UL Ecologo Certified Graffiti Removers

The best approach for controlling graffiti depends on the surface: Masonry, metal, plastic, wood, or glass. The type of graffiti also makes a big difference: Ink pens, spray paints and adhesive stickers all require different approaches. When feasible, blasting systems are preferred for bare masonry or metal surfaces, and painting over is preferred for painted surfaces.  See a summary of best strategies

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Consumer, Industrial

Criteria for UL Ecologo Certified Graffiti Removers

Info on this product category: Graffiti Control

Why Go Green

Toxicity: Graffiti removers pose significant hazards to workers as well as potential environmental impacts. Chemical graffiti removers often contain methylene chloride, a Prop 65 carcinogen that is listed by EPA as a Hazardous Air Pollutant, and listed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as a Toxic Air Contaminant. CARB regulations forbid the use of this solvent in graffiti removers, but products are still available elsewhere.  Perhaps the most common ingredient is n-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, a reproductive and developmental toxin that is also listed on California’s Proposition 65 and classified as a VOC.  Another common ingredient in graffiti resistant coatings is tert-butyl acetate, which metabolizes into tert-butyl alcohol, a carcinogen. Finally, nonyl phenol ethoxylates are sometimes used in graffiti removers as surfactants; these are endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Volatile Organic Compounds: Despite CARB regulations, some commercial graffiti remover products contain levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) exceeding the legal limits of 30% (50% for aerosols). VOCs contribute to the formation of smog. Some paints used for painting over graffiti may also contain high levels of VOCs. Some blasting equipment can produce significant residues, which cannot be legally washed down the drain due to the potential presence of hazardous paint chips or other materials. 

Ingredients Disclosure: Most commercial graffiti removers tested do not disclose all ingredients.  Although manufacturers are required to disclose all ingredients classified as toxic by the US EPA, the EPA list does not include all chemicals that pose hazards. Look for products with the US EPA Design for the Environment label, or use custom mixed products.

Criteria for Graffiti Control

Criteria for Suggested products:

For graffiti removal on unpainted surfaces, dry ice or recycled glass blasting systems are preferred.

Chemical graffiti removal products or protective coatings should not contain methylene chloride, n-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, tert-butyl acetate, or nonyl phenol ethoxylates.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) must be 30% or less for non-aerosol graffiti removers and 50% for aerosol products, using the definition of VOCs listed in California Air Resources Board's (CARB) Consumer Product Regulation. Graffiti coatings must have a VOC content of less than 100 grams per liter. Paints for overpainting graffiti should either be certified under Green Seal GS-11, Green Seal GS-43, or should have a recycled content of at least 50% and VOC content of 50g/l or lower.

For all products, full ingredient disclosure is preferred, either directly or via certification by the US EPA's Design for the Environment Program, Green Seal, UL (under its EcoLogo Program) or Cradle to Cradle.

Last updated

Last updated: 
March 15, 2018


Safer Alternative Graffiti Management Methods for California,  a 2014 report by the Institute for Research and Technical Assistance, is an alternatives analysis of various grafitti control methods and products.  The report was funded by US EPA Region IX, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the San Francisco Department of the Environment. 

Guide for City Staff

City Custodians:

  1. Are required to buy these cleaners (if needed):
  2. Post the City department green cleaning checklist/poster.
  3. Post tips (for microfibers, disinfecting, dusting, polishing, floor care, kitchens, restrooms) and watch custodial green cleaning training videos in English, Cantonese, and Spanish made by SF Environment. 
  4. Disinfectants are only important for surfaces like doorknobs.
  5. Switch to microfiber mops and cloths, which can prevent injuries because there's no need for heavy mop buckets.
  6. Install closed-loop dilution systems (if possible) to prevent employee exposure to hazardous concentrates.

Non-custodial City Staff:

Recycling Instructions

It's illegal to trash cleaners (and other chemicals, electronics, lighting, metal, paints). So do one of the following:

  • Use what you already have. 
  • Give them to someone who needs them.
  • Legally and safely dispose them. Post this recycling poster above each trash bin. Then get a pick up.

Citywide Contract

Special Purchasing Instructions

See discounted prices in the most recent Industrial Supplies Contract Award.

Guide for Small Businesses & Homes

  • Try microfiber mops and cloths, which can get rid of 99% of bacteria with plain water.
  • Make your own cleaners from common materials like baking soda, castille soap, or lemon juice.
  • See consumer products on GoodGuide.
  • Use disinfectants sparingly. The most important surfaces are doorknobs.
  • Choose ready-to-use, peroxide- or citric acid-based disinfectants.  Avoid disinfectants that list hypochlorites or quaternary ammonium compounds as ingredients (e.g., ammonium chloride).
  • Small businesses can save money by switching to industrial/institutional cleaners.  Ready-to-use products are 15 times more expensive than concentrates.
  • Custodial companies that are SF Green Businesses should watch custodial green cleaning training videos in English, Cantonese, and Spanish and consider posting Custodial Green Cleaning Tips (available in Spanish and Chinese) by SF Environment.
  • Legally and safely dispose of cleaners (and other chemicals, electronics, lighting, metal, paints) in the San Francisco Bay Area or rest of the U.S

Guide for Large Organizations

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