smudges on matboard


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jan 7, 2005
Is there any way to remove a small smudge (for example: a dirty fingerprint) from matboard? I know one of my framer friends once told us to use a pencil eraser to lightly buff away a small drop of moisture. It made it disappear. Just wondering if there are any tips out there other than "trash it"!

K2R spot lifter worked well for me on oil-based spots (where an eraser won't). You can probably buy it at the supermarket. You spray it on, let it dry to a powder, and brush it off (the cap is a brush). If you are impatient, like I uaually was, a hairdryer dries it quickly.

I hope it is still on the market. The can I have is nearly 20 years old!
I like the big art erasers. the white ones are best! The one in front of me now has the label "Staedtler Mars Plastic"

Good stuff!
Thanks everyone.
I had some major scuff marks on a piece that I was doing for myself the other day - so I experimented with a trick I believe a grumbler shared not too long ago... for scuffs - wipe with a lightly dampened soft cloth over the entire board. And it worked pretty well. Some of the color did come off... so at least I know all is not lost in the future!
Here's a solution to shiny marks I'm sure a lot of you already are aware of. Dents in matboard, too. Moisten your fingertip ever so slighty with extremely clean water, dab it onto the dent or shiny mark. The matboard will soak it up like a sponge, and return to its natural state. Let it air dry, and it should be good as new.

Side note: Does anyone know why most frame shops have a half-empty bottle of Everclear on the shelf? I assume it is used for cleaning, but you never know with this bunch.
Bumpon, I spray isopropyl alcohol on scuffed mats, dries quicker than water, Everclear would dry much quicker, and probably leave less residue!

That may be the reason the bottle is half full, can't think of where else the alcohol would go, can you ;)
oooo, I just got a swipe of nail polish on a WHITE mat... ouch. The old kneade eraser came thru - thank goodness!!

I guess I need to do one of the following:

a) quit wearing polish or
b) select a lighter color or
c) use only dark mats.
At a recent PPFA seminar/field trip we checked out a conservation lab that uses ground-up Mars erasers to clean smudges. Similar to the dry erase bags but supposedly less abrasive. Would've never thought of that.


That was a problem I had yesterday. Hot pink polish streak on a cream mat. A regular eraser (pencil) did not work. I recut the dang thing. Anyway, now I know not to wear polish. I guess as long as I am a framer I will have plain old ugly hands...all the papercut scars weren't as noticeable with polish!

I am definitely ordering some of the above supplies. oh, can you get a kneade eraser at an art supply store? I guess the ones Bob mentioned they will have. Hmmm.
Bob Doyle, do you dilute the alcohol or use it straight? The K2r works well but you have to be certain to get all the residue off or you will get powdery specs on the glazing (after you have sealed the package no less). A regular pencil eraser will sometimes leave too much shine. I have had the best luck with an art gum eraser, and believe it or not, a clean ATG pickup square will work wonders on many smudges and marks.
Well Sister, I take my everclear straight!

I use the alcohol straight out of the bottle, or sometimes add a little water to dilute it. either way seems to work.

scratch that/ straight up for scuffs, diluted for cleaning glass. and when I mess up and use the wrong bottle I don't worry about it.

I like the art erasor because it won't trash the mat like a pencil erasor does! And the pen erasors are worse.

I have to cut out flecks once in a while then I use the mat blade to get as small a cut as possible. And sometimes they will flick off a bit that I can't erase.

Good luck getting the erasors. I had trouble getting them from my supplier, but United has them, and the art store had them for 65 cents a piece, the grocery for 3/$1! Who'd a thunk to get office supplies in the grocery?!
I don't think anybody mentioned the battery-operated erasers from the technical drawing stores (or Office Depot.) They look kinda like a Dremel tool.

You can get replaceable tips for pencil or for pen. The latter is kind of a last resort before you recut or replace, but has saved my butt more than once, and it's much easier to control in tight areas than a regular eraser.
I have drawn a lot in my day, having gotten a master's in drawing, soooo, I found kneaded erasers leave behind a residue and if you drag a pencil over where you erase, it darkens the pencil line. A pink pearl will abraid the paper fibers. The plastic erasers are the least damaging.
FYI, I use an eraser on the "powdery residue" left by the K2R.
Everclear used for gilders liquor, for water gilding and or for drinking gold flecks and all.
We like the K2r and to speed up the process use compressed air.

K2r is nasty stuff, Everclear tastes much better; and I don't EVEN want to know what you do with the compressed air.... :D
Mecianne, re: to polish or not....

Mine only leaves streaks if it doesn't have a top coat... or I dig really deep into the surface of a board (accidentally, of course!)..

But I am seeing more streaks lately but then I have been designing with more light color mats lately.

All the serious posts about the smudges are well received... Worth experimenting before a crisis repair is needed!!!