How to Get Rid of Soot Marks on Walls

Updated February 21, 2017

As winter fireplaces crackle and candles illuminate dark spaces, they may leave a footprint behind in the form of soot marks on walls. Soot originates from smoke and clings to most surfaces, even your clothes. While you can toss your clothes into the washer to remove soot, the chore is not so simple when removing the soot stains from your walls. Cleaning soot from room interiors involves working in small sections with a mild dish soap.

Lay old rags below the soot stain to catch any drips or loose soot during the cleaning process.Vacuum the loose soot from the wall using a small sweeper attachment. Hold the nozzle 2 inches from the wall and run it slowly back and forth over the top of the soot marks. Empty the vacuum bag or canister into an outside dustbin. You may also use a hand-held vacuum to sweep the loose soot.

Wipe the marks with a soot or chemical sponge. Do not wet the sponge. Glide the sponge over the top of the stains until the soot no longer lifts to the sponge.

Fill two buckets with a quart of warm water. Add 1 tbsp of mild dish soap to the water in one bucket. Wet a small sponge with the soapy water. Wring out the liquid so the sponge is damp, but not dripping.

Wipe the sponge over the remaining soot marks. Start at the bottom of the stain and wipe up and down over a small area of the soot. Work in small sections to keep from transferring the dirt to another area of the wall. Rinse the sponge in the cleaning solution after every two to three wipes over the wall. Continue cleaning the area until the soot mark has lifted.

Stop any drips that may slide down the wall with an old rag. Water streaks are sometimes harder to remove than the original stain.

Rinse the newly cleaned area with a different sponge and the clean water from the second bucket. Move to the next section of soot marks and continue cleaning. Dry the walls with a towel when finished.


Find soot or chemical sponges at home improvement stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Rags
  • Vacuum with attachment
  • 2 buckets
  • Dish soap
  • 2 sponges
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About the Author

Constance Barker, located in the hills of southern Ohio, is the owner and writer of several financial, credit report and travel websites. She started writing in 1999 for private clients and began creating website content in 2004. She gained expertise in home improvement after she and her husband built their home themselves.