There’s nothing quite like the warm, cosy feeling of a crackling fire in the fireplace. But there is one downside to having a fire roaring in your home: soot.
That’s right, that pesky black substance that seems to adhere to every nook and cranny can be quite a pain to clean up.
If you’ve noticed a black stain close to your fireplace or where a candle has been burning and you wondering how to clean soot off walls, you’re in the right place!
When it comes to cleaning soot residue off walls, it’s important to use the right techniques and products. If you don’t, you could end up doing more damage than good.
But don’t worry, we’re here to help. With a little elbow grease and these tips, you’ll have those walls looking good as new in no time.
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- What is soot?
- What do you need to clean soot from walls?
- How to clean soot off walls
- How often should you clean soot off walls?
- More tips for cleaning and keeping soot off walls
- Conclusion: How to clean soot off walls
What is soot?
Soot is a fine black residue, a powdery substance that is produced when combustion or burning takes place. You might notice an accumulation of soot on the walls of a fireplace after a cozy fire, or on the side of a building that was recently hit by a fire.
Though it might look harmless, and even aesthetically pleasing at times, smoke particles can actually be a health risk if left alone. Inhaling soot can irritate your lungs and cause respiratory problems.
And as we all know, it can be difficult to get rid of.
What do you need to clean soot from walls?
Before you start scrubbing away at those stains, it’s important to gather the right materials. You’ll need:
- A bucket
- Warm water
- Trisodium Phosphate / washing up liquid
- Dry cleaning sponges / chemical sponges
- Drop cloth
- Microfiber cloth
- Rubber gloves
- Safety glasses
- Protective clothing
- Vacuum cleaner
- Ladder or step stool (optional)
Note: If you don’t have any of the above items, call around and see if anyone you know has some you can borrow before you make the purchase.
How to clean soot off walls
1. Protect yourself
Before you get started, you need to take some safety precautions. Put on rubber gloves to avoid getting soot on your skin. It’s also a good idea to wear old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
2. Prepare the area
The next step is to prepare the area for cleaning. This means removing any furniture or décor away from the soot-stained walls.
You’ll also want to lay down a drop cloth or sheet to catch any dry soot that falls while you’re cleaning. This will make cleanup a breeze.
Ventilation is key when working with strong cleaning products. So open windows and turn on any ceiling fan to help circulate the air.
3. Vacuum the area
Once the area is clear and well-ventilated, you can start to vacuum the soot-stained wall. This will help to remove any loose soot particles.
Use a soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to avoid damaging the paint or wallpaper. Using downward strokes, excess soot should come off easily.
You’ll need to be very careful when vacuuming soot as it can smudge against the wall and make stains worse.
4. Wipe the soot
Using a soot sponge (also named a chemical sponge or a dry cleaning sponge), start to wipe down the soot-stained walls. These sponges are made from vulcanized rubber and are specifically designed to absorb and remove soot stains without damaging the surface underneath.
Do not wet the sponge. Once the soot sponge has absorbed soot on one side, turn it around to use a clean side. Keep doing this until the sponge is no longer picking up any soot.
5. Make the soot cleaner
In a bucket, mix together:
– 1 quart of hot water
– 1/2 cup of Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) OR 1/4 cup of dish soap
You can find TSP online at any hardware store. If you can’t find it, or if you’d rather not use it, then regular old washing up liquid will do the trick in making a mild cleaning solution.
TSP is a strong cleaning agent and can be harmful if inhaled or ingested. So make sure to read the label carefully and use gloves when handling it.
6. Clean and rinse the wall
Using the soapy water, start to wipe down the wall with a clean sponge. Work in small sections and rinse the sponge often to avoid redepositing soot back onto the wall. If you don’t have a sponge, a damp cloth will also do.
This stain remover solution will ensure all stubborn stains are combatted.
Use a ladder or step stool if you can’t reach the top of the wall. And be careful not to scrub too hard as you might end up with water damage.
6. Dry the area
Once you’ve cleaned the entire wall, use a microfiber cloth to dry it off. These are specifically soft cloths to to avoid scratching the wall as you dry.
Make sure to go over the entire surface to avoid any water spots.
7. Touch up paint (optional)
If you’re cleaning soot off painted walls, you might want to touch up the paint once you’re finished. Be mindful that it might take a day or two for the wall to be completely dry before you can paint over it.
8. Clear the protective gear away
When the soot removal process is all done, you can start to clear the area.
Any sponges, drop cloths and protective clothing should be washed straight away to get rid of any residual soot or chemicals.
How often should you clean soot off walls?
Ideally, you should clean soot off walls as soon as it appears. Not doing this could result in a more difficult cleaning process after time. But depending on the severity of the stain, you might need to repeat the process a few times.
More tips for cleaning and keeping soot off walls
- Ensure you use clean cloths and sponges throughout the entire process
- Make sure to have your chimney cleaned and inspected regularly to avoid any future soot buildup
- Keep candles away from walls to avoid any soot stains
- Take extra caution when using any type of open flame inside your home
- If you have a wood-burning stove, use an eco-fan to help circulate the air and prevent soot buildup
Conclusion: How to clean soot off walls
Now that you know how to clean soot off walls, there’s no need to call the restoration companies (and spend a fortune!) the next time your home suffers from smoke damage.
With the right materials and a little bit of effort, you can avoid any health hazards and unsightly soot stains on walls and have your home looking as good as new in no time at all.
Got any other helpful tips for removing soot stains from walls? Be sure to share them down below in the comments section!