had games with dry erase marker that had been on them for 4 years in storage. Alcohol wipes were a disaster but hand sanitizer worked perfectly!

      Reply
  • Uncle of an aspiring artist says:

    Used toothpaste after I noticed my niece's art pieces on my fridge. Spread the paste on and rub it in with your fingers then wait a minute or two. Scrub away with a damp towel. Then wipe a few times afterwards with a damp rag/towel.

    Reply
  • Lisa Nedreski says:

    Hand sanitizer worked beautifully on our floor to ceiling, 20ft white board that had not been cleaned in years. (Hospital psychiatric unit). Thanks, it looks brand new. The patients are going to be thrilled!

    Reply
    • Ya next time you tell ppl the magic eraser worked wonderfully, you might want to also mention that it strips the coating off and marker doesn’t erase off anymore! Thanks a bunch!

      Reply
      • I’m not sure what kind you’re using, but that didn’t happen to mine when I used a magic eraser. Did you wet the eraser first?

        Reply
  • Vinegar?! All it did was make my room smell like vinegar. It didn’t make one iota f a difference. How about deleting this one from your list. It doesn’t work.

    Reply
    • Brenda Bodiford says:

      Vinegar worked just fine for me. It looks brand new again. I’m going to put some wax on it as suggested.

      Reply
  • Rozanne Pate says:

    go over old dried d.e. ink with a fresh marker and it will wipe right off! Works of permanent marker ink as well.

    Reply
  • Tried everything on a whiteboard that had had ‘permanent marker’ on it for 10 years. Toothpaste did the trick!

    Reply
  • whiteboard_obsessed says:

    So I had this purple dry erase marker and now it won’t come off my board. I tried EVERYTHING and only the toothpaste worked, but it took a really long time, a ton of toothpaste, and a lot of scrubbing. Is there an easier, more efficient way?

    Reply
    • Marsha Mellow says:

      Yes! Completely scribble over the old markings with a new dry erase marker, then simply erase. It seems to loosen the old.
      The other way is to use car wax. Apply just like you wax a vehicle, then polish. Leaves a protective finish and doesn’t scratch up the white board. I have used both Turtle wax liquid and paste. I am pretty sure other brands of car wax will work too.

      Reply
    • I tried the peroxide, alcohol and toothpaste but none of them worked. Does the comet really work on red marker? And how long do I need to let it set for?

      Reply
  • The 70% rubbing alcohol works well! I used the alcohol swabs that come in small packets in first aid kits. The dry erase board I have had ink markings on it for 3 years and was removed immediately! Hydrogen peroxide did not work for me.

    Reply
  • Use a white board marker cover completely then wipe off!! use marker to fight marker works like a charm. No need for chemicals …

    Reply
  • NAIL POLISH REMOVER!! I tried a few of these and had to rub really hard with almost no result. Nail polish removed wiped it off in one swipe. Barely used any!

    Reply
  • Amy Tyler says:

    I tried all of the suggestions before I looked online and found this site. I used a local store brand of 100% acitone nail polish remover. It came right off. Some of the more sunburn markings took a little bit of elbow grease, but looks like new with very little marks left. I used a lot of paper towels though. Then I cleaned it with 50/50 rubbing alcohol for the smell. Though this post was very old, I am glad I found it! Thank you to all of your comments and suggestions.

    Reply
  • None of these worked for me. Out of desperation I used Jif and a never scratch sponge, dry. Came straight off and hadn’t damaged the surface.

    Reply
  • “awesome” was the only thing that worked! I clean at a school in the summer and had tried just about every suggestion!

    Reply

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