Is Your Carpet Plagued With Soot Stains After A Fire? Tips To Clean It Up Yourself

Posted on: 22 October 2014

If your home catches fire and you're left with soot stains along the carpet, you'll want to be careful about how you clean it up. Soot can easily saturate into carpet fibers, making it nearly impossible to remove. Luckily, there are a few tips that can help you to draw the residue off the carpet. Here are some tips to help you clean your carpet and eliminate the unsightly black residue.

Gather the Tools You'll Need

Before you get started, make sure that you have everything that you'll need.

Corn Starch or Baking Soda – this serves as an absorbent powder to draw the loose soot away from the carpet.

Dry Cleaning Solvent – a quality dry cleaning solvent is a good way to eliminate the stains left behind once the loose soot is removed.

Lint-Free White Cloths – these will help you spot-clean without adding lint or bleeding any color dyes into the carpet fibers.

Vacuum Cleaner with Attachments – you'll need the hose attachments and crevice tool to help you get into the hard-to-reach spots.

Removing the Loose Soot

The first step in cleaning up soot from your carpet is to extract the loose particles from the carpet. If there are any large chunks of soot or charcoal on the carpet, break those pieces loose from the fibers using a blade such as a butter knife or a scraper.

Then, you can apply baking soda or corn starch to the soot. The baking soda or corn starch will attach to the soot, making it easier for you to vacuum it up. Once you cover the area, let it sit for a couple of hours.

After the powder has rested over the soot, use the vacuum cleaner hose and other attachments to vacuum it away. It's best to use the attachments to do this so that you don't risk running the pad of the vacuum over it and grinding it back into the carpet fibers.

Cleaning the Residual Stains

Soot is persistent and can leave black and grey stains behind on your carpets. This is especially visible when you have light-colored carpet in your house, but that doesn't mean that dark carpets don't need this step. Clean up all of the soot residue and stains to protect your carpet.

Dampen one of the cloths with some dry cleaning solvent. Then, blot the stains with the dampened cloth so that you moisten the carpet fibers with the dry cleaning solvent. This process ensures that you get the solvent into the carpet fibers without saturating them.

Blot the space with a clean, dry cloth to start drawing out the stain and the dry cleaning solvent. Repeat the process as needed until the stains are gone. Once finished, you'll want to let the area dry completely before you replace furniture or restore any foot travel in that space.

Other Considerations

Make sure that you keep the area well-ventilated while you work with the dry cleaning solvents. Open the windows and consider setting up an exhaust fan to keep the fumes from the solvent from building up. Don't use a dry cleaning solvent in any areas near open flames or heat sources, either.

As an alternative to dry cleaning solvent, you can create a fume-free solution with a small amount of bleach-free dish detergent in warm water. It may require more repeated applications to remove the soot, but it will prove effective.

If you've had a small fire in your house, the last thing you want to deal with is the residue left behind for the long-term. And, if it's a small fire, calling in a rehabilitation team may seem like an extreme measure. With the tips presented here, you can clean up the residual soot from your carpets. If the stains persist, consider calling a professional carpet cleaner company such as McMaid who can use a steam cleaner and professional-grade solvents to get the job done.