When you own a building on Main Street, you want it to look nice, of course. People see me cleaning the sidewalk outside of the Telephone Building, and manicuring the tree gravel into my special meditation pattern. I pull the weeds from our parking lot behind the building, versus spraying them with poison. People seem to appreciate these small touches when they look at the building as a whole.

These are the gentle ways of maintaining the exterior of the building. There are harsher realities that I know how to clean, such as cigar spit on my limestone. There is nothing more infuriating that someone staining your building on purpose. Fortunately, as an art conservator, I know how to face these markings to remove them (most of the time).

For this post, I am focusing on removing graffiti not from my building, but from the metal trash can that the City of Beacon owns and maintains outside of my building. Last week I met a kindred spirit, Main Street, Beacon NY neighbor Patrick, who gave me a kiss (!) to thank me for removing graffiti from the city garbage can

Patrick does the same near his place. This is one way everyday citizens help keep Beacon beautiful! And another reason why I love Beacon so.

Here is my recipe for removing white graffiti from metal trash cans on Main Street:

On painted surfaces, my weapons of choice are Soft Scrub, 4x0 steel wool and water to “polish” the painted marks off.

You may want to use rubber gloves to protect your hands from the cleaning chemicals.

Squirt the Soft Scrub directly onto the graffiti.

In a circular motion, use the 4x0 steel wool to scrub the graffiti off.

Drip the water onto the surface as you go. Or dip your steel wool into a cup of water as you go.

You are essentially polishing the trash can, and removing the graffiti.

A Graffiti Patrol success!