Dry erase boards are useful as long as you wipe them clean regularly. It's only a matter of time, however, before someone lets the marker sit too long or accidentally uses a permanent marker on them. Although it may take a bit of elbow grease, several common household items will erase whiteboard accidents. Possible cleaning agents include alcohol, glass cleaner, nail polish remover and even toothpaste. Whatever cleaner you try, make sure it's nonabrasive. Abrasive cleansers scratch the board. Marker ink then hides in the scratches where it is extremely difficult to remove.
Rubbing alcohol is very effective on dry erase boards. Alcohol erases the marker as well as the thin film that often dulls whiteboards after repeated use. Simply mix one part water and one part alcohol in a spray bottle, squirt some on the board and rinse with a soft, damp cloth. If you need a little extra cleaning power, use the alcohol at full potency rather than diluting it with water. If you don't have a bottle of isopropyl alcohol in your medicine cabinet, take heart. Many hand sanitizers are alcohol-based and will work just as well as plain alcohol.
Like alcohol, nail polish remover is extremely effective on dry erase boards. You must, however, use acetone-based remover. Women who have acrylic tips put on their nails use a gentler, non-acetone formula on their nails to avoid damaging them. This type of remover doesn't work on dry erase marker. Check the bottle and verify that the nail polish you're using contains acetone. If it does, you're in business.
Another possible cleaner for your dry erase board is household glass cleaner. Simply spray it onto the dry erase board, wipe it with a soft cloth and then rinse it with a damp cloth. If you prefer, you can make your own glass cleaner. Do so by adding 1/4 cup of white vinegar to 2 cups of water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and it's ready to use.
Fresh Dry Erase Marker
When you're trying to get rid of marker ink, adding more seems counter-intuitive. If, however, someone has accidentally used permanent marker on your whiteboard, adding more marker works well. Simply trace over the existing ink with a dry erase marker. After doing so, promptly erase the board. The fresh marker will take some of the old marker along with it, causing it to fade. You may need to trace over and erase the board multiple times to remove all of the old ink.
Hairspray seems to provide mixed results as a cleaner, but it certainly doesn't hurt to try it. Spray the hairspray on the dry erase board and let it sit for a few minutes. Hairspray is tacky and will theoretically lift the marker off the dry erase board. After letting the hairspray set to become sticky to the touch, wash it away with warm water and mild soap. Hopefully, it and the marker will come off the board easily.
Toothpaste also removes dry erase board writing, but it is slightly abrasive, so use it only as a last resort. The common white household toothpaste is the best kind to use. Smear the toothpaste all over the board and then wipe it away with a soft, damp cloth. Use a little soap and water if the toothpaste doesn't come off the board cleanly.
Julie Maria Anderson
Julie Maria Anderson is an author and website designer from Pennsylvania. She has written for over 5 years for different websites including Associated Content, ghostwriting projects, and her own website on a variety of subjects including health, family and child issues, and education. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Baptist Bible College of PA with an education and journalism emphasis.