View Full Version : Rejuvenating Dry Erase Boards

06-02-2002, 05:48 PM
My workplace has a number of dry erase/white boards that are used on a daily basis. Recently, someone cleaned them using a substance not approved for cleaning white board, and since then they have become increasingly difficult to erase after use. Is there anything that can be used to restore White Boards to their pristine condiiton? Mind you, these aren't little boards - they are 4 foot by 8 foot, and permanently mounted to the wall - so I can't just zip out to the local Staples and replace them.

Swede Hollow
06-02-2002, 07:06 PM
That other "unapproved" cleaning fluid may have removed part of the surface of the boards. They may be on their way out. There is cleaner out there made for whiteboards, but it might not rejuvenate the boards.

Doc Nickel
06-02-2002, 07:19 PM
Done that myself. I don't think there's a cure.

The "erasability" of the boards is due to the smoothness and... nonporousness, if that's a word, of the surface. If the chemical used etched the surface, it become easier for the inks to "soak in", or at least it's much tougher to get it out of the microscopic "pits".

Mine are small, the 'home office' size, but I have a bunch of 'em. One I accidentally hit with a rag with carb cleaner residue, another I accidentally used an El Marko rather than the DE pen. In the latter case, I tried some light solvents to remove the permanent ink, but came up with the same problem; The wiped area held the ink more readily, and eventually left a huge "smudge".

Best advice- ditch it and replace it. In fact, if it's a 4' X 8', you can hit up a building material supplier and just use a full sheet of smooth, white bathroom laminate. Cost ya about $20 not counting installation.

Joey P
06-02-2002, 07:34 PM
To digress a bit, a teacher of mine was telling the class about a workshop (or sometype of thing where a bunch of teachers get together) he was at at another school. Anyways, as the teachers were discussing something, one of them was writing on the dry erase board, and later found out he had been using a permenant marker the whole time. Since they were at another school at didn't want to ruin the boards, they tried to get it off themselves. Apparently they tried just about everything they could think of, and nothing worked. The think that did end up working to get it off was coffee. Now I know coffee won't resurface your board but I still thought the story was kinda funny.

Fear Itself
06-02-2002, 09:14 PM
If you accidentally use a permanent marker, try writing over it immediately with a dry-erase marker, then erase it; it will remove the permanent ink completely. If the permanent marker ink has had a while to set, the results are less successful.

06-02-2002, 10:22 PM
Never tried it myself but car wax might work. Rain-X, that stuff that comes in a litte bottle and makes it so that nothing will stick to your windshield would be another guess.

06-02-2002, 10:44 PM
I didn't know this could happen.
I've been using Windex. Is that bad?

06-02-2002, 10:51 PM
Shagnasty's suggestions are intriguing, but I've never tried them either.

The makers of whiteboards (EXPO, f'rinstance) insist that repeated application of their cleansers will restore the surface. If that doesn't work, search on Google for "paint dry-erase"; you will get several hits for paints that produce a whiteboard surface. They do not recommend this material for refinishing whiteboards, but if it doesn't work, you can rip out the whiteboards and spray the underlying wall.

06-02-2002, 10:53 PM
Neptune, I've never seen Windex do any ahrm to a white board. That said, rubbing alcohol is better and cheaper.

Duck Duck Goose
06-02-2002, 11:02 PM
Windex is OK, many whiteboard websites recommend using it, but IMO the "special cleaner" stuff works better and doesn't smell as bad.

Anyway, to address the OP--whiteboard surfaces just deteriorate over time, anyway, so maybe the "unapproved cleaner" didn't have anything to do with it (unless it was something really abrasive like Comet Cleanser).

Word on whiteboard maintenance, at least for their particular surface.

Not only do the board surfaces deteriorate over time, but also the cleaner residue builds up, so they recommend rinsing the board with plain water after every cleaning.

Finally--putting "rejuvenate dry erase board" into Google brings up this stuff. See if Staples has it.

Re-Nu it is a sheet of white opaque polyester, with a specially formulated coating that is able to accept dry erase markers without "ghosting" for a longer period of time than standard white boards. Re-Nu it is backed with a "post-it" type adhesive that can be cut and affixed to existing soiled boards. No longer are expensive, messy chemicals required to refurbish and "rejuvenate" that old looking white board.
There are also "dry erase" wallpapers, that maybe you could stick on over the old boards.

Duck Duck Goose
06-02-2002, 11:05 PM
I would not put either car wax or silicone spray on a whiteboard. The dry erase markers are designed to work a certain way on the certain kind of plastic, and I doubt if they're designed to write on a layer of car wax or silicone.

06-03-2002, 12:24 AM
I'm curious, what cleaner did they use that damaged the whiteboard? Something containing an abrasive?

Permanent markers can be cleaned off with rubbing alcohol. I wish couldn't, as a matter of fact - many times I cleaned off "permament" marks with alcohol by mistake.

06-03-2002, 03:55 AM
I agree with Nametag in using rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) - used it many a time myself with great success.

The times permanent markers have ben used instead of the DE, I've even used nail polish remover which worked wonders. Not sure of the damage it may cause, but it removes the writing.

I've just found a site that suggests baby wipes (nea.org/helpfrom/growing/works4me/organize/boards.html) (look near the bottom of the page for whiteboard info) or hair spray :confused: ....

Good luck.

06-05-2002, 12:35 AM
Thanks for all the answers and ideas!

scr4, unfortunately, this happened while I was on vacation, so I don't know WHAT they used! I think it may have been SoftScrub, or something like that. I was rather peeved when I came back and saw what they had done to 'my' board (I put daily 'quotes' up on one of them - but it has become such a hassle to clean them every day that I don't anymore [it takes me about 10 minutes to clean a board that has MINIMAL writing on it]).

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