As a student with low vision and dysgraphia, I frequently use dry-erase boards for working out math problems or taking notes when working on a programming assignment because I find it easier to adjust the surface and write with a marker instead of traditional pencils or pens. However, traditional dry-erase erasers aren’t always the best option for me, especially when I only need to erase a small section, and smudging ink with my finger isn’t the best choice either. Here are helpful dry-erase eraser alternatives for low vision and my favorite options for whiteboard erasing.
The problem with traditional dry-erase erasers
So, what’s the problem with traditional dry-erase erasers, and how does this impact a student with low vision?
- Dry-erase erasers are designed to erase a large surface area, which might not be something I want to do when I am working on a math problem or need to change something
- Students can lose erasers or have difficulty storing them, or the adhesive surface can break off
- One of my friends talked about wanting an erasing surface that “worked on both sides”, so it didn’t matter if someone used the eraser upside down
- Some dry-erase erasers don’t work on makeshift dry-erase surfaces. As an example, I converted one of the closet doors in my dorm room to be a large white board with contact paper, and couldn’t use a traditional eraser
- Erasers can leave streaks or shadow effects if the user does not press down enough, which requires more in-depth cleaning.
It’s helpful to have dry erase alternatives that can remove ink more easily and more precisely, so that’s why I started looking into more options like these.
- How To Make Things On The Board Easier To See
- How I Show Work For Math With Low Vision and Dysgraphia
- How I Decorate My Dorm Room With Low Vision
Reusable makeup pad
Reusable makeup pads are a microfiber material that work great for erasing a small surface area and can be stored easily in a pencil pouch or pocket. This also makes it easier for me to use dry-erase spray to spot treat areas on the whiteboard, and they don’t get sticky like traditional towels or tissues might. I purchased a set on Amazon several years ago and wash them in a small bag in the washing machine with the rest of my clothes.
Another dry-erase eraser alternative, baby socks or small socks can be moved across a board or used over the hand/finger. I like this option because these types of socks are often colorful and can “pop” against lighter surfaces like a whiteboard or table, which is helpful for students with reduced contrast vision- it’s difficult to find a black eraser resting inside a black desk, or a white eraser on top of a white desk.
Another option for the sock eraser is to attach a baby sock to the top of a marker with a rubber band, so that the surface is always accessible.
Pom-Poms or erasers on the marker
Similar to erasers on a pencil, dry-erase erasers or pom-poms can be cut to size and glued to the top of a dry-erase marker for easy access. One of my resident advisors in college did this for writing quick notes on their board, and it also made it easier to locate the pen when there was a fluffy pom-pom on top.
Sponges cut to size
Sponges are another eraser alternative for dry-erase boards and can be cut down to size for more precise erasing, as well as cleaned in the sink to avoid staining. Sponges also come in multiple colors so they are easier to locate, but may require additional pressure for erasing.
Soft winter gloves can be found for less than $5 at many dollar stores and bargain bins during the winter, and are a great option for users who prefer to erase dry-erase boards with their fingers or hands.
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Bonus- dry erase spray
Since ink smudges can dramatically affect my ability to read content on a whiteboard, I always have a bottle of dry erase spray nearby for cleaning up smudges and making my board easier to see again. This can be added on top of one of the softer erasers, or sprayed and wiped down with a tissue. I’ve also seen people online recommend using cheap hairspray as a dry erase spray, but I have not tried this myself- though I imagine it would smell better than the traditional spray!
More ideas for dry-erase eraser alternatives
- Want to learn more about how to make a dry-erase board easier to see? Read How To Make Things On The Board Easier To See
- Hand towels and washcloths can be used for erasing larger areas, such as on a classroom board
- To make the board easier to clean and avoid having text left on for long periods of time, I recommend taking a photo or scanning the whiteboard to document information- I use Microsoft Office Lens and talk about it more in Why Every Student Needs Microsoft Office Lens
- In addition to physical whiteboards, I also use a lot of digital whiteboards- my favorite is How I Use Microsoft Whiteboard With Low Vision