While some people can appreciate a graffiti mural as a form of street art, graffiti on glass is usually simple vandalism that reduces property values and tarnishes the appearance of a building or neighborhood. Here are five ways to tackle graffiti on glass.
1. Rubbing Alcohol
If the graffiti is fresh and the paint hasn't had long to set, rubbing alcohol might be enough to clean away the problem. Soak a cloth or rag in pure rubbing alcohol, and firmly scrub the graffiti. Use a scrub brush or steel wool for tough spots.
2. An Oil-based Solvent
Since many spray paints and other heavy inks are oil based, using an oily solvent like white gas or kerosene can help scrub away heavier graffiti. Make sure to take proper safety precautions — where a mask and rubber gloves, do this outside in a well-ventilated area, and stay away from anything flammable. Poor the solvent onto a heavy-duty scrubbing pad, and scrub at the graffiti until it melts away. Get a friend's help for some extra elbow grease.
3. A Razor Blade
If the vandalism is old or has baked in the sun, chemical solvents might not be strong enough to remove it. In this case, a razor blade can be used to scrape away the paint. Make sure the razor blade is held completely flat against the glass so as not to scratch it.
4. Contact a Professional Graffiti-removal Company
In cases of extensive graffiti that covers a large area, is difficult to reach, or seems to be deeply etched into the glass, contacting a local glass repair company to professionally remove the graffiti might be the easiest option. This is clearly a more expensive alternative to the do-it-yourself option, but it may be worth the peace of mind to have the problem taken care of by professionals. If the graffiti is in a busy public place like the front window of a business or store, professional removal is often the fastest way to make sure the vandalism is cleanly removed so that it doesn't leave customers with a bad impression. Compared to the cost of having the glass replaced altogether, professional graffiti removal can cost up to 60% to 80% less.
5. Replace the Glass
If the graffiti is extensive, deeply etched, or a previous attempt at glass graffiti removal has failed, replacing the glass altogether may be the best option. If the area of glass in question is relatively small, but severely covered in graffiti, then replacing the glass may in some cases work out to be cheaper than having the vandalism professionally removed. In such cases, a quick search of the Internet or phone book will help you identify a glass replacement company near you. Contact them with the approximate measurements of the glass to be repaired, and ask them for a price quote.