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Standard Graffiti Removal

The following are tips for removing graffiti from various types of surfaces. The city does not endorse specific brands of products, but rather uses brand names to help the consumer identify these graffiti removal materials and supplies.

Metal Surfaces:

Wood Surfaces:

Plastic Surfaces:

Masonry Surfaces:

spraying graffiti with hose

Glass Surfaces:

*Always read product labels and follow all manufacturer instructions and recommendations. Most of the products identified above are flammable-use caution and follow safety directions when using these products. Always use proper safety clothing and equipment (including gloves, safety glasses, etc.). It is recommended that a small "test" area be done prior to a full application of any product.

Information adapted from the city of Boulder, Colorado (

man removing graffiti

More About Graffiti Removal

When painting over graffiti, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind.

  1. Match the paint color of your building-painting patches of mismatched colors does not improve the way the building looks and only serves as continuing evidence of graffiti. If you cannon match the paint, recommends that you paint straight from the top to the bottom of the wall, or that you repaint the entire wall if it is feasible.
  2. If you are using white paint, use enough coats so that the "shadow" of the tag will no longer be visible.
  3. If the graffiti is a persistent problem, you may want to consider painting your building with a protective coating that makes graffiti removal easier. There are two kinds, which are available at most paint stores:
    1. "Sacrificial" Coatings: These fast drying coatings provide a clear gloss protective finish suitable for internal or external application over aluminum, copper, and other non-ferrous metals. The coating comes off with the graffiti and thus must be reapplied each time graffiti is washed off.
    2. Polyurethane Coatings: These coatings provide a protective layer and will last through many cycles of graffiti removal.

More Environmentally Friendly Graffiti Removal

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City of Bloomington Graffiti Removal Policies

Here is some general information on the city's graffiti removal practices:

The City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department cleans up People's Park and other city parks daily within 24 hours of discovery of graffiti.

The Public Works department removes graffiti on public property, and occasionally railroad overpasses. Public Works uses Street Department crews, facility maintenance staff and private contractors.

HAND (Housing and Neighborhood Development) coordinates clean-up projects with Public Works, Parks and Recreation, community groups, and volunteers.

Indiana & City Code Provisions:

I.C. 35-43-1-2: Mischief (Class D Felony, Class A, or B misdemeanor)
B.M.C. 14.36.050: Defacing or destroying city property
B.M.C. 1.01.131: Violations-penalty


It is the responsibility of the property owner to restore surfaces damaged by graffiti to an approved state of maintenance and repair. (Bloomington Ordinance 03-08 1 (part), 2003)

*(From Appendix 1 of MEMO on graffiti programs from Marsha Bradford)

Future Ordinances

The City of Bloomington is currently researching nationwide community responses to graffiti. The city's Graffiti Task Force is examining ordinances that make removal the responsibility of the property owner, authorizing the city to step in if graffiti is not removed within a certain period of time. If you have any ideas or opinions on any such ordinances, please contact the Safe and Civil City Director. (355-7777)

Links to communities with graffiti removal ordinances

Albuquerque, New Mexico This program includes a computerized routing system and a graffiti hotline. The program is highly effective and has been recognized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors as a "Best Practice" program. The city pays for clean up on most properties and notifies owners for written consent.

Oxnard, California

City pays for graffiti removal, painting both public and private property. Neighborhood groups have a website offering extensive clean up information; the website also offers online incident reporting.

Phoenix, Arizona The City of Phoenix uses a hotline and four full time employees to maintain the Graffiti Hotline and the Graffiti Busters Program. The program strives to remove graffiti within 48 hours of receiving a report and help homeowners and neighborhood groups conduct clean-ups. Their services include a tool-lending program in which any neighborhood Block Watch listed with the department may borrow tools and supplies to improve the neighborhood.

Palo Alto, California The City of Palo Alto, at the request of the Santa Clara County Cities Association, adopted a resolution in support of "Do Graffiti-Lose Your License" and "Adopt-A-Block" anti-graffiti campaigns, which are currently in effect.

**Other Graffiti Links** This website is a comprehensive website dealing with graffiti, its consequences, and removal methods. It also provides links to effective anti-graffiti programs in cities nationwide.

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Do You Want to Organize a Graffiti Clean-Up?

Here are some tips:

  1. Get in touch with the Safe and Civil City Director (355-7777). She will help you get permission from property owners and a graffiti removal kit, which are available to check out a number of community centers and neighborhood organizations.
  2. Use an existing organization as a starting point. Are you already a member of a community center, church, school group, or neighborhood association? If so, those are great places to start because you are already connected to many people who share your ideas. As around, see if anyone is interested.
  3. Use the Bloomington Volunteer Network to help you recruit volunteers. Go to for more information.
  4. Stay Local. With this organization (or with people you recruited on your own), clean up your neighborhood, a certain block, the area around your local school or community center. Concentrate on one area. Is there an alley that you consider a real eyesore? Get a group together to help clean it!
  5. Maintain an Area. You might want to consider maintaining an area by organizing a group that wants to have a clean-up three times a year-or more! These kinds of groups are effective because they let graffiti writers know that there are people who care about that area.

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