How to Clean a Painted Chalkboard

cleaning chalkboards

Learning how to clean a painted chalkboard is still a valuable lesson, even in this era of white boards and computer screens. Find out how to maintain the classic look of a real chalkboard while saving money at the same time.

Classic Making a Comeback

Chalkboards used to be found everywhere you looked - children's classrooms, restaurant cafes, and even certain areas of the home used for organization. However, lately many chalkboard needs have been fulfilled instead with more modern technologies such as computer projectors, white boards, and even everything being taught via the Internet both in college settings and for the younger crowd within families choosing to home school.

Fortunately for the chalkboard, there is a silver lining amidst this cloud of despair - classic looks are all the rage right now, and chalkboards are reclaiming their piece of the industry in both likely and unlikely locales. Even better, new lines of chalkboard paint make it possible now for anyone to create a chalkboard surface with ease and little expense. From playrooms to office spaces, chalkboards are making a comeback.

A Tired Look

In the new era of chalkboarding, we are running across old problems once again. Just like you remember from your school days, chalkboards can be nearly impossible to get clean. The paint surface can begin to fade, replacing a deep black or vibrant green with an irritating white coating that refuses to quit. You can also find scratches and streaks on aging boards.

Conquer these nuisances with the tips that follow. Remember to stay away from using too much water in all these circumstances, as this will cause further damage.

A Refresher Course on How to Clean a Painted Chalkboard

First, use a good quality eraser to remove as much chalk as you can. You can find a board eraser everywhere from your local department store (like Target or Wal Mart) to teacher supply houses. After you have erased as thoroughly as possible, pour ½ a cup of vinegar into a small bucket of warm water. Using a cloth that won't leave lint or threads in its place, wipe the board vertically.

After the entire board has been wiped gently and completely, allow to air dry. Running a piece of chalk over a damp board will cause further damage - and quite possibly will ruin your chalk too!

You can also use lemon oil on a chalkboard, and this will yield even more impressive results if you can wipe it down with a cloth that has "marinated" in a Ziploc bag overnight with the lemon oil on it. Use only a few drops - there is no need to soak the cloth.

Finally, some teachers and stay at home moms swear by Endust, which is designed to be a furniture cleaner, but works well on chalkboards. Even better, they now come in dust cloth form, which saves you a few steps when you need to do a quick cleaning.

Whatever you choose to use as a cleaning method, don't forget the importance of those long strokes. It's been proven time and again that starting at the top left hand corner and going all the way across the board is the best way to clean without leaving residue.

Cleaning Don'ts

  • Stick to dry or semi-dry methods whenever possible. While a bit of moisture is necessary, water will hurt the surface if used in large amounts.
  • Using chemicals is also not recommended, because the ingredients within a painted chalkboard surface will react with the chemicals and cause irreversible damage.
  • Writing on a wet board can cause the scrawls to be permanent, due to the softened surface.
  • Do your research before buying into the chalkboard cleaning items available in stores today. You don't really need anything fancy to get the job done.
How to Clean a Painted Chalkboard