Graffiti is a kind of street art that both gained supporters and critics. Scribbled writing characterizes this art form and bright colored paintings, most commonly applied on a wall or any flat surface that can be seen by the public. It can be simple writing on the wall depicting the names of an individual or groups, or a magnificent painting that is similar to a mural. Graffiti existed since the ancient times, and the practice survived to this day. In the present, graffiti art is made using spray paint and markers. While most governments around the world consider creating graffiti as a form of crime, several others are encouraging the public to embrace street art and promote graffiti through the opening of public open-air museums where the artists could create their art.
Graffiti is present in most urban areas around the world, and for property owners, even if it is considered as a form of art, it still vandalizes their property, and the paint has to be removed. For street signs and other flat surfaces, the graffiti can be removed by simply using soap and water. Solvents are used for stronger paints, and it has a good result. However, it is very difficult to remove the paint in rough surfaces, like brick walls. The paint used in the graffiti would cause permanent damages to the surface, and because it is not uniformly smooth, its texture would also change. Experts also agreed that the paint applied on a rough surface could be too difficult or impossible to remove.
There are several ways on how to remove graffiti on various surfaces. For metallic surfaces, the paint used in the graffiti can be removed by using paint thinner. These chemicals act strongly against paints, and it would not harm the metal underneath. The thinner can dissolve paint when applied, and it would also protect the metal from being damaged. There is also graffiti removal products available in the market which contains almost the same chemicals used in a thinner. Rubbing steel wool on a metallic surface would also remove the graffiti, but it might leave small patches of scratch if it is applied with extreme force. A 3000 psi pressure washer can also be used to remove graffiti paints on metallic surfaces.
For wood surfaces that are sealed with paint, the graffiti paint can be removed by using mineral spirits. Pressure washers with 3000 psi pressure can also be used in removing graffiti paint on a wooden surface, but one should be careful enough not to cause any paint to go further into the wood by applying extreme pressure. A final approach for those who wanted to remove the graffiti paint would be the use of sandpaper. It will damage the paint applied in the wood, and repainting is required. To remove the graffiti paint, sand the area vandalized until the graffiti paint comes off. Once it is smooth and clear, repaint it all over.
Glass surfaces are the easiest to clean. By using a razor blade, the graffiti paint applied on any glass surface will instantly scrape off. The method is guaranteed to remove the paint, and it is 99% effective. Ultra-fine steel or bronze wool would also do the job, and by simply scratching off the graffiti, the paint used on it will come off. Paint thinners specially manufactured to be used on glass would also do a great job in removing the graffiti paint.
Opposite to glass, removing graffiti paint on plastic can be tough. The use of thinners is not advisable since it would result in clouding, and it will damage the plastic because of the chemicals present in the product. It would also soften the plastic, deforming it to some degree. The only way to clean off graffiti paint on a plastic surface is by rubbing it with ultra-fine steel wool.
For masonry, the graffiti paint can be removed by using a 3000 psi pressure washer. Sandblasting can also be used to remove the paint.