How to Clean a Stained Whiteboard

How to Clean a Stained Whiteboard
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Whiteboards are used pretty much everywhere these days, having almost completely replaced the perennial chalkboards. Magnetic whiteboards have even moved ahead of corkboards as the primary places to hang personal notes and reminders.

They owe their popularity primarily to the ease of use and maintenance. Conversely, the biggest issues with whiteboards are ghosting and stains. As time passes, they will become stained, some sooner than later.

However, there are numerous ways to remove the stains from your whiteboard. Most of them are pretty simple and require very little effort. Here’s a quick overview of some of the most common ways to remove stains from a whiteboard.

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Dry Erase Marker

The standard dry erase marker can be used to clean the stains off a whiteboard, especially if the stains were made with a pen or a permanent marker. Keep in mind that dry erase markers can cause their own stains if left on the board for too long. This frequently happens on cheaper whiteboards.

To clean the stains with a dry erase marker, simply write with the marker over the stained parts of the board. The solvent in the fresh ink should dissolve the old ink and make it erasable once more. Once you’ve covered the stains with fresh ink, leave it to dry. This shouldn’t take long, several seconds tops. After that, use an eraser or a piece of dry cloth to rub the stained spots.

Sometimes, however, the stains may be too strong and you won’t get everything off right away. When that happens, repeat the process until all the stains are removed. Once they are all gone, you should use a damp cloth to thoroughly clean the board. After you’ve removed all the remaining bits of ink, leave the board to dry. Once it is dry, it will be ready for further use.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is among the most common ways to clean a stained whiteboard. First, take a sponge and pour some alcohol on it. Then, rub the stained portions of the board with the sponge. The alcohol should quickly remove the stains. Once the stains are removed, grab a dry clean cloth and wipe the board dry.

Make sure to use 90% to 99% isopropyl rubbing alcohol, as the high concentrations will give the best results; the 70% mix would be a lot less efficient. Alternatively, you can use paper towels if you don’t have a cotton cloth at hand. Alternatively, you can use instead hand sanitizers that have a high alcohol content.

Shoe Polish

You can also use shoe polish to clean the stains off your whiteboard. Make sure you’re using neutral, colorless shoe polish. First, apply some shoe polish to a damp cloth. After that, rub the cloth on the stubborn marks. Once the stains come off, wipe the remaining shoe polish off the board with a damp cloth and leave it to dry. When it’s dried, the board will be ready to use. Aside from cleaning, the shoe polish will give your whiteboard a new sheen.

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Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is another good solution for cleaning stained whiteboards. You can even use something stronger than the 3% solution commonly used as an antiseptic. It works great and does not damage the board. Similar to rubbing alcohol, you can first pour some hydrogen peroxide onto a cloth or towel and apply it on the stains. Once the stains are gone, use a dry cloth to remove all remaining marks and peroxide.

Alternatively, you can pour hydrogen peroxide directly onto the stains. Take a paper towel or a cloth and wipe the peroxide off the board. Once the marks are off, grab a clean cloth or towel and give the board another rub. After it’s dried, the board will be ready to use.


The common white toothpaste is an excellent whiteboard cleaner. First, get a piece of cloth or a paper towel and squeeze some toothpaste onto it. Then, rub the stained portions of your whiteboard with the cloth/towel. When the stains come off, use a clean cloth or towel to wipe the remaining spots and toothpaste off the board.

Toothpaste works equally well with dry erase marker as well as permanent marker stains. Have in mind that you can use any adult toothpaste brand you have on hands, as they all contain mild abrasive. Also, all are water soluble.


Whiteboards are easier to use and don’t require as much attention as the classic chalkboards. That being said, they do need proper maintenance and regular cleaning to prevent stains from settling in.

Depending on the material of the writing surface, production quality, and maintenance, stains will appear sooner or later. For example, coated steel and aluminum boards generally develop stains faster than porcelain-steel boards. Melamine boards are even more likely to develop stains.

When stains eventually appear, you can use any of the cleaning methods described in this article to quickly clean your board.

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