How to Get the Writing Off the Wall

Depending on type of mark, some cleaning solutions are more effective at removing certain types over others. So before going to the handyman guide, first consider not only what you are attempting to remove, but also the composition of the wall you’ll be removing it from. Knowing both will help you decide on the best cleaning method that won’t remove the paint along with the mark on your wall.

Crayon: First scrape off as much excess wax as you can with a razor blade -this will prevent unnecessary smudging. Next, mix a mild (bleach free) detergent with water, then rub the crayon spot to lift any remaining marks (also effectively removes fingerprint marks).

Marker: If the marker is dry-erase or alcohol-based, you can try using a liquid non-oily hairspray or rubbing alcohol. To remove stains from oil-based markers, apply a very small amount of lighter fluid – be sure to use caution, as this is highly flammable! If the marker is water-based, use dish soap with color-safe bleach or prewash spray. Spray lightly, rub gently, then pat dry (Extra Bonus: dish soap is a great alternative to combat the grease spots).

Pen/Ink: You have a good chance of getting water-based ink out with hairspray or lemon juice if the stain is still fresh. Both are safe to use on wallpaper. Otherwise, coat the stain with plain white toothpaste and wipe clean after 10 minutes (Extra Bonus: toothpaste also works for small home improvement drywall repairs).

Chalk: Baking soda mixed with water will help lift chalk from the surface so that it can be removed completely with a towel or cloth. Baking soda is recommended over regular soap because of the slight abrasion it offers, however, it’s gentle enough for most wall coverings (including paint and wallpaper).

Pencil: White art gum erasers will remove marks without causing them to smudge. Also gum erasers are safer to use on wallpaper, as regular erasers are likely to rub a hole if too much pressure is applied.

Scuffs & Marks: Believe it or not,  window cleaner is actually an effective treatment for the random scuffs and marks that seem to appear from out of nowhere. It can also be used for removing pencil marks and is safe to use on painted surfaces.

Avoid having to paint the walls by remembering to use either soft (print-free) paper towels or dish clothes when treating the wall stain. Be sure to apply pressure carefully; although it might take longer a careful application of pressure will less likely cause additional damage to the wall surface. Certain sponges, such as melamine, will also remove paint or tear holes into wall paper.


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