How to Clean a Slate Blackboard

Written by sophie sharp
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How to Clean a Slate Blackboard
Proper cleaning prolongs the life of a slate blackboard. (today image by alwayspp from

A slate blackboard is a useful piece of equipment in any classroom, and it will last for years with proper care. Constant chalking and erasing can leave its surface dirty and hard to read. So a thorough cleaning is required once in awhile. Many traditional cleaning methods and speciality cleaning products are available, but the priority is to use gentle cleaning to preserve the porous surface of the slate.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 2 soft, clean, dry cloths
  • Clean blackboard eraser (optional)
  • Clean sponge

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  1. 1

    Remove as much chalk dust as possible from the slate blackboard's surface. Use a soft, clean cloth or a clean blackboard eraser to wipe the board with diagonal strokes to do this.

  2. 2

    Dampen a clean sponge. Squeeze out excess water so that the sponge is only damp.

  3. 3

    Clean the blackboard with the sponge. Starting in the top left corner of the board, wipe all the way down to the bottom. Turn the sponge over and wipe back up to the top. Move your sponge along and clean the next section in the same way. Repeat all the way along the board, rinsing the sponge every two or three strokes. Squeeze the water out of the sponge after each rinse. Finish in the top right corner of the blackboard.

  4. 4

    Wipe the blackboard with a soft, clean, dry cloth to remove excess moisture. Repeat the pattern used to clean the blackboard, wiping from top to bottom.

  5. 5

    Allow the board to dry fully, preferably overnight, before writing on it. If any moisture is left, it will be difficult to write and chalk will stick to the board, making it hard to erase.

Tips and warnings

  • For stubborn stains, dilute one part vinegar with five parts water. Use the solution on only the affected area because the vinegar's acid can damage the slate over time.
  • If your chalk does not write smoothly after you cleaned the board, you may need to "wear in" the board. Cover the whole surface with white chalk, and then erase it thoroughly with a clean blackboard eraser.
  • Coloured chalk is harder to erase and more likely to stain a slate blackboard. Stick with white chalk when possible.
  • Avoid using detergents or oils on a slate blackboard because they can leave a film that makes writing difficult.
  • Always use a damp sponge; too much water can damage the surface of the slate.
  • Ensure you can safely reach the top of the blackboard when cleaning. Use a sturdy stepladder if necessary.

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