Unless you’re blessed to have world-reknown Banksy spray paint his art on your building, making your business a potential tourist attraction, odds are graffiti is just another unwelcome intrusion into your business that costs time and money to remove. Graffiti is as old as civilization when people decided to leave some random art in caves just to show they were there. In the modern sense, graffiti is any unwelcome drawing, painting, or scratching of public or private property that does not belong to the unknown artist. It’s typically art, but can include written messages. The culture of spray painting art on buildings has become a modern form of protest, even though it is illegal to deface public property. The problem is that graffiti, as a crime, is often hard to police and by the time someone figures out that a building or car has been defaced, the graffiti artist is long gone.
Why Graffiti Is Outlawed
It’s not that the authorities in place hate art or free expression. Graffiti is also used to mark areas of a city that are said to belong to one gang or another in a process called “tagging.” In addition, many forms of graffiti are downright ugly and created with garish spray paint colors. It can give a business a bad public image because it is associated with “high crime” and “unsafe” neighborhoods. This can reduce the traffic coming through the doors as people avoid areas with a lot of graffiti. It can also encourage more crime because areas with graffiti are viewed as not being as well controlled by the local authorities as those that don’t have this problem.
Removing graffiti can also be time-consuming, if you don’t know what you are doing. The spray paint artists tend to go for porous surfaces like concrete and brick, making much harder to erase their work. However, even graffiti on glass or metal can be completely unwelcome simply because someone has to clean it up, even if it is easier to remove. It’s just another expense and waste of time that does nothing to help local business owners succeed in their business.
That’s why graffiti is outlawed throughout most of the United States. Fines can be levied up to $500 for even simply possessing a spray paint can. Store owners are not even allowed to display actual paint cans and can only show facsimiles of them when they try to sell spray paint. Fines increase depending on whether the graffiti was done in connection with another crime at the same time. However, this is often not enough of a deterrent to keep these types of vandals from heading out under the cover of night to spray paint their latest masterpiece on your innocent walls or parked car.
How to Clean Up Graffiti If You’re a Victim of This Crime
The key to cleaning up graffiti is to have the proper equipment and solvents to attack the problem so that you don’t have to spend too much time on it. If the graffiti is not on your property, but in a public space, notify the authorities. It’s their job to clean it up on public spaces. If you’re just looking for a quick fix for graffiti on your property, you may have to hire a professional. They will come and either sandblast or power wash the graffiti from your walls or car, using toxic commercial cleaners, for a steep price. If that doesn’t fully remove it, then you might also have to paint over the wall, creating a nice new blank canvas for the next intrepid graffiti artist. If you’re trying to reduce the expense of this act, and be more environmentally-friendly, you may want to have some of your own solutions on hand that can be pulled out immediately and work just as well.
Do-It-Yourself Options For More Eco-Friendly Solutions
Cleaning materials for graffiti can be done with gloves, a wire brush, steel wool, a towel, and a cleaning solution. You can also rent a power washer, but you may not need to. By using specialized solutions, like Lift Off Graffiti Remover, scrubbing the affected area and washing it off with a hose, you can often get really good results. LiftOff Graffiti Remove provides the following benefits:
It Handles Multiple Surfaces – You can use it on concrete, stucco, and other porous surfaces, although it may require a stiff brush, to scrub away the paint particles, and some power-washing. However, it’s strong enough to deal with these surfaces, but also soft enough to be used on your car’s paint job. For your car, or other smooth surfaces, you don’t want to scratch the underlying surface, so instead of a brush or steel wool, use paper towels or a soft cloth to scrub the surface before hosing it down.
It’s Environmentally-Friendly – If you buy LiftOff, you can be assured it is water-based and biodegradable. It also has low VOCs, so you won’t be subjected to toxic fumes. You won’t be poisoning the environment or yourself with toxic chemicals. You do want to minimize contact with your skin and eyes, just like you would any harsh soap.
Cleanup Is Easy – Since it is environmentally-friendly, you can simply wash it off the walls with a hose. If you get it on yourself, soap and water will do the trick. Keep some towels around to dry off after your cleanup. Dry yourself and wash the towels in the laundry, with your work clothes, if you want. There are no other types of special cleansers that need to be used to cleanup brushes or clothing. Soap and water generally work well for all these.
Take Control of Your Graffiti Problems
By having LiftOff available for those emergencies you can’t really predict, you save time and money in hiring professionals, with heavy duty equipment and cleansers. LiftOff is more cost-effective and an easier solution to implement. You don’t have to wait for a cleanup crew to come out on their time table. You can just pick up your normal cleaning equipment with LiftOff and get started right away to remove the offending graffiti. The quicker you act the less likelihood that this spot will be picked again because of the fact that the so-called art is quickly erased from existence. Plus, you have the peace of mind knowing you’re are not polluting the environment or exposing yourself to harsh chemicals in the cleanup process.
- The Site (n.d.) Graffiti. Retrieved from: http://www.thesite.org/crime-
- Graffiti Research (n.d.) Graffiti Laws: Outdated, Impractical, and Unfair. Retrieved from: http://graffitiresearch.