How to Remove Soot and Smoke Stains on Walls and Fireplaces

Cleaning Tips and Tools

Overtime, especially if homeowners fail to open the fluke adequately, smoke and soot can accumulate on and around a fireplace, and even on surrounding walls. Also, small fires can cause similar stains and smudges on walls. Many people become frustrated with these stains because they often try to remove them with water-based cleaners. But these cleaners do not work and only spread smudges and stains. The other problem with soot removal is that is seems to wipe clean easily, but even so it will leave behind an invisible residue that is just as damaging to walls and other surfaces (brick, tile, wood, etc.).

To effectively remove ash, soot, grime, char, and other smoke particle stains, a different approach in necessary. Continue reading for a simple guide to accomplishing both of these task, as well as, a few more tips regarding smoke damages and large-scale cleaning needs.

Soot and Smoke Stain Removal

Before you begin, it is important to acquire all the necessary tools, supplies, and products for the task at hand. The main cleaning agent used for both walls and fireplaces is a degreaser or all-purpose cleaner like Quick-N-Bright. But others have used paint thinners and rubbing alcohol in its place and it has been effective just the same. The most effective way to remove soot and smoke stains is by using a chemical dry cleaning sponge, but the choice is yours.

Here is What You’ll Need to Get Started:

Rubber Gloves

Chemical Dry Cleaning Sponge (i.e. Armaly ProPlus Magic Erasing Sponge)

Degreaser or All-Purpose Cleaner (i.e. Quick-N-Bright)

Drop Cloth or Tarp

Dry Towel

Step Stool

Electric Fan

Soft Sponge or Cloth

Fresh Water

Stiff Brush

Plastic Spray Bottle

Safety Goggles (optional)

What To Do:

Prepare the air for adequate ventilation. Open windows and set floor fans strategically to promote good air flow in the work space.

Place drop cloths or tarps beneath the area you’ll be cleaning to protect flooring.

Don your rubber gloves and, if you choose to wear them, plastic safety goggles for eye protection.

Get your step stool or ladder set up in order to reach high-up areas. Be sure it is fully locked in place so that it won’t collapse upon mounting.

Use a clean dry cloth to wipe any loose debris or dirt from the affected areas. You may also use a vacuum attachment for this step.

If using a chemical dry cleaning sponge, proceed by wiping the soot and smoke stains away. No moisture is needed for this step so be sure the sponge is completely dry before applying it to your walls or fireplace. Once the Chemical Dry Cleaning Sponge is saturated with soot and char, rinse it thoroughly with clean water and allow it to dry completely before reusing it.

After removing as much soot and stain as possible, gently wipe all the residue away with a clean sponge and paint thinner (or rubbing alcohol).

If using a product like Quick-n-Bright, proceed to apply the paste vigorously in circular motions so that it is in all the crevices and cracks of the fireplace brick, tile, or other surface material. If using another all-purpose cleaner, apply generously in the same manner.

Allow the all-purpose cleaner or paste to sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Whichever cleaner you used, finish up by filling your plastic spray bottle with clean water and applying generously all over the surface areas.

Wipe clean with a dry towel and let the area air dry overnight.

Repeat all steps if necessary.

For large-scale smoke damage, contact a licensed drywall repair company for professional drywall replacement services. They retain the proper tools, training, and experience to effectively and efficiently replace your damaged drywall and restore your property back to its original value.