Tools and techniques for removing graffiti

There are a variety of techniques and tools to remove graffiti. The essentials of a graffiti removal tool kit include:

  • Aerosol remover
  • Clean rags
  • Economical rollers, brushes, and paint
  • Scraper
  • Dust mask
  • Safety specs
  • Kitchen cleaner
  • Water in a spray bottle

1.   Abrasive blasting for rough surfaces

More commonly referred to as sandblasting, this involves forcing a high-pressure stream of coarse particles against the surface to remove graffiti.

2.   Paint over it

It is best to repaint over graffiti if the surface is painted to remove it completely. Using specific chemicals or graffiti removal solvents to fade out the graffiti as much as possible and painting over it is the easiest way to fully get rid of it.

Bleeding through the new layer of paint is likely for certain graffiti markers so it is best to apply a sealer coat before you paint over the entire surface. Do a small patch test to determine if this will happen.

As graffiti tends to stand out more visibly on surfaces with a lighter colour, go for a darker colour to paint it out.  The marks are less likely to show through and the colour will make the site less attractive to other graffiti vandals.

3.   Elbow Grease and the Wire Brush

A low-cost wire brush is perfect for getting rid of paint from various surfaces. While the surface may end up looking like it was scrubbed with a wire brush, the graffiti will considerably fade. It is better to use the wire brush on surfaces that will weather back to their original texture or colour over time such as street curbs, telephone poles, certain rough metals, decorative rocks, smooth stone surfaces, concrete and wood fences.

4.   Solvents

While painting over the graffiti on a painted surface is a good idea, it would be smart to have a solvent that can remove graffiti for the quick response as fresh graffiti is generally easier to get rid of than older graffiti. There are numerous products for graffiti removal available in the market. It can be helpful to research them and familiarize yourself with them. Learn about how to safely handle and use them. Knowing about the product you are handling is essential to make sure you are able to take care of an accidental injury caused by the product.

Some of the popular cleaners and solvents sold at hardware stores can be dangerous and toxic. For this reason, it is important to use a dust mask, or a respirator to avoid accidentally breathing in the chemicals.

Make sure you are wary of the wind conditions and wear both breathing and eye protection while using graffiti removing cleaners and solvents. Also, dispose the rags used with the cleaners carefully and properly.

5.   Anti-Graffiti Coating

It is a covering that prevents the bonding of graffiti paint to surfaces. Applying a protective layer is a smart move for removing graffiti, particularly if your house is a common victim of graffiti.

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