A water-based, aerosol marking composition that adheres to a variety of surfaces but is removable by mechanical rubbing with a dry cloth or by washing with water is provided. The composition comprises 10 to 50% by weight water; 5 to 50% by weight of a solvent selected from the group consisting of a C6 to C15 aliphatic solvent, an aromatic solvent comprising 10 or fewer carbon atoms, an ether, and an alcohol, or combinations thereof; 0.1 to 4% of an emulsifier having a hydrophile to lipophile balance of from 1.8 to 16.7; a marking agent; and 10 to 45% propellant. In a preferred embodiment the composition lacks or contains only trace amounts of an alkyd-based drying oil, polyvinylpyrrrolidone, or polyvinyl alcohol, or another agent that serves as an adhesive for the pigment particles. In certain embodiments, the composition comprises an inorganic filler and from 0.05% to 3% surfactant. Optionally, the composition comprises an anti-foaming agent, corrosion inhibitor, an anti-freeze agent, or combinations thereof. Also provided is a liquid composition that can be used as a spray marking composition or combined with a propellant to prepare a water-based, aerosol marking composition.
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