Friday, July 13, 2012

How to Clean Chalkboard Paint

Several months ago I decided to be bold and use chalkboard paint for the inside door of my kitchen cupboard. I had been wanting to give this a try for a while, but was a little nervous about how it would turn out. I decided to pick a spot that was easy to hide in case it turned out poorly. The results weren't terrible, but it never wiped away as cleanly as I had hoped it would.

While researching the paint ahead of time, I found a lot of people had this issue. Despite the warnings, I just couldn't resist. I just love how chalkboards look in the kitchen. After painting, however, I quickly found many of the complaints about messy smudges to be true. Over the past couple of months, I had tried everything from traditional erasers, to household cleaners, and everything in between. Every time, the cupboard would dry only to look like a smeared mess.

The other day while playing around on StumbleUpon (My new favorite internet distraction) I came across the suggestion to use Coke as a chalkboard cleaning agent. At first glance this seemed like a terrible and sticky idea, but since nothing else had worked so far, I was willing to give it a try.

I poured about a half cup of Coke into a shallow saucer. Using a dampened cloth I dabbed at the the soda and wiped it along the chalkboard. To my absolute amazement, this worked like a charm. The Coke dried clean without leaving chalk dust or sticky residue, with the exceptions of a few spots where I went a little overboard (you only need enough soda to wipe away the Chalk - there shouldn't be any dripping). This was simple enough to fix with a bit of water.

I wanted to keep my original drawing at the top, so I carefully touched up the design with cotton swabs. Paint brushes would probably have worked just as well, and even now I'm imagining some really cool painterly effects that could be achieved with this technique.

Like Night and Day

The Coke worked so nicely I decided to use it on our kitchen sign as well. I was a bit more hesitant about cleaning this one. I didn't want it to look too polished as it wouldn't be getting used in the same way as the cupboard door. I still wanted to maintain a bit of a rough hand-drawn look.

I started again by wiping way the larger negative spaces within the design with a dab of Coke. About halfway through, I noticed something pretty interesting. Next to the newly cleaned areas, the dusty areas surrounding the letters almost seemed as though they were painted in a watercolor grey scale.

I might be letting my creative side get the best of me,  but I think this looks really cool. I decided to keep some of the haze around the letters showing. Again, I did some really quick and loose detailing with the cotton swab and dabbed away any remaining Coke residue with water.

I'm really happy about this working out so well. We use the cupboard door for groceries all the time. I just snap a picture with my phone before I leave for the store and I never forget a thing.


  1. Awesome, Lilly... you can make my shopping list anytime!

  2. Thank you for this recommendation! I just did a table refurb for my daughter and the chalkboard was "ruined" after one activity. Now it looks brand new.

  3. Thank you so much for that tip! I would have never thought about Coke, and it worked like a champ! You're awesome!
    Happy Dad in Arizona

  4. This is interesting! I enjoyed reading your great post.Thanks for the valuable information and insights you have shared here. Margot

  5. Great Post! I am going to do this this weekend! Found you on Pinterest!

  6. I just almost threw away my chalkboard I made last weekend for my kitchen, but now I will be heading to the grocery store instead! Thanks!

  7. Can you use any kind of soda or just Coke brand?

  8. I haven't tried other brands yet, but I'm willing to bet they would work just as well.

  9. Do you have to re-season with chalk again? That is what makes it look so dusty looking. :)
    So excited I found this Coke info!

  10. Thank you so much, I did a blackboard wall 1.5 x 2m a few months ago, I love it but I don't love that I have not been able to clean it. Sp out to by coke tomorrow.:)

  11. Hello, your DIY works are awesome! Thank you for sharing the tips! It is very helpful and informative.
    Also, it would be more practical and easier when cleaning everything using high pressure washers.

    Precision Water Blaster