While the initial answer to ‘how to clean a chalkboard’ may seem obvious, deep cleaning and removing any trace of chalk is a little more complex. Through regular use, chalkboards often hold on to residue, and the board doesn’t look as clean and black.
On the other hand, if kids use the board, more than just chalk has likely ended up on it. Kids will often get crayons, markers, and even food on the chalkboard, which is okay if you know how to clean it off.
Fortunately, there are several commercial cleaners on the market and some DIY recipes to make your own. To remove chalk buildup, you can make your own cleaning solution with vinegar, water, and a few cloths.
For crayons, use baking soda; for grease residue, use chalk; and for permanent markers, use isopropyl alcohol. You can also buy some ready-made solutions online for regular, easy deep cleaning.
There may be affiliate links in this article. You can read more about this in my disclosure.
How Often Should I Clean My Chalkboard?
It’s typically easier to clean fresh chalk off a board than old chalk that has been there for a while. This is even more relevant if your chalkboard is exposed to grease, hairspray, and smoke, as these contaminants help set the chalk into the board.
For deep cleaning, you want to do it often enough to prevent excessive residue buildup but not so repeatedly that you damage the board’s finish.
Similarly, if you’re deep cleaning a wall with chalk paint, you need to remember how many layers of chalk paint you have applied. We recommend deep cleaning your chalkboard every 2-3 weeks, depending on the level of use.
Tips for Keeping Your Chalkboard Clean and Fresh.
There are a few tips and tricks to maintaining a chalkboard. These tips will help you prolong the life and look of the board.
- Erase chalk regularly to prevent buildup.
- Ensure the board is fully dry before using it.
- Wipe any excess water using a cloth or a squeegee to avoid staining.
- Ensure the cleaning products you use are free from contaminants.
DIY Chalkboard Cleaning Solution.
What you will need:
Method for cleaning a chalkboard with vinegar:
You may have already tried this step but cannot remove any more chalk. That’s okay; keep reading to try the next step.
Otherwise, use a chalkboard eraser or cotton cloth to erase as much remaining chalk as possible. Work in patches, starting at one side, and work your way across using long strokes.
Don’t work in circles. As you wipe, clean the eraser or replace the cloth to ensure you aren’t simply redistributing the chalk.
Make the DIY cleaner
Add one gallon of warm water and ½ cup of distilled white vinegar to a clean bucket. Mix to combine.
The ratio may seem too dilute, but harsh chemicals can ruin chalkboards, so your solution needs to be reasonably gentle.
Wipe the chalkboard
Saturate a clean cloth with the solution and thoroughly wring it out. Begin at the top of the chalkboard, wiping in long strokes.
Rinse the cloth in the sink frequently, and saturate in the cleaning solution as you work your way down the board.
Remove excess water and cleaning solution
Ideally, use a window or glass squeegee to remove the excess liquid from the board.
Start at the top of the board, and move from one side to the other in long horizontal strokes. When you reach each side, wipe the squeegee with a dry cloth to remove the excess cleaning solution.
This step is an easy one; wait for the chalkboard to air-dry. Then, do not use the chalkboard again until it is thoroughly dried.
How Do I Remove Other Substances from the Chalkboard?
As mentioned above, it’s common for kids to get all kinds of gunk and grime on the chalkboard. Remove crayon marks or food residue as soon as possible to ensure they do not embed themselves in the chalk fibers.
Removing crayon marks:
We suggest making a baking soda solution to remove crayon marks from a chalkboard. Add some baking soda to a bowl and just enough water to form a paste.
Dip a cloth in the paste and gently scrub at the crayon mark on the chalkboard. After the crayon has been lifted from the board, wipe the area with a clean damp cloth, then leave it to air dry.
Removing food and grease:
If some lunchtime remains have ended up on the board and left grease marks, thoroughly go over the area with chalk. The chalk will absorb the grease.
So allow the thick layer of chalk to sit overnight, and then erase it as usual. Repeat the process if oil residue remains.
Removing permanent marker:
Moisten a clean cloth with isopropyl alcohol and wipe the affected area in circular motions. The lower the percentage of alcohol in the solution, the better.
Continue doing this until the market has largely disappeared. Afterward, wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth, then allow it to air dry.
Best Store-Bought Chalkboard Cleaners:
Several store-bought chalkboard cleaners do a great job and even come with cleaning cloths, erasers, and markers. Your choice of cleaner depends on the type of board you have and how perfectly clean you want it to be.
Some people are professional chalkboard writers and need an immaculately clean slate, whereas others require a gunk-free board for their child to play with.
Keep reading the find the cleaner for you:
This option is excellent for those who need their chalkboard to look spick and span. The premium set includes a 10-ounce cleaner spray, a microfiber towel, and a magnetic eraser.
The cleaner is non-toxic, ammonia-free, and doesn’t leave any faint marks, smudges, or stains. The formal is also safe for use in a kid-friendly zone.
The Artenza cleaner is a little more pricey, at around $19.
The Impresa spray is another excellent, non-toxic cleaner that erases marks and smudges from any board. The spray can be used for blackboards, whiteboards, chalkboards, and glass surfaces.
Its formula means it’s safe to use in a classroom or around kids at home. The standalone spray doesn’t come with any cloths or erasers but is a little more affordable at $9 on Amazon.
The Brilliant Bee cleaning kit utilizes harsher chemicals, so it may be more effective at cleaning stubborn marks on a board. However, it is unsafe around children or pets and should be stored outside of reach.
The kit comes with a cloth, foam whiteboard erasers, and a 10-ounce bottle of spray. The kit is a mid-range price is $12.
We hope this guide will help you restore your chalkboard to its former glory. Most chalk residue can be tackled with the right cleaning solution, method, and a little time.
It’s easy to make your own cleaning solution with a bit of vinegar and water. However, there are plenty of great store-bought options to try.
Make sure to do a little chalkboard maintenance regularly and deep clean the board every few weeks.
Last update on 2023-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API