What good is a dry erase board that doesn’t erase?
Many different factors can contribute to a whiteboard not erasing, but with a little knowledge and some tips & tricks you can easily get that board clean or at least know when the time has come to replace it.
Use the right tools
Traditional felt chalk board erasers were not designed to be used on whiteboards. Instead of trapping the ink, they tend to push the dry ink around the surface of the board. They leave a trail of dry ink debris on the surface, causing the board to look messy and dirty.
A soft microfiber cloth tends to work better than a paper towel or a rag because the fibers trap the ink and get it off of the surface while polishing the smooth dry erase surface. Microfiber cloths have negative charges that actually attract dust, ink, dirt, etc.
For the stubborn stains
If simply wiping the cloth over the stain does not remove the stain, adding water to the cloth may be the next step. Wetting the cloth in a way reactivates the ink. It loosens the ink particles making it easier for the fibers to clean the board. A damp microfiber cloth should erase the simplest of stains.
For resilient stains
For resilient stains try using a whiteboard cleaner. Whiteboard cleaners are designed to erase stains while cleaning and conditioning the whiteboard. You can make your own whiteboard cleaner using a solution of 50% water and 50% isopropyl alcohol.
If the cleaner does not seem to be doing the trick, increase the proportion of isopropyl alcohol to water, this should erase the hardest of removable stains. Using straight isopropyl alcohol, or isopropyl wipes should be the next step if increasing the solution does not erase pesky stains.
Sometimes simply re-writing over the stain with a dry erase marker and then erasing the ink will remove the stain underneath. Writing on a stain with a dry erase marker in a way reactivates the ink and when it is erased it pulls the old ink into the cloth along with the new ink; resulting in a clean board. This has been known to erase permanent marker stains and is an easy trick if you are out of dry erase cleaner, or if there is no water nearby.
The worst thing you can do for your whiteboard would be to use abrasive cleaners that could potentially scratch or harm the board. Magic erasers, tile/tub cleaners, all-purpose cleaners, bleach; harsh chemicals such as these can ruin a board.
Resurface or Replace?
If the staining gets out of hand and the previous solutions do not work for your whiteboard, then it might be in your best interest to either resurface or replace the whiteboard. See our post on resurfacing dry erase boards