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How To Get Chalk Pen Off A Chalkboard

how to get chalk pen off a chalkboard

Having chalk marks on your chalkboard can be annoying and difficult to clean. Imagine having a 2-hour lecture, and in the first 10 minutes, as soon as you erase the writings to proceed with the discussion, the marks remain visible.

That can cause setbacks, and if you choose to continue, your visual aid can become messy. To remedy this, you must know beforehand how to get chalk pen off a chalkboard.

What Is a Chalk Pen?

Before we go to the specific solutions and procedures, let’s understand some classifications and terminologies. First, what is the difference between chalk pens and chalks? Chalk pens are still chalks but designed for a more specific purpose. Chalk pens have softer tips, richer pigments, and great on non-porous surfaces.

Now that we’re at it, what do ‘non-porous’ mean? The term comes from ‘pores’ and therefore, ‘porous’ implies that a certain surface has significant pores, and ‘non-porous means that the surface has no pores. Non-porous surfaces are generally smooth, such as glass, metal, porcelain, and vinyl.

Most, if not all, chalkboards are porous. Since they are made from wood, they definitely have microscopic pores. There are marks left when you try to erase the writings from using a chalk pen (which is also known as ‘ghosting’) because the tiny particles can seep through the pores.

Regular chalks have larger particles and can be relatively easy to erase. In short, the residue of a chalk pen is more difficult to remove than that of regular chalk. There can be different solutions to removing this bothersome residue and ways to prevent it from frequently happening.

Types Of Chalkboards

The first and foremost thing to do in order not to be in a situation wherein you try to figure out how to remove chalk pen writings is to recognize what type of chalkboard you have. You can tell through simple inspection, which is regular chalk or a chalk pen for chalks. For chalkboards, you will have to do a little more investigation, which is porous or non-porous.

MDF Wood In Chalkboard Paint Coat

This chalkboard is the cheapest type. MDF chalkboards have existed ever since formal education was standardized. MDF means ‘medium-density fiberboard,’ which is one type of wood commonly used in household construction. You can write on its surface because of the paint coat applied, but that doesn’t take away the porous surface.

Plastic Chalkboard

Usually made from acrylic and PVC, this type of chalkboard might be the most abundantly used today. The surface is relatively smooth but not enough to eliminate chalk ‘ghosting’ completely.

Slate Chalkboard

Slate chalkboards are non-porous. However, compared to other non-porous materials, these have uneven and rough textures. They are guaranteed not to experience chalk’ ghosting’.

Porcelain Sheet Chalkboard

Porcelain is already an expensive, non-porous material. Obviously, chalkboards made from it are high in quality and performance. The only downside for this is the high cost.

How to Remove Chalk Pen from Chalkboard

how to remove chalk pen from chalkboard

The following solutions are the top recommendation on how to remove chalk pen from chalkboard:

Magic Eraser

There are products touted as ‘magic erasers.’ They are generally white sponges commonly used to remove markings on walls. These inexpensive micro-scrubbers are designed to handle stubborn stains out there, including chalk pen residues. The product can be reusable many times, but it is not meant for those who have sensitive skin.


Although magic erasers can remove the markings left by the chalk pen, there will still be residues remaining. To completely eliminate as if nothing was written before, white vinegar is highly suggested to substitute for the water you were soaking your magic eraser with. Not only does it cleans faster, it also disinfects the chalkboard.


If ever you ran out of magic erasers, ‘Windex’ can be a great alternative. However, you have to use it repeatedly to eliminate the leftover markings completely.

Chalk Marker Readily-Made Removers

If you want a solution packaged in one, liquid removers are meant for eliminating chalk marks. Most come in a spray bottle with a corresponding sponge or wiper. The downside to this is the cost.

Ammonia-Based Removers

Ammonia products are very common as household cleaners. Even though they are safe to use, prolonged exposure or a slight mistake can spell trouble for the people around them.

How To Erase Chalk Pen?

Erasing markings on non-porous surfaces is no big deal due to their smoothness. However, porous surfaces can be laborious. You might now be familiarized with the recommended solutions, but it is time to learn how to apply them.

Prepare the basic materials needed:

  • Vinegar
  • Water or chalkboard cleaning liquid
  • A magic eraser or regular scrub or towel wipe
  • Mix vinegar with either water or chalkboard cleaning liquid. You can start with an equal amount for the water mixture, while for the chalkboard cleaning liquid, you have to check the instructions.
  • Stir thoroughly for a few seconds.
  • Soak the magic eraser, scrubber or towel wipe to the solution. Squeeze to remove excess liquid.
  • Then, wipe the affected part or the whole chalkboard itself.
  • After initial wiping, let the liquid settle for 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Next, proceed to scrub the remaining ink but do not be forceful.
  • Then, dry the surface with a new towel wipe.
  • If, upon drying, there are still visible markings left, repeat the soaking step and scrubbing action.

Prevention / Containment

It isn’t very pleasant to keep on cleaning the chalk pen marks after every use. If you are using the chalkboard on a morning discussion, imagine what it will look like during the afternoon classes. If you want to prevent any chalk ghosting as much as possible, here are some tips you can follow:

  • Conduct a spot test to determine what type of surface the chalkboard is. If it turns out to be a porous surface, regular chalks are more favorable to use.
  • Budget the chalkboard area so that there will be at least a spotless, untouched portion left for the succeeding users.
  • Upon writing, apply less pressure on the chalk pen as much as the situation allows you to.
  • Prime the chalkboards before applying the paint coat.


It may be easy now you know how to get a chalk pen off a chalkboard, but if writing on it is part of your routine, you will encounter chalk ghosting always. Assuming you will be dealing with porous chalkboards, try to apply the solutions from time to time. Meanwhile, to limit your burden, prevent chalk ghosting from happening in the first place.

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