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How to Remove Soot from Walls

Soot can leave unsightly stains on anything it comes in contact with. Whether it’s from candles, fireplaces or even a house fire, removing soot requires specific tools and techniques. The acidic nature of soot can make it difficult to remove from walls. Don’t just start scrubbing, which can make matters worse.

Fortunately, Rainbow International can help you remove those ugly black stains. With so much experience in fire damage restoration, we’ve gathered a few tips and tricks to make soot removal easier for homeowners.

What You Need to Remove Soot

  • Bucket / Hot Water

  • Dry Cleaning Sponge (Chemical Sponge)

  • Clean Rags

  • Sponge

  • Degreaser / Commercial Soot Remover

  • Vacuum with Upholstery Attachment

  • Gloves / Respirator

*Avoid water-based cleaners if you have plaster walls so you don’t spread the stains.

Soot Removal

Before you start, open windows to increase ventilation. Soot can irritate your lungs and skin, so wear proper clothing, gloves and a respirator. Depending on the size of the damaged area, care must be taken to prevent spreading the soot. Cover anything that isn’t damaged by soot. Use a drop cloth for the floor, or just line it with newspaper. You can also move furniture into a different room so it doesn’t get contaminated.

Begin by using a vacuum with an upholstery brush to remove loose soot particles. Vacuum the damaged area, lightly brushing to remove the soot. 

Next, use a special dry cleaning sponge (chemical sponge) to wipe the soot. This is a very important first step; wiping with soot cleaner or water first can spread the soot and make it impossible to remove with a chemical sponge. These sponges are made with special materials that can lift stains from walls. Use a clean side once the sponge is contaminated with soot, or grab a new sponge. You can also slice off the dirty sides of the sponge so you can continue using it. Use a wiping motion to lift the stains; a scrubbing motion with these sponges can spread the stains or work them deeper into the surface.

Next, you’ll want to wash the surface with a degreaser, dish soap or a commercial soot remover. Follow directions on the label, or dissolve six tablespoons of dish soap or degreaser in a gallon of hot water. Use the same wiping motion you used with the sponge. As the rag gets dirty, rinse and wring it out in the bucket. Once this is complete, wipe the walls with a bucket of fresh water. Afterward, dry the wall with the clean rag, and allow the surface to dry. Place a fan in the room to speed this up.

Call the Home Restoration Professionals

Soot removal is a big, dirty job. If you’re dealing with a small damaged area, removing it yourself can be manageable. But if you’re dealing with significant damage from a house fire or the stains just won’t come out, why not call the experts? Rainbow International has years of experience in soot removal and fire damage restoration. We’ll take care of cleanup while you and your family recover. Just call 855-724-6269, or visit us online to schedule an estimate with your locally-owned Rainbow International.

When your walls get a second chance, you may decide they could benefit from a coat of paint in a fresh new color. Consider having them painted by your local Five Star Painting. Five Star is part of the Neighborly network of trusted home improvement professionals, and wall makeovers are one of their many talents.