How to Clean Up Soot Stains

Soot damage can be quite common after a fire, and removing it isn’t always the easiest job in the world. Soot is a black, powdery or flaky substance that forms after incomplete combustion, and the particles themselves can cling to walls, ceilings and even the contents of a building itself. In this article, the team at Cheshire Fire will be providing a guide to cleaning up soot stains after a fire to make the job as quick – and as safe – as possible.

Ventilate the room

If inhaled, soot can irritate your lungs and, in some very extreme cases, even cause disease. With this in mind, it’s absolutely vital that you open the windows in whichever room you’re working to ensure that it’s properly ventilated. To supplement this, setting up fans facing towards the windows will also help in decreasing the amount of soot you inhale, as well as ensuring the soot particles end up outside – rather than on furniture.

Wear proper protective gear

While ventilating the room will certainly decrease the amount of soot you come into contact with, without protective gear, you will still inhale some soot. When cleaning soot, you should be wearing all the proper equipment to properly minimise any risk to your health. Your safety equipment should include:

  • Safety glasses
  • Rubber or latex gloves
  • Mask or respirator
  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Thick apron

Empty the room

As you clean the soot from the walls and ceiling, even with the windows open, the likelihood is that some of the particles will float around and end up on the furniture. So, to avoid this, it’s worth emptying the room fully before you start doing any cleaning. That is, make sure that all items such as furniture, carpets, artwork, plants and curtains are all removed to ensure they are not stained or damaged in the process.

Cover the floor

Once the room is empty, cover the floor with newspaper, canvas or tarpaulin to act as a net for any soot which doesn’t make it out of the room. Once you’ve finished you can carefully dispose of this without creating any mess.

Removing the soot

In order to remove the soot, dry cleaning sponges are perfect. Specifically designed to absorb residue, these sponges will take in the soot rather than smear it into the wall – a problem with regular sponges.

Using the sponge, wipe the wall in downward strokes, moving slowly from the left side of the wall to the right. Scrubbing should be avoided, since scrubbing could push the soot further into the wall rather than absorb it.


Cheshire Fire are leading suppliers of fire safety equipment and training around the Cheshire area. We can also provide fire risk assessments for your business to ensure all fire hazards are accounted for and appropriate preventative measures can be taken. For more information about the products and services we provide, or for general enquiries, contact our team of experts today.