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What is Soot Really, & How To Get Rid of It?

Published by Allegra on November 17, 2021 in category: Uncategorized

smoke leaving behind sootIf you’ve ever been in a house fire or been around a fire, in general, you know that when things burn, they release carbon in a gaseous form. A black precipitate appears on surfaces after the smoke has wafted through the layers. This black precipitate is called soot. If you’re around fireplaces very often or if you work in places where there’s a significant usage of wood-kiln ovens, then you’re likely to be aware of soot.

You can get soot stains on any material. However, soot stains are the most difficult to get out of clothes. You may be able to get soot stains out of your clothing. However, many dry cleaners offer their services to get rid of soot stains for you. If you’re having trouble with soot stains then you can just hand over the clothing to dry cleaners.

What is Soot?

Soot is a mass of impure carbon particles resulting from the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons. It is generally residual pyrolyzed fuel particles such as coal, cenospheres, charred wood, and petroleum coke. Soot also causes various types of cancer and lung disease.

Soot is an airborne contaminant in the environment. It has many different sources all of which result from some pyrolysis. They include soot from coal-burning, internal-combustions engines, and very simply, from fireplaces and chimneys.

Soot is the primary cause of “ghosting,” the discoloration of walls and ceilings or walls and flooring where they meet. It is generally responsible for the discoloration of walls above baseboard electric heating units.

How To Remove Soot Stains?

If you’re trying to rid yourself of soot stains then you should try the following stain-removal ideas first.

General Directions

Soot particles can be very minute and small,  and you can cause more damage when you try to brush them away. Instead, use a nozzle attachment to your vacuum cleaner and lightly pick up the residue. You can sprinkle talcum powder over the area so that any wetness or acidity which exists can be absorbed, rub it lightly and then vacuum away the deposit.  We’ve also clarified what you must do for specific fabrics.


If the stains are still present, once you’ve tried your hand at talcum powder, you can use a spot treatment. If the spot remains and has nowhere to go, then you likely need to have the whole carpet professionally shampooed.

Washable Fabrics

If you have a cloth with debris on it, then you can vacuum the debris initially. Later, wash as normal at as high a temperature as the fabric allows. You should try to keep the load as small as possible, so the soot doesn’t attach itself to other items of clothing. If you’re going to use fabric conditioner, you should use it until you have made the very last load. People use fabric softeners to remove odors. However, if you don’t remove odors before the round of fabric softener, it’s likely going to stay.

If the stain remains even after you’ve gone through the rounds of washing, then you may want to soak it in water for a while, then give it a couple more washes.  You should try not to let the item dry out between the washes. This way, the soot will dry out again, and you’ll have more difficulty getting it out.

Stubborn Stains

For stains, which are more difficult to remove, you can give the garments a pre-soak. Use a suitable chemical soak such as an oxygen-based, color-safe bleaching solution and soak it for thirty minutes following the manufacturer’s instructions. You should also check the garment’s labels first, so you know that these garments won’t get ruined in the process of soot removal.


If you’re thinking about removing soot from brick or exposed walls, then here’s how you can do it. You should start by using water and white vinegar, this should help you loosen up the soot from the fire. Next, you can take an old toothbrush, dip it in baking soda, and then scrub the bricks along all of those tough spots which refuse to come clean with anything else. Bricks are particularly difficult for you to clean. However, with proper care, you may find that they look better than before. In the end, you can fill a bucket with warm water and a small amount of bleach to rinse off the entire wall with relative ease.


Removing soot from walls is a particularly dirty job. Firstly, you will have to use a scraper to scrape off all the residue there. You should do this before you think about washing or painting the walls. Then fill buckets with warm water and detergent, and try to wash the area with warm water. Rinse your sponge with clear water in between washes. After you’re done with this and feel like the soot is removed, you can let the wall dry out.

Final Thoughts

Soot is a chemical compound and can be very difficult for you to remove from surfaces. However, there are steps that you can take so that you don’t have to face the damage which comes with soot. Soot can be harmful to clothes and pretty much any surface it comes into contact with, which is why you should remove it as soon as possible.

For more information on soot stains and how to remove them, please visit us at www.911restorationminneapolismn.com/

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