Removing Soot Stains

Written by Amy Gordon (last updated April 18, 2022)

Soot stains from a fire or smoke or from a variety of other factors in your home, can appear as ugly streaks on carpets, upholstery, your walls, or even your clothes.

For soot or smoke stains on clothing, first take the clothes outside to try to shake and beat as much of the soot out as possible. Dab at the stain with a liquid detergent and a clean white cloth. Sponge the detergent into the stain until the area is saturated, and try washing it normally in the washing machine. Wash the item alone, since soot can spread to other articles of clothing in the load. Also, do not put the clothes in the dryer without checking the stain.

You could also try sponging at the stain with a stain remover product and some vinegar.

Do not wet soot stains on carpets or furniture upholstery with water. Start by vacuuming the stain, working from the outside edges of the soot stain towards the center. Next, apply a spot remover—read the bottles to find a stain remover that will remove grease and tar, as this kind of spot remover will work best on soot and smoke stains. Do not forget to test the product on an inconspicuous area first. Apply the spot remover to the center of the stain, and let it sit for five to ten minutes or according to the directions on the spot remover. Blot the stained area with a clean white cloth, being careful to move to new spots on the cloth as areas of the cloth become dirty. Once you've blotted as much as you can, sponge cool to cold water onto the stained area. Blot again, lifting as much soot as possible. Dry the area with a fan and by pressing the area with towels. If the stain is still there, try using the spot remover product again.

You could also try using rubbing alcohol on any remaining grey marks after vacuuming. Rubbing alcohol should also be tested on an inconspicuous area before using. Put the rubbing alcohol onto a clean white cloth and dab at the soot stain. Remember not to rub, and do not pour the rubbing alcohol directly onto the soot stain.

Another process you could try is to rent a carpet steamer and steam your carpets clean. If this does not make your carpet free of stains, wait until the carpet is completely dry and try hydrogen peroxide (Test this on an inconspicuous area first, too!). Put a bit of peroxide onto a clean white towel and dab it at the remaining stain until the stain comes out.

Author Bio

Amy Gordon

Amy Gordon loves keeping things simple, natural, and safe so she can spend more time having fun. Every day she learns new things about making life at home easier and she loves to share it with you! ...

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