Graffiti on private property

Cornwall Council, Town and Parish, and the Police and Crime Commissioner elections information and results.


Graffiti is writing or drawings made on a wall or other surface, usually without permission and within public view. Graffiti ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings

If they are left untouched graffiti can encourage more graffiti, rubbish dumping and anti-social behaviour.

It is the land owner's responsibility to clean graffiti on their private property.

Prevent graffiti on your property

To help prevent graffiti appearing on your property you could:

  • put trellis your property has good security measures to prevent access for graffiti vandals. This could include nightlights, locks, fences, and even CCTV.

The quicker graffiti is removed the less likely vandals will strike again.

How to remove graffiti

Wipe it out

Most graffiti is made by either a permanent marker pen or paint spray from a can. It is often easier to remove new graffiti before it has had a chance to dry . Also, small areas of graffiti are often added to so it is a good idea to remove graffiti as soon as possible.

Brush it out

A simple solution to graffiti on wood and painted surfaces is to paint over the top. For best results the graffiti should first be scrubbed or even primed (especially when the graffiti is dark). Anti-graffiti paints are available which make graffiti removal a lot easier.

Scrub it off

Graffiti on non-porous surfaces can often be scrubbed off using a strong detergent and lots of elbow grease. Non-porous surfaces include

  • sound masonry paint
  • tiles
  • shiny bricks
  • glossy paints

It is likely that traces of graffiti will remain, but this may fade or be painted over.

Stubborn graffiti

Stubborn graffiti can be removed with the help of specific removal products. The success of removal very much depends on the surface involved. Read the instructions before using any of these products. You may wish to use a specialist company listed in the local phone directory under graffiti removers or painting contractors.

Tools for removing graffiti

The choice of tool for graffiti removal will depend on whether: 

  • oil or water based paint was used
  • its on a porous or non-porous surface

Always follow makers’ instructions

  • Cloths, scouring powder and scourers
    These tools are usually enough against water-based felt tip pens on non-porous surfaces
  • White spirit
    This may be effective against spirit-based felt tip pens on many surfaces
  • Wire brushes
    These can be used to remove graffiti from porous surfaces. They are particularly effective when used with paint remover and graffiti remover.
  • Paint remover and graffiti remover
    May be effective against aerosol paint on the majority of non-porous and porous surfaces
  • Paint, dyes and coatings
    It is often easier and more cost effective to paint over or dye surfaces affected by graffiti, or by applying anti-graffiti coating.
  • Creosote and wood dye
    These products are useful if graffiti are embedded into the grain of wood.
  • Paint
    Egg shell and oil based paints create a smoother surface. It will be easier to clear graffiti from them in the future, as opposed to an ordinary masonry paint. It is worth keeping a small amount of paint in store so that you can paint over any graffiti that appears.

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