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How to Remove Soot Damage from Hard Surfaces

The following instructions are for the removal of soot from surfaces that are not harmed by water; this includes countertops, flooring, and walls. It is important to identify how old the fire damage is prior to cleaning. If the damage is only a few days old, it can be cleaned and saved. However, if the fire damage is five or more days old, many items can be severely damaged beyond saving.


Formica, plastics, ceiling tiles, etc. can be difficult to restore.


The item(s) that burned also relate to how well materials can be cleaned.

  • Natural fires are the easiest to clean. Natural substance residues result from burned wood or paper. 
  • Plastic is moderately difficult. Plastic or synthetic soot residues result from when the burned material is oil based. E.g., carpet, upholstery, window treatments, electronics.
  • Protein fires can be the most difficult. Protein residues are usually the result of burnt meat, fish, beans, etc...


Basic Directions:

  1. Use a vacuum, dry cleaning sponges, and/or Absorene Wall Cleaner to dry clean any surfaces that have soot on them. This may remove most of the soot on the surfaces. If there is any soot remaining, move to step 2.

  2. Wet clean surfaces using either PRS Fire and Content Cleaner (diluted per label instructions), or Unsmoke Degrease-All diluted at 14-43 oz per gallon of water. Spray onto the surface or sponge onto the affected areas.

  3. Rinse with water and wipe with a towel or sponge.


You can call our Fire and Smoke Restoration specialists for technical support, product selection assistance and information on training opportunities.

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  1. Absorene Wall Cleaner
    Absorene Wall Cleaner

    Absorene works like an eraser, banishing dust, dirt, and smoke film from multiple surfaces: walls, ceiling tile, paintings, window shades, blinds, lamp shades, tapestries, felt hats, painted surfaces, and more!

    • Cleans walls, ceiling tile, smoke film and more
    • Safe on painted walls, wallpaper, and more
    • Non-toxic
    • Works like an eraser
    • Ready to use

    Starting at $6.30

  2. Dry Cleaning Soot Sponges
    Dry Cleaning Soot Sponges

    These heavy-duty vulcanized natural rubber sponges excel at all types of cleaning applications, especially surfaces damaged by soot, smoke or fires. Wait until you see how much soot and dirt this sponge can power through on your restoration site!

    • Bulk packed (not individually wrapped)
    • Non-greasy; will not leave a residue
    • Small: 6 x 0.75 x 3 inches
    • Medium: 6 x 1.5 x 3 inches
    • Large: 8 x 1.75 x 2.75 inches

    Starting at $55.49

  3. Unsmoke Degrease‑All Degreaser
    Unsmoke Degrease‑All Degreaser

    Degrease-All offers a special blend of tough cleaning agents formulated to remove silt and soot from walls, fixtures, sealed wood, painted surfaces, yet gentle enough to be used as a traffic lane cleaner. It also removes heavy smoke odors.

    • Multi-surface degreaser
    • Highly effective for removing soot
    • pH: 12.3 (RTU 11.0)
    • Safe for stain-resistant carpet
    • Various dilution options

    Starting at $37.86

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