Years of scribbling by visiting children had left the office whiteboard anything but white. Inspired after a thorough office cleaning, I decided to attack the marker stains last week in hopes of creating a workspace for organizing tasks by matter.
First I dragged the 8×4 board into my office and turned it so it stood on its side so that I could lean it against a wall.
Second, I did a Google search for advice then rooted around the firm for cleaning products for experimenting on the tough stains. Here is what I tried:
- Windex wipes: faded the marks a little
- Pine Sol: smelled great, no discernible difference
- Vinegar-water solution: didn’t smell so great, did seem to take away some “ghosting”
- Pledge multi-surface: nada
- Hand sanitizer: cut through the stains, but required a blog per inch or so
- isopropyl rubbing alcohol (70% ): saw significant improvement, elbow grease necessary
- “magic eraser” (brand unknown): worked decently, especially in combination with the alcohol
The problem was that none of these were getting the board back to white, and those that had any effect took more effort than it was worth. At this point I looked into whiteboard sheets to recover the surface. This stick-on material would be a quick fix if it worked, but could be a pain in the neck if not applied smoothly or kept fairly clean. Having exhausted the cleaning products at the office, I came back to work the next day armed with stuff from home:
- Toothpaste (this happened to be Colgate Cavity Protection): worked really well, but took a toothbrush amount per foot or so. Also, the room smelled minty fresh.
- Bar Keeper’s Friend: worked like a charm. On a clean cloth, make a paste with water and work in circular motions. I combined it with the toothpaste a few times for accelerated results. Add more paste as necessary, then clean the powdery residue with water and a new towel. It may take a few goings-over to get the powder off.
Finally, a clean, white whiteboard! Unfortunately, all the abrasive cleaning left the board without its shiny surface, so I brought in my trusty WD-40. As recommended by http://www.wikihow.com I sprayed the board, let it sit for about five minutes, then wiped the board dry. After that I added some electrical tape for lines and began writing. WD-40 is also great for removing less-than-stubborn marks when applied with a cloth.