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How to Remove Soot Stains From Clothes

Soot stain, if not properly handled, is one of the stubborn stains. It can easily be transferred to another part of the garment, or become permanently set into the cloth fabric. And this can permanently ruin your lovely garment. Fortunately, we will show you effective steps for eliminating soot stains and restoring the clothes to their original state, and more.

To eliminate soot, it is essential to pre-treat it before loading it in the washing machine through the normal wash cycle. Common methods include soaking the stain with a bleach solution, stain removers, and baking soda, among others. 

Procedure for Removing Soot Stains From Clothes

Several steps are required to remove soot stains from your clothes. However, the effectiveness of this procedure depends on several variables. For example, the clothing fabric, the soot type, and how set the stain is on the fabric. Below is how to do it.

Step 1: Gently, Shake Off Excess Soot

This is to avoid spreading it farther or setting it into the clothing fiber. Also, avoid grinding, or touching, since it will also make it tougher to clean. Next, rinse it under cold running water to dislodge loose soot material. The higher the pressure, the easier it is to loosen the stain. 

Step 2: Soak It

Put approximately 1 gallon of water in a bucket, and add a stain pre-treating agent such as Tide Ultra Release Liquid (Amazon paid link). Measure 2 tablespoons of this agent, and stir gently before soaking the clothing for ten minutes. 

In the absence of a precleaning agent, soaking with a detergent for eight to 12 hours also works perfectly. Remember, the longer the duration, the better the results. For bleach-friendly fabrics, you can add a few drops of bleach to hasten the process. 

Step 3: Measure the Detergent

Measure one pre-treat cup of heavy-duty detergent and pour it into the washing machine drum or the detergent dispenser. Also, pouring a few drops directly onto the soot stain loosens the stain further. 

Wash in Hot Water

Finally, you can run the washing machine on the highest hot water setting to clear the stain. Unless the stain had set in the clothing fabric, it should be clear now. You can repeat the above steps if you find the stain has not been eliminated to clear any stain remnants. One caution, though, is to avoid machine drying on stained clothes since it will make the stain stubborn.

Cleaning Soot on Carpets and Upholstery

Other than clothes, soot can soil other household fabrics leaving unsightly stains. Below are handy tips for cleaning upholstery and carpets.

Soak Soot Stains With Baking Soda

Sprinkle some baking soda+water solution, or cornstarch, on the carpet or the upholstery, ensuring it is spread sufficiently. Cover the stain and wait for 20 minutes for baking soda to absorb some of the soot. 

Do the Vacuuming

Hold the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner close to the stain to suck it off. Be careful not to keep the vacuum too close, or else it may scatter the soot dirt and spread the stain further. 

Cleaning the Soot Stain

The next step is to prepare a cleaning solution of one tablespoon of white vinegar with ½ liter of water and use it to rub off the stain. All you have to do is to dip a clean piece of clothing into the solution, squeeze out the excess and continuously rub off the stain until the stain is cleaned. 

Precautionary Measures

Follow the tips below to protect yourself from health-hazardous chemicals.

Wear Gloves and Rubber Boots

Soot is classified as a “known human carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. That means it’s a high potential cancer agent if inhaled over a prolonged period. That is why wearing gloves to avoid direct skin contact goes a long way. Other additional measures include wearing rubber boots and long sleeve shirts and pants.

Use Dust Mask

Dust masks, readily found in home improvement stores, are quite effective in preventing soot inhalation. As we found out above, soot is a health hazard, and it is much worse if inhaled. 

Frequent inhalation can cause lung cancers and asthmatic attacks, among other respiratory issues. In the absence of commercial dust musk, you can easily make one at home with easily available materials.

Ensure Proper Ventilation

Ideally, the best place to do the above procedures is outdoors. But if this is not possible, you should ensure adequate ventilation, as an additional measure to the others we highlighted above. Open all doors and windows of the rooms you are working in, and if available, turn on the fan.

Call Professionals

If the whole process of removing soot from your clothes sounds like too much hustle, you can call for professional help. Professional laundry has the requisite skills, tools, and experience to do a thorough job fast. But remember, those services do not come cheap too. So be prepared to cough up a couple of hundreds of dollars.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Vinegar Remove Candle Soot?

While candle soot is quite stubborn due to its waxy and oily nature, it is no match for vinegar. Soaking a fabric in the vinegar softens the wax stain before using detergents. Prepare a vinegar-water solution by mixing one part of warm water with three-part of white vinegar, and use a soft piece of cloth to rub off the stain. 

How Can I Remove Soot Stain From Curtains?

The process for removal of soot stains from curtains is similar to that used on other clothes. Gently shake the soot stain dust off, and soak it with stain remover, or baking soda, for some minutes before washing it normally, rinsing, and drying.

Are Soot Stains Permanent?

Soot stains are removable if you follow the right procedure. However, washing it the wrong way can set the soot stain into the fabric fiber and make it permanent. For better results, ensure the first soak with a stain-removing agent before washing with a strong detergent.

I also wrote a guide on how to remove tar from clothes that may interest you.

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