Removing the fingerprint powders that are brushed onto surfaces by crime scene detectives is not always easy especially on painted surfaces. There are different types of fingerprint powders and the method of removal may vary at times.
Whatever cleaning process you use it must be suitable for the surface being cleaned so always check to make sure the cleaning chemical and tools you use are suitable. To protect yourself and to be absolutely sure all is well, having a rule to always first do a small test area in an inconspicuous area is a great idea.
What cleaning chemical is best to use?
One of the most successful products on the market today for this type of cleaning is Too Easy heavy duty cleaner concentrate (Diluted at 4:1)… it’s also popular for cleaning surfaces damaged by fire and smoke. We like this product because it’s a brilliant balance between extreme power and being gentle on surfaces. It’s likelihood of damaging painted, natural stone or coated surfaces is minimal.
A great additional accessory you can use with Too Easy is a professional quality microfibre sponge. These are sometimes called magic erasers. If you haven’t tried these before… do it! They are absolutely brilliant and act almost like an eraser does for removing pencil marks. Quality microfibre cloths are popular for this work too.
The fingerprint powder is gone but now there’s a shadow.
Occasionally there will be some marking or shadowing left behind after cleaning the fingerprint powder. We need to use a slightly different type of cleaning chemical which does require a little more caution and care on painted and other sensitive surfaces. You can still use it but test first for any potential damage. For this task I like a product called Dry Safe. It’s a dry solvent often used in professional carpet stain removal. Another alternative you can try is Eucalyptus Oil Pure or Bigg Orange but you must completely rinse both of these immediately because the likelihood of damaging painted surfaces is a lot higher. Be careful.
Don’t expect that cleaning a surface will fix damage that was already present.
Some surfaces may have been neglected or damaged before the police started searching for fingerprints so always pre-inspect the surfaces and ensure everyone’s expectations are realistic. There are times when some surfaces will need to be repainted or replaced. Doing a quick demo will give you and all those involved an idea of what can be achieved. That way everyone is happy at the end of the day. You don’t want to be responsible for a problem that is not yours to solve.
After the fingerprint powder is cleaned off, the unaffected areas that you didn’t clean can seem very dirty.
Your job may be to just clean the fingerprint powder. This can be a challenge because if you clean a surface too well you’ll leave a contrast. For example a painted wall might be quite dirty. If you just clean the fingerprint powder areas you’ll leave clean areas on the dirty wall which can make the whole wall look quite ugly. You can clean the entire wall but that’s more work and you might not be getting paid to do that. You can dilute the chemical further and try not to clean the surface too well and do just enough to get the fingerprint powder off. But, a contrast between the cleaned and uncleaned areas is hard to avoid. You’ll need to communicate this to your client.
The last resort before repainting or replacement a surface.
Nearly every time the fingerprint powder will be removed easily with the right cleaning chemicals, tools and process. But if all else fails and you want to try something before a surface needs to be repainted or replaced try Perox Power (diluted at 10:1). This can be used to remove any fine shadowing left behind by your primary cleaning process. Just spray on (try to avoid drips) and leave it, don’t scrub or wipe off. This can be quite effective in some instances. Test first of course where no one can see to be sure it suits.
Before cleaning fingerprint powders, if you test first and just go slow and steady you should avoid any surface damage and achieve a fantastic result.
If you need us, XO2 is ready to help. Got questions? Please give the XO2 customer care team a call today on 1300 123 499.