Graffiti management for small business

Graffiti has significant social and financial impacts for local businesses. Rapid removal is recommended to discourage further occurrences. Small business owners can access support for graffiti prevention and removal with the Graffiti Small Business Assist program, a joint initiative of Brisbane City Council and the Queensland Government.

As a part of the program, Council’s graffiti liaison officers are available to provide advice and assistance including: 

  • an individual graffiti assessment on your property
  • graffiti prevention advice and removal method instructions
  • working with you to develop effective graffiti management techniques for your property
  • supply of a graffiti management toolkit for on-going graffiti mitigation. 

Small business owners can contact Council to request a toolkit which includes a 12-page booklet detailing strategies to reduce the risk of graffiti, tips on removing existing graffiti and a removal kit. Three types of graffiti removal kits are available dependant on the type of surface defaced such as cement or glass.

For more information on the Graffiti Small Business Assist program or to request a removal toolkit, phone Council on 07 3403 8888.

Graffiti prevention

While graffiti can be a common problem for small businesses, there are things you can do to help prevent graffiti from occurring on your property. 

Make your property visible

  • Try to make the view to your property as clear as possible. If vandals can hide behind something while doing graffiti they will.
  • Ensure lighting is working in public areas as it can reduce the risk of graffiti attacks.
  • Consider surveillance cameras to watch over high-risk areas.

Control access to your property

  • Deny natural ladders by removing items that may be used to gain access to higher areas. For example, bins that may be used to get onto awnings or rooftops.
  • Incorporate plants to restrict access to walls, fences and other graffiti targets.
  • Install fixtures such as bollards or fencing to limit access to graffiti-prone areas.

Create clear boundaries

  • Make sure it is clear who owns the property as this makes intruders more easily spotted.
  • Consider using fences, landscaping, signs, lighting or changes in surfaces to define public, semi-public and private spaces.
  • Maintain premises and grounds so it demonstrates that you are operating a business in the space.

Remove existing graffiti quickly

As a deterrent, it is important to remove graffiti as soon as possible. The longer it remains the more difficult it is to remove and likely that more graffiti will appear.

Useful resources

Graffiti management for small business video

Video transcript

Hi, my name is Chris, and I’m a Graffiti Removal Officer with Brisbane City Council.

When it comes to graffiti, prevention is key and there are some simple things you can do to help minimise the risk. Consider:

  • using vegetation to reduce access to walls
  • install good lighting to help deter criminal activity
  • use signs to create clear boundaries between your property and public areas
  • install fencing to make it harder for vandals to gain access
  • remove any object that could be used to climb to high areas like rooftop or awnings; and
  • consider installing surveillance cameras.

Now let’s look at how we rid of graffiti that’s already there.

To help you get started, Council provides free graffiti removal kits, which contain protective glasses, gloves, safety information and instructions.

Each kit includes different removal product such as graffiti removal spray, wipes and paint depending on the surface affected.

Our dedicated team can provide advice about which kit is best for your needs.

Windows or shop fronts are a common target for graffiti vandals. I will show you now some simple and easy ways to remove it safely.

Methylated spirits, graffiti remover and graffiti wipes are all able to be used against aerosols and marker pen from the glass.

Before using any chemical products, you need to take some simple safety precautions.

Always manufacturers’ instructions and only use chemicals in a well-ventilated area. Put on gloves, safety glasses and wash your hands thoroughly after you are done. Store all chemicals in a secure spot like a locked cupboard or high shelf so that they are out of reach of children and animals.

To remove graffiti from glass using the graffiti removal wipes, simply apply it gently to the glass and wipe until it’s been removed. Then, use a nice, clean wet rag and gently wipe it over until it’s all been removed.

Another way to remove paint, is by using a blade scraper, which you can buy from your local hardware store. Scrape away the excess aerosol from the glass but be careful not to scratch it.

Concrete walls are another common graffiti target and there are a number of ways you can remove it.

Firstly, you can apply graffiti remover, scrub with a stiff brush and then wash off or water blast with a pressure cleaner. You may need to try a few times to get rid of the graffiti completely. Just remember to wait 2-3 minutes between applications to give the product time to take effect.

Sometimes, when graffiti covers a large area, it’s much easier and much cheaper to just paint over it. Make sure you prepare the surface by removing flaking paint, dust or grime using a scraper or wire brush. Remember to wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from paint flakes or droplets. Once you’re ready to paint, make sure that you do it in large sections so that the tag is completely covered. You may need to use a stain sealer or an undercoat to stop the graffiti bleeding through.

When you’re finished, store any leftover paint carefully and don’t let any paint or chemical runoff into drains or waterways.

So there you have it. Some easy ways to remove graffiti from your property.

You can also watch this video and other related videos on Council's YouTube channel.

Graffiti prevention and removal guide

The graffiti prevention and removal booklet provides easy strategies for reducing the risk of graffiti and tips on removing existing graffiti from your property. When you are removing graffiti it is important to take precautions to ensure your safety and the safety of others. 

Download the:

You can also download the quick reference guide, outlining the best removal methods for different surfaces:

Staying safe when removing graffiti

When you are using any kind of chemical products or paints it is important to take precautions to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. 

Always take the following precautions when using paints:

  • wear protective equipment including eye protection and follow the product manufacturers’ instructions
  • do not allow paint run off to enter the stormwater or waterways as this damages the environment
  • try to wipe/squeeze excess paint from rollers and brushes back into the paint tin for future use
  • paint out brushes and rollers onto newspaper and then dispose of with normal household rubbish after it has dried
  • use two containers to clean your brush. The first one to clean the brush and another to use for a final clean
  • use newspaper to clean out the remainder from your cleaning buckets as it can be disposed of in your normal rubbish once dry.

Always take the following precautions when using chemicals:

  • always wear protective equipment including gloves, eye protection and follow the product manufacturers’ instructions
  • keep away from children and animals
  • do not allow paint (chemical) run off to enter the stormwater or waterways as this damages the environment.
  • dispose of safely - Council waste transfer stations have chemical disposal facilities 
  • chemicals rely on a reaction with paint. When the surface is warm a better reaction occurs. A wall that has been in the sun for a while will be easier to remove graffiti from than one that has been in the shade.

More information

For more information, read about Council's graffiti prevention strategies and community liaison services.

Phone Council on 07 3403 8888 if you would like further information or to request assistance for your small business.

Anyone who witnesses an act of graffiti should report the offence to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Last updated: 19 February 2020