how to remove graffiti from wood

How to Remove Graffiti from concrete, metal, rock and wood

How To Remove Graffiti From Wood Surfaces?

Graffiti is notoriously difficult to remove from any surface but wood poses a specific problem. Scrubbing and harsh chemical detergents could do far more damage than good when trying to remove the offending paintwork. However, here is a step-by-step guide to Graffiti Removal from wood while minimising the damage:

Step 1 – Sooner Rather Than Later

It is best to tackle the graffiti removing task sooner rather than later – preferably within 48 hours if possible. The longer it remains on the wood, the more difficult it is going to be to remove.

Step 2 – Prepare The Surface

If the wood is varnished painted or treated, wipe it down with mineral spirits. Don’t scrub as this will simply drive the paint into the wood. You may find this treatment is sufficient to remove the graffiti entirely after repeating the cleaning process a few times. However, you should NOT use this preparation step if the wood is raw (unpainted or untreated) or weathered. The wood will absorb the chemicals and the paint making the graffiti permanent. If the graffiti is not entirely gone or the wood is bare/weathered, proceed to step 3.

Step 3 – Power Washer

A power washer is a very effective means of removing graffiti from just about any surface. However, it is necessary to use caution on wood as it is likely to blast away paint, varnish or other treatments and may damage weathered or untreated wood. Washing at a pressure of 3000 psi is therefore recommended while being gentle on the surface of the wood. This should effectively remove the graffiti on treated wood but it may not be as effective on untreated wood. If the graffiti has not disappeared entirely or the painted/varnished surface has been removed with the graffiti, proceed to step 4.

Step 4 – Paint It

Painting over the graffiti is by far the quickest and most effective means to removing it permanently. However it is recommended to treat the surface of the wood first. Sand the wood or use a 3000 psi pressure washer to remove any remaining paint, varnish, residue or dirt from the wood. Brush or vacuum away dust and dry particles after sanding and allow the wood to dry naturally and entirely after using a pressure washer. Paint the surface of the wood with a suitable primer and allow it to dry. Your wood is now ready to be painted in your desired colour. Make sure to choose a paint that is suitable for wood surfaces even if you have used a primer. Your local paint or hardware store can assist you with making the best choice.

It is not only important to remove graffiti quickly in order for the process to be successful but also to pay attention to the message that the symbols are sending. Gangs and drug dealers use graffiti and different symbols to establish their territory and not attending to the paint can send the wrong message. So get the right materials together and tackle the job as soon as possible after noticing the graffiti.


Takumi Fuji

Takumi Fuji

Takumi is the owner of TAK Cleaning Services and has been in the cleaning industry since 2001 when he started the company. He currently oversees the operation of the company to make sure the cleaners and customers are happy.