Dry-erase markers are also know as white board markers or non-permanent markers. They are made using erasable ink, for use on a slick, non-porous writing surface such as whiteboards and overhead projectors. The ink in a dry-erase marker is made from colour pigments, a chemical solvent and a polymer (or “release agent”). The kind of polymer that is used determines whether the marker is permanent or non-permanent. Dry-erase markers use an oily silicone polymer which makes the ink slippery, preventing it from coming into direct contact with a surface. The solvent in the marker (usually an alcohol) helps the ink to dry quickly. The ink attaches to the surface rather than being absorbed by it.
They are often used by children because the marks they make are easy to clean and the ink is non-toxic. Before using dry-erase markers, it is a good idea to test them on the surface you want to mark. Some surfaces don’t erase well, and the marker will leave permanent or semi-permanent marks behind.
Wet-wipe or wet-erase markers are similar to dry-erase markers but use a quick-drying liquid paste as their medium. The markings are semi-permanent as the base is not alcoholic in nature, and will not be wiped away by a whiteboard eraser. The paste-based medium is less likely to cause an allergic reaction. These markers are usually made of water, resin and titanium dioxide.
Wet wipe markers are often used to draw a template, especially in school classrooms or on calendars. Dry erase markers are then usually applied on top of the wet wipe marker, and erased without touching the wet wipe marks. Uses for wet wipe markers include overhead projector transparencies, tablets at restaurants, office calendars, signboards, whiteboards, writing on mirrors, chalkboards, plastics, ceramics, glass windows and other non-porous surfaces. They are available in an assortment of colours, and can then be cleaned off non-porous surfaces with a damp cloth.
Some unusual uses for dry-erase markers
Label frozen foods – use a dry-erase marker to write the date and contents on the lid of storage containers you want to put in the freezer.
Make notes on your bathroom mirror – the bathroom mirror is usually one of the first things you see in the morning, so it’s a great place to write reminders or jot down quick notes. Dry-erase markers write beautifully on glass.
Make a dry-erase card – cover an index card with clear packing tape to create a pocket-sized white board. Brainstorm on the go, erase, and use it again.
Mind mapping – place a sheet of paper in a plastic file sleeve and write on it over and over again. The paper can contain templates for mind-mapping or brainstorming.
Label file drawers or shelves – file drawers and shelves with smooth finishes, such as metal or Formica, can be labelled with dry-erase markers and re-labelled with ease.
Learn while you shower – if you have a glass shower, you can write lists of words or other information you want to learn on the outside and read it while you bathe.
Mark the next service date inside your car’s windscreen – use a fine-tip dry-erase marker to write a reminder in an out-of-direct-sight corner of your windscreen.
Write on your desk – get a glass or acrylic desk pad (you may have to put a sheet of poster board underneath if your desk isn’t light-coloured) and write notes, to-do lists, phone numbers, or anything else directly on the top of your desk. As you finish tasks, simply wipe them away.
White board erasers
Whiteboard erasers are used in schools and offices all around the world. When choosing a whiteboard eraser, it is important to take note of the following characteristics.
Size and grip is important when choosing a whiteboard eraser. Consider who will be using it the most. The eraser should conform to the shape of the hand, otherwise users risk dropping it or straining their fingers. Some models are designed especially for smaller hands. A variety of shapes exist to make erasing easier. There is even a whiteboard eraser glove available.
Erasers are available in a range of different colours and fabrics. This be useful when it comes to organising stationery, especially in learning environments.
Choosing the type of duster that your whiteboard eraser is fitted with will not only benefit your whiteboard, but your health too. Traditionally, the duster part of a whiteboard eraser is made of felt. Those with allergies and asthma should choose microfibre dusters, as these trap dust and tend to be hypoallergenic. Washable dusters ensure that there is as little ink dust being released into the air as possible. Cleaner dusters tend to retain this dust better.
Whiteboard eraser holders make having one within reach easy. While most come equipped with their own holder, it is also possible to buy them separately. Magnetic holders are popular as they can be placed anywhere on the board.
Whiteboard cleaning solutions
Whiteboards are popular in schools, offices and in homes. They are a convenient replacement for chalkboards and bulletin boards. What’s more, they are very easy to clean and maintain. There are dozens of commercial cleaning products available for use on dry erase boards. Most contain bleach or alcohol, which erase ink and other stains.
Clean board thoroughly with a formulated board cleaner by simply spraying the surface with the cleaner and wipe with a clean soft cloth. It is suggested that the board be periodically cleaned. Many whiteboard solutions actually re-condition the surface of the whiteboard, meaning that it is easier to wipe clean with just a dry cloth between full cleanings. This means that you will use less cleaner.
Look out for whiteboard cleaners that are non-toxic and biodegradable. You can get them scented, or completely scent-free.
Whiteboard cleaning wipes are also available. They are usually made of three-ply material and are pre-moistened with a cleaning solution. They are often non-toxic and safe to use on skin.
In order to reduce the amount of time spent cleaning dry erase boards, consider these helpful tips that will decrease the wear and tear on your whiteboard:
Erase frequently – don’t wait days before erasing large amounts of writing. Instead, erase notes as soon as you are done with them. Also, when erasing a whiteboard, don’t just clean off the areas with the markings. Rather, clean the entire board thoroughly after each use
If ink is left on the board for several days, the ink will set and it may be difficult to erase.
Soap and water – rather than wait until your dry erase board full of leftover markings, consider cleaning it with mild soap and water on a weekly basis. Dip a sponge into a mixture of soapy water and gently scrub the board. Then, dry with a soft towel.
Never use coins or other hard, sharp objects to scratch off stubborn marks from a whiteboard. Doing so will damage the surface of the whiteboard and decrease your writing space.