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How to Remove Graffiti from Your Restroom Units

While we wish it wasn’t necessary, it’s inevitable that every portable restroom operator will face the task of removing graffiti from their units. For some reason, people love leaving their mark on restroom walls!

If you encounter graffiti, don’t fret — from pencil marks to marker, we’ve gathered the best ways to remove graffiti from your units.

Carrying the Basic Equipment

As a first step, equip your team with the following basic materials:

  • A thick-bristle cleaning brush
  • A graffiti remover (see below)
  • Something to clean off the residue (a power washer can do, but see the next section for other options)

Graffiti remover is sold by many suppliers and usually comes as a spray or a liquid. Two of the leading brands are Tagaway and Goof Off. Many suppliers in the portable restroom industry also have their own specific chemical products for removing graffiti. An alternative tip, for marker stains especially, is to use oven cleaner.

How to Remove Graffiti

Follow these steps to remove graffiti:

  1. Spray or apply your graffiti remover on the affected area
  2. Leave it to sit for a few minutes
  3. Using your thick-bristle brush, give it a hard scrub-down
  4. Rinse off the residue using your power cleaner, anti-graffiti wipes, or pads* (don’t use the same brush from step 3)
  5. Repeat as many times as necessary until the graffiti is gone

* To clean off the residue left behind after scrubbing, most people use wipes or pads like Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Some graffiti remover products will even include a pad specifically for this purpose.

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Use Grit for Tougher Situations

For heavier-duty cleaning, you can use grit or sand. (*Be aware that this method can result in damage to the plastic of the unit. See note below). Because portable restroom units have microscopic indentations in their walls, they are not smooth, making it sometimes difficult to clean graffiti. Mix some grit, sand, or pumice powder in with a liquid-based graffiti remover at an 80:20 graffiti remover:grit ratio, and give it a good scrub with your hard-bristle brush. This should get into the indentations and help remove the toughest graffiti.

The grit method, while extremely cost-effective, can be quite messy so try to do it in your storage yard, rather than on the site of a job.

* It’s important to know that this method can leave scratches on your unit’s walls. To remove these, use a heat gun or torch to soften the plastic and restore it to its original color and texture. Use care, or you could cause permanent damage to the unit.

Other Pro Tips

Carry erasers: Perhaps the most common form of graffiti on portable restroom units is simple pencil writing. To combat this, carry a pink eraser in all trucks. This will easily get rid of most pencil marks. Just make sure the eraser is kept clean or you’ll end up making a bigger mess than you found!

Act quickly: Graffiti done with Sharpies, other markers, or paint-based products can be much harder to clean if not attacked right away.

Warning signs: Put up signs warning taggers that they will be prosecuted if caught. While this will not eradicate vandalism completely, it’s worth investing in as it’s not costly and may deter some would-be vandals.

While we can’t stamp out graffitiing entirely, equipping yourself with the right tools and information can make sure your units are quickly cleaned and ready for their next assignment.

Looking to Take Your Portable Restroom Business to the NEXT LEVELDownload our FREE Guide: “Your Guide to Operating A Portable Restroom Business.”

Thinking About GETTING INTO the Portable Restroom Industry? Download our FREE Guide: “Your Guide to Starting A Portable Restroom Business.”

1 Comment

  1. I didn’t think about using grit or sand for cleaning off graffiti but that’s a smart idea! I’m sure it’ll come off a lot easier than if you used something softer. I have kids in my neighborhood who like tagging walls. Last night, they did mine. I want to get it off before my children see.

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