A whiteboard also called a dry erase board, is useful and versatile for both the home and office. Toddlers can use it for writing practice, school-age children can turn it into a task board, and adults can utilise it for note-taking—and that’s just the beginning.

The problem is, a whiteboard doesn’t stay so white after a while. Even just a few months of regular use can turn it from pristine to grey and smudged. So how can you keep a whiteboard looking like new, just like how commercial cleaners do? Below are just a few tried-and-tested tips:

Erase It Everyday

The key to keeping your whiteboards white is to wipe it down completely every single day. Thoroughly cleaning your whiteboard of all previous writings is especially important before you write on it again. This will prevent the build-up of dry erase marker ink over time.

To make sure that you get every bit of ink off, get rid of your old whiteboard eraser made from foam or felt. This doesn’t do a thorough enough job and can even spread dirty marks, smudge ink, or scratch the board. Instead, use a microfibre cloth as a whiteboard eraser.

The next thing you have to remember is that it’s better to wet your whiteboard before wiping it clean. You can use regular rubbing alcohol for this. Just spray the area you want to clean, and then wipe it with the microfibre cloth.

Finally, make sure that you get every trace of marker. Pay attention to the sides and corners where the powdery residue of the dry erase marker ink can settle.

Dry Erase Marker to the Rescue

It’s a common mistake that everybody will likely eventually make: using a permanent marker to write on a whiteboard. Thankfully, this isn’t a permanent problem and the solution is also something well-known. Simply take a dry erase marker, draw over the permanent ink, and then wipe it clean.

What many people get wrong is that they immediately erase the marks after drawing. To achieve the best results, you should first allow the dry erase marker to settle and dry over the permanent ink. This gives the old ink a little more time to soften and make it easier to erase.

Once dry erase marker dries, follow the steps mentioned above: spray the area with alcohol and wipe down thoroughly using a microfibre cloth. If there are any leftover marks, simply repeat the entire process.

Use Toothpaste for Deep-Cleaning

If you notice any stains on your whiteboard, you can remove them using a common household item: toothpaste. Simply put a small amount of toothpaste onto the whiteboard’s surface, then use the microfibre cloth to rub off the stain.

For the best results, use a circular motion when rubbing the cloth. Once the stains are all removed, use a clean microfibre cloth to wipe off all the toothpaste residue to prevent streaks. Give the whiteboard a couple of passes with the clean cloth to get everything.

What’s great about toothpaste is that it’s effective in removing stains made both by dry erase and permanent markers.

Household Items for Whiteboard Cleaning

If you’d rather not use toothpaste to clean your whiteboard, there are other household items you can use. One of the best ones is the popular water-displacing spray WD-40. Simply spray the whiteboard with a little bit of the product, then wipe it down thoroughly with your microfibre cloth. You can do this once a week for maintenance to keep your whiteboard clean and smooth.

As earlier mentioned, rubbing alcohol is also a good and affordable cleaner for whiteboards. It also comes with the bonus of sanitising the surface. For removing deep-seated stains, make sure to use a 90 to 99% alcohol concentration; for daily maintenance, a 70% solution will usually suffice.

Other options you may want to try out include:

  • Glass cleaner
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Nail polish remover
  • White vinegar mixed with water
  • Baby wipes

There are also DIY enthusiasts who suggest using coffee grounds to remove stains on a whiteboard, and then rinsing the residue with mild soap and water. Of course, baking soda mixed with some water also works wonders.

Remember, though, that some cleaners are formulated to be a little more powerful than others. To avoid damaging your whiteboard, perform a spot test on a small area beforehand.

The main thing to remember about cleaning your whiteboard is to do it thoroughly and regularly. As soon as you don’t need what’s written on it any longer, erase them. This way, the ink from the dry erase marker won’t seep into the surface.

This applies for whatever kind of whiteboard you have: melamine, painted aluminum or steel, or porcelain. Certain materials, such as porcelain, are more stain-resistant than others. Nevertheless, it’s still a good idea to clean your whiteboard regularly.

With proper care, your whiteboard will always look like new and you can write on it smoothly for years to come.