Skip to Content

How to Clean Fireplace Smoke off Walls

How to Clean Fireplace Smoke off Walls

Soot from a fireplace or burning candles leaves black smoke stains on your plaster walls, the soot sticks on the wall since it’s oily and can smear when you clean it with water or other cleaning agents. For better results, start with the dry cleaning method first, followed by washing with a degreaser and white vinegar. The vinegar cleans up all soot and clears the odor.

What You Require

  • Rubber gloves
  • Vacuum with nozzle attachment
  • Dry-chemical sponge
  • Bucket
  • White vinegar
  • Sponge
  • Hot Water
  • Thick apron
  • Mask
  • Safety glasses

Get Rid of Smoke Stains on Walls

You can use several methods to clean fireplace smoke off walls. Before you start the cleaning, ensure you wear all the protective gears for your safety. Remember to protect your floor from any draining fluids you will use to clean.

Start by using a vacuum with an upholstery brush to remove loose soot particles. Vacuum the stained wall, lightly brushing to remove the soot. Make sure to hold the nozzle about an inch from the surface to avoid smearing the soot as you vacuum.

  1. Dry Cleaning

Use a dry-cleaning sponge that absorbs the residue to clean fire smoke off walls. Soot easily smears if you use the regular sponge; therefore, you risk pushing the stains farther into the wall. The sponge contains vulcanized rubber that makes it effective.  Clean the soot by pressing the sponge firmly against the wall and wipe downward in a vertical line.

Start from the top of the wall as you wipe until you reach the bottom. Repeat the procedure until you finish wiping the whole surface. Switch to a new section of the sponge if the sponge gets saturated with soot. Remember not to rinse the sponge with water to clean it as it will become unusable.

Cut off the layers of the sponge clogged with soot. Place the sponge on a flat surface. Use a blade to slice off the sponge’s dirty outer layer to make it useful. Use the clean sections now to continue removing the smoke stain on painted walls.

  1. Make a Degreasing Solution

Once the wall is free from the soot, use a degreaser to clean the remaining stain, like the denatured alcohol, sugar soap, ammonia-based cleaners, trisodium phosphate, degreasing dish detergent, or a citrus cleaner. For our case, let’s have a homemade soot remover; sugar soap; mix three tablespoons of sugar soap with 1/2 gallon (1.9L) of water. Other homemade reagents include;

  • Dish detergent- mix two tablespoons of liquid detergent with ½ gallon of water.
  • Use diluted white vinegar if it fails to work; use undiluted white vinegar.

Immerse a sponge in the solution and wring out the excess. Wipe the wall with a damp sponge to remove soot residue. When the sponge gets dirty, clean it in the solution and wring it out.  After cleaning all the soot, rinse the wall with clean water. Rinse your sponge or use a fresh one, moisten it and wipe away the excess cleaner from the wall. Later use a towel or a rag to dry the surface.

  1. Using Trisodium Phosphate

Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) is the best cleaner for fireplace soot as it’s great at getting rid of stubborn Bbq smoke stains. TSP works better than other cleaning solutions as long as you use it appropriately. When diluting, follow the directives on the label correctly. The typical way is one teaspoon of TSP to one gallon of water.

Apply the TSP reagent from the bottom up to prevent stripes from forming and allow the solution to work for some minutes before rinsing off. Apply the cleaner with a sponge, then use a bucket of clean water to rinse. You can change the water if necessary. The solution is highly irritating to the skin and eyes, so be very cautious while cleaning.

  1. Odor Control

The smoky deposits have an unpleasant odor that may linger even after cleaning all the stains. You can make a solution to help control the odor. Spray a 1-to-1 solution of vinegar and water on the wall and wipe down with a rag. Again, it’s best to increase ventilation in the room by opening windows or creating a cross-draft with a fan.

Check this too: Can you burn wood in a gas fireplace?

You can also dust baking soda on the surfaces with odor and let it sit for 24 hours. Later remove the baking soda with a vacuum, and the smell will be over.


Cleaning smoke from fireplace walls can be a hectic task since soot is oily. The best way to clean is using the dry-cleaning method then a degreaser solution. If you can’t purchase a commercial soot remover, use other homemade products like sugar soap solution, baking powder, or vinegar, they are still useful. Remember always to wear protective gear like masks, sunglasses, gloves, an apron to protect yourself from any contamination with the reagents.