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Soot Removal for Wood Surfaces

Soot damage cleanup on wood can be particularly challenging. Being a naturally porous material, soot and odors tend to permeate the surface and usually require aggressive cleaning and deodorization methods.

There are typically two types of wood that professional restorers are tasked with cleaning. Each type of wood requires specific products and procedures when it comes to soot removal.

Finished wood
Wood that is covered in a sealer or varnish. Most types of wood furniture (desks, dressers, tables, cabinets, railings, etc.) are finished wood pieces. Soot damage cleanup on this type of surface involves a cleaning agent that is gently worked into the grain of the wood where it suspends the soil for easy removal.

Unfinished wood
Has no sealer or varnish, and it is far more susceptible to damage from smoke odors and staining from soot. Unfinished wood generally includes structural wood and the insiders of drawers and cabinets. Unfinished wood may also be prone to water stains, so care must be taken during cleaning and restoration efforts.

Most often sealing the surface of the wood (whether it is finished or unfinished) will be necessary to lock away odors. If the property owner does not want an unfinished wood surface to be sealed (such as the walls of a log cabin or wood beams exposed for architectural aesthetics), cleaning and deodorization can be particularly challenging. Complete soot and odor removal should not be guaranteed.

For more information or assistance in selecting products for your restoration job, please contact a Restoration Specialist at 800-556-6366.