Graffiti prevention and removal tips

Graffiti prevention and removal tips
Posted on 06/19/2014

The best way to stop the spread of graffiti in your neighborhood is to prevent it from happening in the first place, and neighborhood watch is a great resource. Neighborhoods are stronger when their residents get to know each other and can recognize when something is amiss. For more information on neighborhood watch, call Sheila Jennings with the Cottonwood Heights Police Department at 801-944-7032.

If you see vandalism in progress, don’t hesitate to call police dispatch at 801-840-4000.


When graffiti is already present in your neighborhood, there are ways to get it removed. If the graffiti is on public property or right-of-ways, contact the appropriate agency (city, county, utility owner, etc.). If the graffiti is located on private property, make sure to contact the property owner before attempting to remove the graffiti.

Graffiti removal tips and tricks vary in their effectiveness depending on the underlying surface.

  • Smooth surfaces (vinyl fences, signs, etc.)—solvents and aerosol graffiti removal sprays can be effective in cleaning graffiti. However, make sure to test the chemicals first to make sure it won’t damage the surface underneath the graffiti. Two products used by local agencies are ERASE aerosol spray available from Zep Superior Solutions, and Mess Master spray available at most craft stores. Brake and carburetor cleaners, found at automotive supply stores, can also be effective.
  • Cinderblock, wood—some chemicals can work on cinder block, but sometimes it must be sandblasted in order to remove graffiti. Another alternative is to choose an outdoor latex paint and paint over graffiti. Try to choose a color that closely matches the original surface color.

Remember, if you’re not sure where to begin, the Cottonwood Heights Public Works Department is always willing to help. Give them a call at 801-944-7000 if you have questions.