Huge Low Cost Whiteboards and How To Keep Them Clean

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I am a huge fan of whiteboards. I can never have enough. Early last year I started hanging some inexpensive 4’ by 8’ melamine panels in my new home office. One of the three walls wasn’t big enough for a full sheet. I had to cut that one to 4’ by 5’.

32 square feet behind my chair Two 32 square foot boards waiting to be hung A cluttered desk waiting for whiteboards

After over a year of use I am still very happy with all 84 square feet of melamine whiteboard. When I was first purchasing the melamine, I read a lot of complaints about how hard it can be to cleanly erase them, especially after the ink has been on there for an extended period.

I am using Expo Low Odor Dry Erase Markers. I've read that they can be more problematic, but that is the only kind that were on the shelf the day I was shopping for them. One of the colors didn't like to erase very well. We hung some of the left over whiteboard inside the door of our pantry. Any colors that ended up being difficult (or ugly, like brown) ended up in there.

Most of the colors that I use have erased pretty easily even after setting in for two months or more, but at that point they usually require a bit more effort. Unfortunately, today I had my first complete failure at erasing. The area I was trying to erase had been written on for almost a full year.

I don't have any special whiteboard cleaners here. First I reached for my little bottle of screen cleaner—my own mix of a small amount of glass cleaner in water. It worked just as well as the undiluted glass cleaner I tried next, which is not at all.

Fortunately, I remembered that I had a cheap generic Mr. Clean Magic Eraser in the closet. I sprayed the whiteboard with my screen cleaner, since it was handier than water, and scrubbed away. Everything came clean with barely any elbow grease. It was quite awesome!

I am apparently not the first person to think of this.

I did see some people who were wary of using these on whiteboards because they are a mild abrasive that might eventually wear down the writing surface. These melamine boards were very inexpensive. I wouldn’t mind replacing them every few years.