How to Remove Smoke Stains


Smoke can seriously damage some fabrics and surfaces.
Smoke can seriously damage some fabrics and surfaces.

­Smoke is serious business, whether it's the result of a burned dinner or a house fire. Follow these tips to remove any trace from your household surfaces.

The first step in removing smoke stains is to identify the stained material.­­­

­Below are the most common types of materials that can become smoke-stained, with steps on how to remove smoke from each:

  • Non-washable fibers such as Acetate, Carpet (synthetic or wool), Fiberglass, Rayon, Silk, Triacetate or Wool
  • Washable fibers such as Acrylic Fabric, Cotton, Linen, Modacrylic, Nylon, Olefin, Polyester or Spandex
  • Hard surfaces such as Acrylic Plastic, Alabaster, Asphalt, Cork, Glass, Linoleum, Marble, Paint (flat or gloss), Plexiglas, Polyurethane, Vinyl Clothing or Vinyl Wallcovering
  • Masonry such as Bluestone, Brick, Masonry Tile, Sandstone, Slate, Terrazzo
  • Leather or Suede
  • Wood

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Non-washable Fibers

Follow these steps to remove smoke stains from Acetate, Carpet (synthetic or wool), Fiberglass, Rayon, Silk, Triacetate, Wool:

Note: Fabrics or carpets that are heavily stained should be laundered or professionally cleaned.

  • For light stains, flush the method of applying stain remover to loosen staining material and residue from stain removers) the area with a dry-cleaning solvent, taking care not to spread the stain.
  • Apply a dry spotter and cover with an absorbent pad dampened with the dry spotter.
  • Check the stain every 5 minutes.
  • Before changing pads, press firmly against the stain.
  • Continue the alternate soaking and pressing until no more stain is being lifted.
  • Flush again with the dry-cleaning solvent and allow to dry.
  • If any stain remains, try applying a wet spotter with a few drops of ammonia added (do not use ammonia on silk or wool).
  • Cover with an absorbent pad dampened with the wet spotter.
  • Let it stand as long as any stain is being lifted.
  • Flush well with water.
  • Repeat if necessary; allow to dry.

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Washable Fibers

Follow these steps to remove smoke stains from Acrylic Fabric, Cotton, Linen, Modacrylic, Nylon, Olefin, Polyester, Spandex:

Note: Fabrics that have a smoke residue from a fire are best laundered or professionally cleaned.

  • If the stain is small or laundering immediately is not possible, flush it with a dry-cleaning solvent such as Afta Cleaning Fluid.
  • Apply a dry spotter to the stain and cover with an absorbent pad dampened with the dry spotter.
  • Check the stain often, tamping (the method of bringing a brush down with light strokes on stained durable fabrics and materials) before changing pads.
  • Continue alternate soaking and tamping until the stain is removed.
  • Flush with one of the dry-cleaning solvents and allow to dry.
  • If the stain remains, try the same procedure with a wet spotter and a few drops of ammonia.
  • Be sure to flush the area well when the stain is lifted.
  • Allow to dry and launder as soon as possible.

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Hard Surfaces

F­ollow these steps to remove smoke stains from Acrylic Plastic, Alabaster, Asphalt, Cork, Glass, Linoleum, Marble, Paint (flat or gloss), Plexiglas, Polyurethane, Vinyl Clothing, Vinyl Wallcovering:

  • Wipe the stained area with a cloth dipped in warm sudsy water.
  • Rinse well with clear water and wipe dry with a clean cloth.

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Masonry

Follow these steps to remove smoke stains from Bluestone, Brick, Masonry Tile, Sandstone, Slate, Terrazzo:

  • If stain is small, erase as much smoke as possible with an art gum eraser.
  • Mix 1/2 cup powdered all-purpose cleaner in 1 gallon water and rub the stain with a sponge dipped in the solution.
  • Rinse well to remove all chemicals and allow to dry.

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Leather or Suede

Follow these steps to remove smoke stains from leather or suede:

  • For light stains, mix a solution of mild soap in lukewarm water.
  • Swish to create a great volume of suds.
  • Apply only the foam with a sponge to the smoke residue.
  • Wipe the area dry with a clean, dry, soft cloth.
  • On leather only, follow with Tannery Vintage Leather Cleaner & Conditioner or Fiebing's Saddle Soap to condition the leather.

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Wood

Follow these steps to remove smoke stains from wood:

  • Wipe the stained surface with a cloth dampened with a solution of mild sudsy water.
  • Rinse well with clear water and wipe it dry immediately, as water will damage most finishes.
  • Polish or wax as soon as possible.

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