Remove graffiti

You can paint, sand, waterblast, polish or sandblast the surface to remove graffiti / tagging.

Removing the graffiti within 24 hours is the most effective way to prevent it from happening again.

Use the removal method appropriate to the surface type. 

If you are removing graffiti for the first time, try different methods on a small area first to make sure you are not causing more damage. Try, in this order:

  • a detergent, such as dishwashing liquid
  • a solvent such as paint thinner, methylated spirits, oven cleaner or branded graffiti-removal products such as Resene Graffiti Cleaner.

Keep some spare matching paint for your fence, garage or any other graffiti-prone surfaces and simply paint over any tags.

If need be, just paint a patch over the tagged area – rather than repainting the entire wall or fence – until the graffiti has stopped for an extended period.

Generally, a dark painted wall or fence is easier to keep graffiti-free because dark-coloured paint is more effective at covering tags.

Easy graffiti removal guide

Surface Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5
Traffic signs Apply methylated spirits Rub with a rag Wash off    
Steel and aluminium Apply methylated spirits Rub with a stiff brush Wash off    
Plastic garbage bins Apply methylated spirits Rub with a stiff brush Wash off    
Plastic playground equipment Apply graffiti remover Rub with a stiff brush  Wash off    
Colour bond fence (eg colour-steel) Apply graffiti remover to small area Wipe with a very soft brush Wash off straight away Paint over  
Unpainted brick Apply graffiti remover Wait five minutes Rub with a stiff brush Wash off Repeat steps 1–4 until clean
Painted brick Paint over or Apply methylated spirits Rub with a soft brush Wash off
Control boxes Apply methylated spirits Rub with a rag Rub with a stiff brush Wash off  
Footpaths Apply methylated spirits or Apply graffiti remover Rub with a stiff brush Wash off
Unpainted and painted wood Use water blaster on soft setting or Paint over    

Table courtesy of Blacktown City Council, New South Wales, Australia

Community groups helping to remove graffiti

The Council's graffiti removal contractors support community groups to clean up their neighbourhoods. The images below show Mansfield House staff and residents painting the Wellington Hospital emergency water tank as part of the Newtown Clean-up Initiative.

We no longer have supplies of free graffiti removal kits.

Use this voucher to get a free test pot of paint, or a discount off a 4L or 10L paint pot:
Have You Been Tagged? Including Resene Voucher (1.8MB PDF)