Responsible Purchasing Network

Graffiti guide coverGraffiti Remover case study

Click here to download a free copy of our Graffiti Remover case study

Case Study Summary
Graffiti remover products are typically strong solvents that pose serious risks for human health and the environment, but unlike mainstream janitorial products, there is little information available to help differentiate safer products.

In 2002, RPN’s parent organization, the Center for a New American Dream, partnered with the City of Portland, OR Operational Services Division to review graffiti removal products and conducted the following activities:

  1. Inventoried graffiti remover products and methods used by the City and collected material safety data sheets (MSDS).
  2. Identified potential alternative products and collected MSDSs.
  3. Ranked these products based on the employee and environmental hazards associated with chemicals found in the MSDSs.
  4. Field tested products with lower environmental and human health hazard profiles to evaluate performance.

The final report provides results of both the product content evaluation and subsequent field tests, presenting lessons learned and including resources for exploring low-risk graffiti remover products. It is not intended to offer definitive conclusions on how to safely remove graffiti, but rather serve as a starting point and guide for best graffiti removal practices.

Click here to download a free copy of our Graffiti Remover case study

Notes on Scope:
Not all of the possible graffiti remover products currently on the market were included in this study. However, the study does contain a significant cross-section of available graffiti remover products.

It was beyond the scope of this project to conduct a life cycle analysis of each product; thus, concerns associated with product/ingredient origin, processing, distribution, and disposal were not evaluated.

It is important to acknowledge that using solvents of any kind may not be the best option. Painting over graffiti, using a dull razor/scraper, or pressure washing by itself may be safer, more environmentally beneficial, and therefore, more appropriate options.

Creative Commons License This work by the Responsible Purchasing Network is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.