TweetWhat is your best friend in the classroom? For some it will be their coursebook, enabling them to follow a plan and keep the lesson on track. For others it will be the years of experience they’ve accumulated, allowing them to adapt to whatever arises. Whatever counts as your best friend in class, we all make use of the board at the front to a certain extent. When we use the whiteboard, we want the message we’re trying to convey to be clear and visible. Consequently, there’s nothing worse than being confronted with a dirty whiteboard. While all whiteboards deteriorate over time, there are a number of steps we can take to maintain this important classroom resource.
One of the biggest problems with whiteboards is their tendency to ‘ghost’. Whiteboard ghosting refers to those faint impressions left on your whiteboard after erasing the notes that you left for a long time. You will notice the ghost handwriting or drawing even from afar. These marks appear like shadows to your new notes. If you want to remove or clean your whiteboard of these ghosting marks, you can do so in a few easy steps. You will need a few household items to help you finish the task.
Use isopropyl alcohol or white vinegar
Put a few drops of isopropyl alcohol (the basic kind of rubbing alcohol you can find at pharmacies) directly onto the ‘infected’ area of your whiteboard. This works best if you let the alcohol sit for a few minutes and then dry the board with a soft cloth or some paper towels. Alternatively, prepare a solution of 50% water and 50% white vinegar and follow the same procedure.
I’ve never actually tried this myself, but I’m assured it works. Apply a small amount of toothpaste directly onto a cloth. Wipe this on to the area of the whiteboard with the ghosting until it looks clean. Remember to use a paper towel to remove any toothpaste residue (there will be some) after you’ve cleaned.
Use nail polish remover
Acetone is the main ingredient in nail polish remover and this is totally hardcore in helping to remove ghosting. Follow the same procedure you used for toothpaste and again use a paper towel to remove any residue nail polish remover after cleaning.
Use WD-40 or Pledge
If all else fails, regular cleaning products are unsurprisingly effective on white boards. A good spray of WD-40 on the whiteboard will do wonders. Let the spray sit for a few minutes, then wipe the board with paper towels. Careful: if the board isn’t dried properly, markers won’t work well. WD-40 is also great for removing sellotape that is stuck to the whiteboard.
2. Getting rid of permanent marker and other difficult stains
The problem with permanent markers is that they look like white board markers.
Use a regular non-permanent marker
Here’s a video I made showing you how to do this:
Use emulsion paint remover
Emulsion paint is stubborn stuff, so a paint remover can also be used to get rid of those pesky stains made by permanent markers. Basically, apply the stain remover according to the directions, as if you were trying to remove paint, and then wipe the ink off. Because this stuff is seriously strong, make sure that you wipe the board down well afterwards.
3. Prevention is better than cure
Although I’ve spent most of this post explaining how you can bring your whiteboard back from a dirty state, I’d still argue that it’s best to take steps to avoid getting it dirty in the first place. Here are three things we can all do to prolong the life of our whiteboards.
Wait for ink to dry before trying to remove it
Whenever I make a spelling mistake I want to try and eradicate it as quickly as possible. However, what you are doing if you try and immediately rub out a misspelled word is spread wet ink over an area of the board. Always allow pen work to dry before erasing it; this usually takes 8 to 10 seconds, and always use a proper eraser, as using a paper towel has the same ink-spreading effect.
Take care with the eraser
We are quick to disregard board markers when they run out of ink, but how often do we change board erasers? Always replace the eraser when it becomes too dirty to use. If you don’t, you are effectively just spreading dirty ink around the board whenever you use it.
A wipe a day…
Washing the white board daily with water and a soft cloth will increase its lifespan.
Over time, whiteboards inevitably start to lose their ‘polish’. No matter what you do, the board work from previous lessons can still be seen; board marks become more difficult to remove and you see more and more shadows. Nevertheless, sticking to these few methods will help you keep that board fairly clean.
Do you have any more tricks? Please let me know how you deal with such issues!