How To Clean A Chalkboard Paint Wall

Chalkboard walls are a great way for children and adults alike to express their creativity. There are a number of genius ways to use chalkboard paint in your home, whether that's to create a collaborative gallery wall or a life-size calendar for the new year. They're also great for writing down recipes, important events, and other reminders. When it comes to wiping these scribbles off the wall, however, it can feel like the odds are stacked against us. Because despite the many benefits of chalkboard painted walls, let's face it — they're genuinely hard to clean. 

Since chalkboard painted walls are a distinctly unique surface, chalk residue can be hard to get off smoothly, causing many adults to ultimately regret their chalkboard paint wall. Thankfully, using dish soap and a soft washcloth, or even vinegar, are methods that can do the trick, and you likely have all the ingredients you need at home. These combinations provide a foolproof method for removing chalkboard paint quickly and efficiently. Let's get started.

Cleaning a chalkboard paint wall

First thing's first: Getting rid of any obvious traces of chalk. Using a soft cloth soaked in water, wipe off any chalk that easily lifts off the surface. Once you've tackled the less stubborn spots, use a dollop of dish soap to scrub the more stubborn traces of chalk. As the cloth gets dirtier, soak and wring it in water to ensure you're not harboring leftover bacteria from what you've cleaned off. Continue adding dish soap to the chalkboard paint wall while scrubbing away with a soft cloth. Once you've washed the chalk away, use a dry towel to wipe any excess water and remaining chalk residue. 

Another alternative to plain water is to use vinegar as a cleaning aid, which can be diluted with plain water to create a homogenous solution, causing a fizzy reaction when mixed with chalk. As a preventative action, you might benefit from chalk paint wax that will protect painted walls from scuffing, such as Annie Sloan's Clear Chalk Paint Wax. However, some chalkboard wall users are weary of using topcoat or wax, as it can prevent the chalkboard from remaining erasable. If you feel similarly, you may simply follow up the cleaning solution with a lemon oil polish for extra shine.

Chalkboard seasoning and maintenance

It's great to have a clean chalkboard painted wall, but it's equally as important to maintain the delicate surface. For starters, don't leave any remanence of chalk for more than three weeks, since the longer it stays on the surface, the more stubborn it will become overtime. Instead, make it a habit to erase your markings at least once a month, using an appropriate cleaning solution each time. Once the chalkboard wall is wiped clean, allow the board to dry completely to avoid any damage or permanent markings. 

Additionally, you may want to regularly season your chalkboard wall, to avoid any "ghosting"—or ghost marks from previous chalkboard wall drawings. After wiping the chalkboard wall clean, use the side of a chalk stick to rub the entire surface vertically, making sure the board is covered completely before you finish. Going in for a second coat, repeat the action horizontally. Using a soft washcloth or eraser, wipe off the chalk and remaining dust to reveal a smooth surface that's as good as new.