Between brainstorming sessions, random acts of doodling, and non-stop note taking, you’re probably interacting with your whiteboard on a daily basis. Just like hardwood floors and granite countertops, proper care and maintenance is required to help dry erase boards stay in top shape. In an effort to help you keep your whiteboard in tip-top share, we’ve put together this how-to guide for cleaning and maintaining your dry erase surface.
For starters, here’s the list of cleaning solutions you should avoid cleaning your whiteboard with:
Do not use:
- Any standard kitchen or bathroom cleaner, industrial cleaner, or solution containing isopropanol alcohol.
- Coarse or granular cloth like paper towels and toilet paper.
The reason for avoiding these solutions is rather simple: you want your board to maintain a high level of performance. Formulas that contain high levels of isopropanol alcohol and other high-toxicity cleaners can cause damage to the surface by forcing dry erase markers to have trouble sticking to the surface. Dry erase markers are made up of three components: colored pigments, a solvent, and a polymer. The polymer provides the ink with the capability to stick to the surface, while the solvent—which usually comes in the form of alcohol— helps the ink dry. Cleaning your whiteboard with a substance that contains a high potency of alcohol can alter the reaction the marker has with the board by either eliminating the dry erase capabilities of the board completely, or leaving behind notable stains.
The same goes for coarse paper materials like toilet paper and paper towels. While they may seem smooth and harmless from an initial glance, certain brands have a tendency to scratch steel and glass surfaces under the proper set of circumstances. That’s why it’s best to just avoid cleaning with those products entirely.
To provide the best care for your dry erase surface, you’ll want to clean your whiteboard at least once a week. This includes wiping the board with an eraser, as well as some form of lint-free wipe (be it a towel or whiteboard specific wipe, it is entirely up to you.) Lint-free materials are the optimal cleaning tools for cleaning dry erase surfaces, as they provide minimal scratching to the surface in addition to collecting marker residue that has been left behind. It is important to note that marker residue that has been left behind for a prolonged period of time may cause damage to the dry erase surface.
As far as cleaning solutions are concerned, we recommend using Magnatag’s own brand of board cleaner, as this is what all of our whiteboards are tested with. But regardless of which solution you end up with in the end, you’ll want to make sure it doubles as a whiteboard conditioner. Whiteboard conditioner is an oil-based solution that maintains the integrity of the dry erase surface. In order to prevent the ink from sticking to the surface of a whiteboard, dry erase boards rely on the reaction between their surface and the oily polymer found in dry erase markers. The oils found within the polymer counteract with the porous surface to make the ink slippery, preventing the ink from coming in direct contact with the board. The oily nature of whiteboard conditioner ensures that your dry erase board will maintain a slick surface and reinforce the reaction between the surface and ink. It’s recommended that you condition your board just as regularly as you clean it.
If you’ve forgotten to take notes, fear not! We’ve put together a little checklist covering everything we’ve mentioned thus far:
4 Tips For Cleaning Your Whiteboard:
- Avoid cleaning your whiteboard with standard kitchen or bathroom cleaner, industrial cleaner, or solution containing isopropanol alcohol, in addition to Coarse or granular cloth like paper towels and toilet paper, as they tend to deteriorate the dry erase surface.
- Clean your whiteboard at least once a week.
- Wipe your whiteboard with both an eraser, as well as some form of lint-free wipe, as they provide minimal scratching to the surface in addition to collecting marker residue that has been left behind.
- Use a whiteboard cleaning solution that doubles as a whiteboard conditioner, to further prevent your whiteboard from stains and ghost marks.