Having very active 2 years old will include some “decoration” added to the wall, table and practically most hard surface. Crayon, colored pencil or water based paint is relatively easy, but how about  that paint permanent marker that used to mark the golf ball! Don’t worry the following tips might help you…

The Understanding First

Before go to the real “action” of removing stain on practically any hard surface. You need to understand this very quickly. See illustration below:

[Understanding Stain on Hard Surface]

Understanding Stain on Hard Surface

Assuming your hard surface (wall, table or anything else) has original gray color which painted yellow and the stain is in red color, hen basically there are 2 main conditions:

  1. The stain sitting on top of the original surface. (as illustrated at no 1 above)
    This condition happened if the stain is new, or the surface is not porous, or laminated with some waterproof material (e.g: tiles, etc). The stain is the easiest to remove in this condition
  2. The stain has penetrated inside the top surface (as illustrated at no 2 above)
    This condition usually happened if the surface is quite porous, or the original paint is attacked by the stain, or very old stain. The stain is the hardest to remove in this condition.

(and all other condition in between)

Then, basically there are 2 ways to remove the stain:

  1. Chemical dissolve-ment: the stain is dissolved with our cleaner so that can easily be wiped.
  2. Physical abrasion: the stain need to be physically removed (similar like scrubbing with sand paper). This will involve some imperfection on the original surface (as illustrated at no 3 above). If the abrasion/scrubbing is still within the thickness of the paint, you will not notice the difference. But if the abrasion is too deep, you will start seeing the original color of the surface.

The Tools

In my experience, the following tools below are quite adequate as a weapon in “war on stain at hard surface”:

[Stain Removal Kit]

Stain Removal Kit

  1. The humble paper towel. The more absorbent the better.
  2. Rub alcohol (IPA – Iso Propil Alcohol) – buy in chemist or supermarket. If you want stronger one, by Ethanol.
  3. Any house hold cleaner as “Degreaser” (cut oil based stain). Pictured is BAM power cleaner.
  4. Chux’s Magic Eraser: the white sponge. This eraser works as very fine sand paper that do the abrasion and absorb/trap the stain

Make sure the kit above is ready at all time !

Removing the stain: the tips

  • Stain is best to be removed as soon as possible (to prevent the stain penetrate too deep to the surface – see condition no 2 on the illustration above)
  • Choose cleaner: You need to guess what is the base of the stain: oil, water, or alcohol and use the appropriate cleaner as below (just guess, do not worry if you are not sure).
    If it’s oil based (crayon, lipstick, oil painting, etc) use the degreaser.
    If it’s alcohol based (marker, anything with quick dry alcohol smell) use the IPA
    If it’s water based (water paint, syrup, etc) just use water
  • Spray or apply generously on the paper towel and rub it on the stain. The idea is to dissolve the stain chemically as soon as possible from the surface.
    If you choose the correct cleaner, you will see the stain immediately smearing. If not, try the other cleaner.
    Make sure you have plenty of paper towel to absorb the excess IMMEDIATELY – or you just making the blob of the stain larger.
    Warning: the cleaner that you choose COULD also dissolve the original painting. Just be prepare for this. Try at small area first !
  • If the stain persist, then the stain has penetrated the surface (see condition no 2 above). The only way to remove the stain would be by physical abrasion.
  • Wet the Chux’s magic eraser and squirt all the excess water off (just need damp one), then apply small pressure to the stain. If the stain did not come off, apply more pressure. Remember you don’t want to remove all the painting, just enough to remove the stain (see condition 3 on the illustration above). This white sponge will be soiled upon used. You need to wash it with water from time to time during use. After some usage, you will notice that the sponge become thinner – then just use the new block.
    Warning: if you have glossy finished surface, using this physical abrasion will possibly remove the shininess of the affected area – but I guess it’s still better than those marker drawing…:-)
  • Removing the stain if a “repair job” – it’s still better to prevent the stain before happening. So, do not expect 100% recovery all the time…

There you go… Good luck removing that painting on the wall !

Disclaimer: don’t blame me if you stuff up – I just share what I usually do – so far it’s not bad at all – always try on small patch first before go Gung Ho… :-)