How to remove carbon stains

Updated March 28, 2018

Carbon stains are most frequently the result of smoke damage or soot from a house fire, fireplace, wood-burning stove or even candles. These stains are black in colour, and although they appear as if they will just rub off, they can be tough to remove. Carbon leaves marks on clothes, walls and even on the bottom of cookware. The stains consist of small dirt particles and produce an oily residue as a result of stalled combustion.

Wipe the walls with a dry sponge to remove loose carbon.

Mix 1 tbsp. TSP and 1 gallon warm water in your bucket. Wet a sponge and wipe the stained areas of the wall until the carbon stains are gone. Wear gloves for protection.

Fill another bucket with 1 gallon warm water. Wet a clean sponge and wipe the walls to remove the TSP solution.

Combine dishwasher detergent with 8 pints of water in a clean bucket or sink. Mix well.

Place the carbon-stained garment in the bucket/sink and let it sit overnight.

Soak the garment in the solution again if you can still see the stain. If the stain is no longer visible, launder as usual.

Spray the bottom of the cookware with oven cleaner, and let sit for several minutes. Wipe with a clean cloth.

Pour enough hydrogen peroxide in the pan the cover the bottom. Heat the hydrogen peroxide until it is hot, but not boiling.

Allow the pan to cool for an hour. Wipe the inside of the pan with a cloth to remove carbon stains, then wash and rinse as usual.


Using TSP on painted walls may remove the paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Sponges
  • Gloves
  • 1 tbsp tri-sodium phosphate (TSP)
  • 2 gallons warm water
  • 2 buckets
  • Dishwasher detergent
  • 8 pints water
  • Oven cleaner (specifically for the removal of carbon)
  • Cloth
  • Hydrogen peroxide
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About the Author

Jess Jones has been a freelance writer since 2005. She has been a featured contributing writer for "Curve Magazine" and she teaches English composition at a small college in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She received her Master of Arts in English language and literature in 2002.