Clean-up

The clean-up component is tangible in that it involves all of the parties – municipal, public and private – in the battle against tags and graffiti vandalism. Swift clean-up of illegal tags and graffiti is a critical and essential measure in preventing repeat offences. Given that both Gatineau and residents are victims of this type of vandalism, clean-up is a shared responsibility and requires a collective effort in order to limit the proliferation of illegal tags and graffiti and to discourage the perpetrators.

Techniques and products for cleaning graffiti1

A poorly maintained area (littered, abandoned lot, etc.) will often attract graffitists and vandals. A well-maintained area prompts the entire neighborhood to look after it, promotes respect, improves the quality of life of its residents and enhances their sense of safety and property values!

  Aerosol Paint Ink (other than China ink) Remarks
Brick, cement, concrete or stone Use a pH neutral paint stripper, and rub vigorously with a rough brush (not steel). Follow this with a thorough rinsing. Use a pH neutral paint stripper and rub vigorously with a rough brush (not steel). Follow this with a thorough rinsing. If the stone is old or valuable, it is best to check with an expert.*
Glass Use a razor blade and methanol (wood alcohol). Follow this with a thorough rinsing. Use a razor blade and methanol (wood alcohol). Follow this with a thorough rinsing. Take the usual precautions.
Wood If the graffiti is on the surface, use a pH neutral paint stripper, brush and reapply a protective coat, if applicable. This may leave stains. There is no product currently available for this. Treated wood may contain arsenic, which can be harmful. Take the necessary precautions. Before cleaning wood (natural or stained), it is best to check with an expert.*
Baked-on paint (aluminium, metal) Use a nylon scouring pad. Rub with methanol or a paint solvent. Follow this with a thorough rinsing. Use methanol or a fixative lacquer sprayed from a few centimetres from the surface. Follow this with a thorough rinsing. If you prefer to repaint the surface, it is recommended that you use a metallic paint as a base coat.
Painted metal Use the type of paint required for the type of metal you want to cover up. Use methanol or a fixative lacquer sprayed a few centimetres from the surface. Follow this with a thorough rinsing. If you prefer to repaint the surface, it is recommended that you use a metallic paint as a base coat.
Non-painted metal Use lighter fuel or a paint solvent. Use methanol or a fixative lacquer sprayed a few centimetres from the surface. Follow this with a thorough rinsing. Handle the gasoline with caution, keeping a good distance from any heat source.
Marble, granite and fibreglass Use a mild solvent, methanol, paint solvent or pH neutral paint stripper. Use methanol or a pH neutral paint stripper.  
Vinyl Use a water and sodium based cleaner containing a solvent or scouring pad. Use a water and sodium based cleaner containing a solvent. Metal scouring pads can leave scratches. Test first on a small surface before cleaning the whole area. 
Wood wool or resin Use a soft brush with a mild detergent. Use a soft brush with a mild detergent. Do not apply too much pressure. Check with the manufacturer.
Stucco First wet the wall, then clean it with a mild detergent. Spray rinse.  First wet the wall, then clean it with a mild detergent. Spray rinse.  If you prefer to repaint the wall, it is recommended that you check with an expert.*
Caution Always protect your hands and eyes before using these products. Always test the product before applying it to the surface you want to clean. Use the products according to the manufacturer's instructions. Take the proper precautions when using solvents or strippers. If you have any doubts about the type of surface, check with an expert.*

1 Source: Ville de Montréal: Arrondissement du Plateau-Mont-Royal.

* To get an expert's advice or to hire a professional consult the pressure cleaning, chemicals section in the Yellow Pages or do a search using the keywords “graffiti removal” at www.yellowpages.ca.

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