Earlier this year, a professor in Florida Atlantic University’s Wilkes Honors College sent a group email complaining that the dry-erase boards in the classrooms weren’t being erased. Even worse, the boards couldn’t be erased......People floated various ideas about what was happening. A popular theory was that the cleaning crew must be doing something to make so many boards go bad at once. But Smith was sure that wasn’t the problem. After all, the dry-erase boards in the chemistry department were fine.Then someone in the email chain said they’d been using the sanitizing wipes the university had included in their COVID-19 kits to clean the boards. That key clue broke the case of the nonerasable dry-erase boards: Smith and his colleague David Myers knew what the problem was.When people used the wipes—which contain 2-propanol (also known as isopropyl alcohol)—on the boards, the alcohol was damaging the boards. The professors had inadvertently caused the problem themselves.People who read cleaning labels might be surprised to learn that 2-propanol damages dry-erase boards. After all, some board cleaners contain the alcohol. But in those cases it’s at low concentrations, and it’s mixed with other components, like emulsifiers and stabilizers, that protect the board’s surface.The surface of a dry-erase board has an oily film that allows it to be erased. “Once that oily surface is gone, the ink can soak into the board and then you can’t erase it,” Smith says. “The good news is that if you use the cleaners that you’re supposed to use for the boards, they have conditioner in them to resurface the board.”
I've noticed this issue myself, and it makes you wonder if white boards around chemical laboratories are unusually stained because of this issue!