Removing Graffiti From Glass

Posted on: 3 December 2014

Talented artists can take a bleak urban landscape and transform it into a work of art. Public areas affected by urban blight have often been their target, and blank walls their canvas. They have found an outlet for their raw creativity, and otherwise drab and depressing sights are uplifted. However, for every true graffiti artist who respects private property, there are thousands of imitators and attention-seekers who vandalize both public and private property. 

The invention of aerosol paint enabled vandals to deface so many properties that onlookers no longer really notice the vandalism, and graffiti has become part of the landscape. Glass became the next target.

How is graffiti done on glass?

Graffiti vandalism is performed on glass using different methods. The most frequent are scratching and etching.

  • Scratching involves using a sharp object to actually penetrate the surface and gouge markings into the glass. This is usually done by young people who want recognition by leaving their "tag", or individual mark as many places as possible. Tags can also be left by gangs as a way to mark their territory.
  • Etching is a bit more complex. It involves the use of etching cream or paste, which is sold in craft stores and is used to create designs on mirrors and other glass objects. When the etching cream is applied, it enables the vandal to apply their tag quickly, which is often essential in a public place.

Commercial graffiti glass removal

Graffiti on window and door glass can have a negative effect on businesses. It associates the business with unpleasant aspects of urban neighborhoods and detracts from the overall impression of the business. Fortunately, there are do-it-yourself solutions, as well as many new businesses who specialize in glass graffiti removal. 

  • If the graffiti is done in paint or marker, repeated use of diluted detergent and a paint scraper, followed by glass cleaner, will often remove the offending substance. Etched graffiti will involve the use of a buffing pad attaching to a drill. The window should be buffed in a circular motion until the etching is no longer visible. Window cleaner will remove the cloudiness caused by the buffing.
  • If you are uncomfortable with removing glass graffiti yourself, or if it is extensive, a professional removal company may be a good idea. Buffing must be done correctly. If not done properly, the glass may appear distorted afterward, or break while the removal work is being performed.