Graffiti Removal Equipment
Graffiti is becoming more and more common it seems, and it can be hard to remove. Most graffiti is applied using spray paints or permanent marker pens which are usually solvent or petroleum based and the method of removal depends upon the surface to which it has been applied as well as the medium of the graffiti to be removed.
Although some graffiti can be admired (take Banksy for example) or created with permission as a piece of street art, for many local authorities, businesses and private landowners it’s an eyesore and could create a bad impression. This article is aimed at people who want to remove graffiti rather than admire it!
Graffiti removal can be an expensive business, costing Network Rail an estimated £5 million per year to remove and the estimated cost across the UK is apparently over £1 billion.
How to remove graffiti
Most graffiti takes more than soap and water to remove it and you’re likely to need a removal agent containing chemicals such as turpentine, white spirit, naptha, alcohol (the non-drinkable type), acetone (as used in nail polish remover) or methylene chloride, often used in paint stripper. There are some less hazardous options e.g. a citrus based graffiti removal agent, but in most cases you’re likely to use a chemical based graffiti cleaner to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
Care should be taken when choosing cleaning chemicals though, as some solvents could remove not only the graffiti but also the underlying surface finish and in extreme examples could melt certain plastic finishes.For health and safety reasons, extra care is needed when using chemicals in areas when people could pass by, so choosing the right type of cleaning equipment is important, particularly for larger areas and where you need to ensure that the cleaning solvent is removed thoroughly and safely.
Graffiti cleaning equipment available
We usually recommend using a hot water pressure washer for graffiti cleaning. Ideally one with controllable output, as too high a pressure can be harmful to some surfaces and could spread the chemicals into other areas. In fact, if you’re able to act quickly, a hot water pressure washer can be effective in removing graffiti without chemicals. Here are some examples of pressure washers, suitable for a variety of cleaning tasks, including graffiti cleaning:
- MAC Zeus mobile pressure washer, diesel powered
- Karcher HDS 1000, which can be petrol or diesel powered, with a tubular frame
- Heavy Duty diesel and petrol driven trolley pressure washers
B&G also supply the Edge Steam Tec Graffiti, which is diesel powered, with its own water tank, and generates wet steam mixed with detergent.
Chemicals for graffiti removal
As we’ve mentioned, in most cases you are likely to need to use chemicals. Typically you would brush the chemical on to the surface, leave it to soak in, agitate with a brush, then pressure wash it off. We can advise on and supply the appropriate chemicals to use with our cleaning equipment.
Hiring equipment to remove graffiti
For occasional requirements, it makes sense to hire cleaning equipment for just as long as you need it. For example, a trailer mounted pressure washer will enable you to cover a wide area and can be hired for short or longer periods.
We can also supply the chemicals you need along with your equipment.
For delicate surfaces, e.g. the brickwork on historic buildings, B&G’s own Red Mist superheated pressure cleaner is ideal for graffiti removal without chemicals.
Once you have a graffiti-free surface, it’s worth thinking about how you can prevent it from happening again. There are some anti-graffiti coatings available which either prevent paint from adhering to the surface, or will allow the paint to sit on top, then you can remove the coating and the paint together.
See more information here (external link).
Not sure what’s best for your cleaning problem? Give us a call and we’ll give you our honest advice.
Article originally posted November 2017, revised and updated 25/6/19