Fires in offices are more common than most people realize, especially in London’s high density business area. Most of these fires are small and easily put out by the office staff. They are usually caused by one of the many pieces of electrical and electronic equipment modern offices are so full of. While the damage is usually limited to the equipment itself, collateral damage in the form of smoke marks on the walls is very common.
While this can be cleaned up by your office cleaning agency, you can usually do it yourself without waiting for their next scheduled visit.
Begin by properly ventilating the area to get rid of soot particles that may still be suspended in the air and also the burn smell. Before beginning, wear safety goggles and rubber gloves. This is important since you will be working with paint thinner.
Lay plastic sheeting (or a thick cloth if plastic is not readily available) to prevent drips during the cleaning process from staining the floor or carpet. Start working from the top of the burn mark – use a step ladder if necessary – and going from side to side, work your way down. If more than one wall is affected, finish one completely before going on to the next.
Start by using a Chemical Dry Cleaning Sponge to wipe the soot off the wall. These sponges are easily available and a hardware store will have them or will be able to direct you to where you can buy one. Do not wet the sponge – it is designed to work when dry. Simply wipe the soot away with the sponge. Once the sponge gets saturated with soot, rinse it out, allow it to dry completely and continue using it until all the soot is off the walls.
Once the sponge has removed as much as it can, wet a regular sponge or soft cloth with paint thinner or pure alcohol and gently rub the stain until it is gone. Do not use water based home cleaners for this as they will only spread the stain and make removing it even more difficult. Be careful when rubbing as the more you rub, the more paint or polish will be removed from the wall. This is inevitable but the less the paint is affected, the less painting you will have to do. Once the stain is gone, pat the area dry with paper towels or a dry cloth.