How do I remove black soot from walls?
By Molly from Philadelphia, PA
A painter shared this with us and it has always worked for me. Get a rag and wet it. Shake some Comet (Ajax, whatever cleanser) on it, make a paste and rub in circles all over the area. Then wipe with water when it is clean. This is great on spot treatments. It will probably take a bit of elbow grease for such a large area, but it should work without hurting the paint. Good luck and let us know how you did! (05/18/2010)
I'd get some rags [lots] or paper towels ready, and make
a solution of soapy water, with Dawn or a fairly strong soap, you know how some are mostly water. If you wanted you could dissolve laundry detergent in hot water.
The first layer is going to be very messy. You want to get lots of soap and water on the wall with a scrub brush or sloshy rag, but be prepared to catch the soapy water right away with more rags. Do just a small spot at time, about 4-5 inches in diameter. Work towards center of spot, don't just move the soot around. The first batch of rags/towels probably will have the majority of the soot, just toss them and don't try to rinse them out, it will just spread soot all over the place. Second batch of rags/towels use fresh soapy water, and repeat.
Soot is black carbon with an oily quality. You just want to remove it, not spread it. So wipe and scoop towards the center of the area you are cleaning. Toss as necessary. Finally you will get down to the bare wall again, maybe wash/wipe with something that smells nice. When it dries look at it again. Does it need more washing?
One can often find a paint recycling center where you can get paint for free or almost free. You might not have to paint the whole room, just the wall behind the stove. Rollers can be found at dollar stores. It doesn't have to be a spendy deal. Craigslist might have free paint as well. (05/19/2010)
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