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Graffiti Self Help Supplies List

The following are some suggestions from DougWeb.com for a graffiti fighter's tool kit:
  • aerosol solvent
  • clean cotton painters rags
  • trash bags
  • 10 gallon plastic buckets with lids
  • inexpensive paint brushes, rollers, and paint containers
  • paint matching various surfaces around your neighborhood
  • paint scraper
  • dust mask
  • safety glasses
  • Federal Safety Orange Identification Vests
  • kitchen cleaner and water in spray bottles.
  • Carry a 5 or 10 gallon container of pure drinking water and a clean cup to splash water in your face or to wash your hands in the event you are accidentally splashed with chemicals.
  • Carry a two way radio or cellular phone for emergencies. The new Family Radio Service radios lend themselves to this kind of use.

Solvents and Cleaners
There are a number of graffiti removal products on the market. It can help to become familiar with each one. Learn about use and safe handling. Some of the more well know solvents available at major hardware stores can be hazardous to your health. Using a respirator is probably safer than using a dust mask. Breathing this stuff is obnoxious and NOT healthy.

You need to be aware of wind conditions. You need eye and breathing protection when you use it. Rags used with solvent should be discarded properly. DO NOT KEEP FLAMMABLE RAGS in containers in your vehicle or garage.

Know the product you are using and HOW TO HANDLE AN ACCIDENTAL INJURY when using the product.


These products are redily available at a local ACE Hardware store.

GOOF OFF The Ultimate Remover, Atlanta Sundries, Lithonia, GA 30058

  • Extremely flammable
  • Vapor Harmful
  • Eye and Skin irritant
  • Always use safety goggles
  • Damages plastics, vinyl, automotive paints
  • Use solvent resistant gloves
  • Contains Xylene

Some of the markers the vandals are using are not permanent. You may be able to clean some signs with soap and water.

Clean Cotton Painters Rags
These rags are cheap. The cotton variety seems to clean better than smoother, shinier fabrics. Your hardware or paint store sells these by the pound or packaged.

Trash Bags
Have trash bags handy to put old rags used with solvents as well as trash in the areas where you are cleaning graffiti. If you buy very cheap brushes and rollers you don't have to bother cleaning them. Having a trash bag gives you a place to throw away the mess before you get home.

10 Gallon Painter's Buckets with Lid Attachments
Larger hardware and paint stores sell a screw on (child proof) lid adapter for a 10 gallon paint bucket. Good for storing anti-graffiti supplies safely.

Safety Glasses
Safety glasses keep paints, solvents, and dust from entering the eyes. Always use caution. Never compromise eye safety.

Be sure to match the color or the tagger will get a "thrill" out of the poor painting job to cover his vandalism.

Make sure the paint you are using DOES NOT CONTAIN LEAD.

Safety Vests
Simple orange vests alert people and drivers to your presence. We wear it for safety and identification. It also gives you good press with the public! Chances are you may pick up new volunteers who see you working and stop by to say hello.

Cleaning Smooth Surfaces
Test an inconspicuous area of the surface with your cleaning material. Most modern signs clean quickly. I like to start my cleaning with soap and water first and then proceed to solvents.

Using Solvents and Cleaners
Test surfaces with your solvent or cleaners BEFORE you use the substance over a wide area. There are some silk screened surfaces (like some newspaper racks) that can be removed by the wrong cleaners. Contact vendors responsible for these devices and encourage the vendor to use more durable methods. Read the instructions on the can. Some solvents work better if applied with a cloth. Others must be sprayed on the damage and allowed to sit until the paint has absorbed the solvent.

Cleaning from Rough Surfaces
Many times paint on a rough surfaces causes permanent damage. The character of the surface will change because it is virtually impossible to remove all of the paint from any porous surface. A perfect example is a freeway sound wall or any cinder block wall. You may be forced to paint the wall -- the entire wall. Simply framing the damaged area leaves you (and the vandal) with an ugly blotch.

Elbow grease and the wire brush.
An inexpensive wire brush is excellent for removing paint from many surfaces. The surface will look like someone has wire brushed it but the vandal's message will be history. Any surface where you use a wire brush should be a surface, that will over time, weather back to the original color or texture. Every graffiti fighter needs a simple wire brush in their toolkit.

Use the wire brush on:

  • telephone poles
  • street curbs
  • some rough metals
  • smooth stone surfaces
  • decorative rocks
  • wood fences
  • concrete
Last updated: 10/20/2009 1:47:17 PM