How to Clean Fireplace Smoke Stains Off of Walls

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The smoke from fireplaces leaves behind soot on walls. The smoke stains cause the walls to appear greasy, dark and discolored. Painting the walls to hide the soot stains can become a tiresome task to perform every year. Instead of hiding the stains, remove them from the wall completely with homemade cleaning solutions. Clean the smoke stains off the walls carefully to prevent removing the paint or damaging the wall.

Things You'll Need

  • Ammonia
  • Liquid, colorless laundry detergent
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Nonabrasive sponge
  • Towel
  • Trisodium phosphate
  • White vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Washcloth

Ammonia and Detergent

  • Combine 1 cup of ammonia, 1/2 cup of liquid laundry detergent and 3 gallons of warm water in a 5-gallon bucket.

  • Soak a nonabrasive sponge into the solution. Squeeze the sponge so that it remains damp.

  • Clean a small section of the stained wall at a time. Rinse the sponge in clean water and continue soaking it in the solution as needed.

  • Dry each section of the wall with a towel.

Trisodium Phosphate

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of trisodium phosphate with 1 gallon of warm water. Add 2 tablespoons for heavy soot removal.

  • Dip a nonabrasive sponge in the solution. Wring out the excess solution so that the sponge remains damp.

  • Wipe the walls down with the cleaning solution. Rinse the sponge in clean water when it becomes dirty.

  • Dry the water off the wall with towels.

White Vinegar

  • Combine 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 cup of warm water in a spray bottle.

  • Spray the diluted vinegar on a small section of the wall.

  • Wipe the wall down with a washcloth to remove the soot and lingering odors.

  • Dry the wall with a towel.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always wear gloves to protect your skin from the cleaning solutions.
  • Purchase trisodium phosphate at a paint supply store.
  • Sit a fan in front of the wall to encourage it to dry quickly.
  • Change cleaning solutions and rinse water when they become dirty.
  • Avoid using more than 2 tablespoons of trisodium phosphate because it can dull or remove the paint.
  • Never leave water on the walls because mold or mildew may form.
  • Try the cleaning solution on a small section of the wall to make sure that it will not ruin the paint.

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