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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cleaning Tips from the Art Studio

In addition to my ever helpful and vast knowledge of adhesives, I also learned a few helpful cleaning tips along the way - some of those I learned the hard way. Between art school and teaching Elementary Art, I had to clean up quite a few messes. Some clean ups were more successful than others- and often times It was my own inexperience that put me in the position to have to clean the mess. On the first day of school, the first year I went from teaching High School to Elementary, I marble painted with 1st graders- without smocks, or paper on the tables... Luckily I had a very understanding principal to field those parent phone calls for me. 
I thought some of these tips might come in handy in your home with messy kids or, as in my case, messy husbands. 
Removing Sharpie... as best you can
Sharpies are alcohol based, which is why they are waterproof. Depending on the surface, there are a few things you can do to remove Sharpie. I put them in order of harshness, so start with the gentlest and move to the more aggressive with caution, unless the item is ruined and this is your last hope. 
Remove Sharpie FROM:
- glass/metal/plastic and other non-porous surfaces - start with rubbing alcohol, then denatured alcohol (from the hardware store). Next, try acetone (acetone can make some plastics, like acrylic, loose its sheen- test a small discreet area first). 
A varnished or glossed surface- try GENTLY rubbing alcohol or a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. If the surface becomes the least bit tacky/gummy/soft, stop immediately. A slight dulling should be fixed with furniture polish. You may have to sand and revarnish/paint if that doesn’t work.
- On Walls or a Painted surface - Try denatured alcohol, but if that doesn’t work, prime with Kilz, and paint. Otherwise, Sharpie will bleed back through your paint .
- On Cloth or Clothing- Soak in rubbing alcohol overnight. Do a test spot before soaking since the alcohol may change the color of the garment.
-On Skin- Acetone and a paper towel.
Some people use hairspray, bugspray, WD-40, or sunscreen to remove Sharpie too… so if you're in a bind, you could try one of those. 

UPDATE: 1947 Good Housekeeping Book said denatured alcohol would remove pen ink as well! 
Tough to Clean Hands/Clothes
When working with art supplies like charcoal, oil pastel, chalk pastels, chalks, graphite, marker, food coloring, or whatever other highly pigmented supplies remember this vital rule:
I am not sure about the science here, but something awful happens when you wet the hands first. Water first makes these things nearly impossible to get off. 
So soap (preferably dish soap) and Lather on dry hands, under nails, and around cuticles. Then when you see the pigment loosening, you may rinse.
Many of these supplies can be removed from clothes and surfaces with baby wipes. 
BUT NEVER use baby wipes on white boards, it breaks down the protective barrier, and will eventually make them no longer come clean. 
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