How to clean smoke stains on the ceiling?

Smoke stains on the ceiling not only spoil your spaces, they put your health at risk. Discover the importance of cleaning the ravages of fire. Don't miss the step by step!

Last update: August 29, 2021

Not only dust and grease get stuck in different parts of the house. In the kitchen, especially, as in the areas where there are fireplaces, smoke stains on the ceiling are very frequent.

Those nasty gray, blackish or yellow traces caused by fire are unsightly because they affect the paint and the structure of the ceiling. In addition, they can cause damage to health, since the tiny particles left over from the smoke (soot) could enter the body through breathing.

These are inorganic materials that release harmful compounds after coming into contact with fire. The consequences will appear immediately, after weeks, months or years.

Fortunately, with the indicated materials and a correct preparation you will recover the original appearance of the ceiling, preserving your spaces and your health in perfect condition. Keep reading this article that we will teach you how to do it.

Necessary materials

These are the products and instruments that you will need when cleaning smoke stains on the ceiling:

  • Folding ladder.
  • Fan.
  • Canvas, plastic or newspaper floor protector.
  • Vaccum cleaner.
  • A couple of microfiber towels and rags.
  • Special sponge to clean smoke stains or a non-abrasive soft bristle brush.
  • Bucket.
  • Water.
  • Knife or spatula.
  • Degreasing dish soap, all-purpose cleaner, trisodium phosphate, ammonia, or vinegar.
  • Gauze

Steps to clean smoke stains

Let's now look at the step by step to clean smoke stains on the ceiling accurately. Follow them to the letter!

1. Ventilate the space

Because they are closed spaces inside the house, it is best to ventilate the area to begin the cleaning process. Open the doors or windows and turn on a fan at full speed. In this way, the air will circulate and the substances you use will not be concentrated.

Use a fan to ventilate the room well and not expose yourself to toxins.

2. Protect the floor from falling debris

Cover the surface of the floor with a tarp, plastic, or newspaper material. of good extension, so that soot debris does not fall on the tiles. Use masking tape to fix it. This step is important if the stains are very deep, as the layer of soot will crumble during cleaning.

3. Remove the soot

Vacuum gently, especially if the ceiling has a textured finish. Later, a cloth will help you remove the rest of the soot stuck.

The most recommended is to use a special sponge Made to clean smoke stains. Find it at your favorite DIY store as a dry cleaning sponge. Then, with a little water, moisten a clean cloth and rub it on the surface.

Now, in the cases of tobacco smoke traces, you will notice yellow spots. Clean them with a cloth first, but if you see that they are very hard, use a knife or spatula to scrape them off.

4. Apply the cleaner to smoke stains on the ceiling

Depending on the extent of the stain and the depth, choose the product. If it is small and light, a degreasing dish soap will do you good. Failing that, a multipurpose cleaner.

Instead, if the damage is extensive, opt for a more powerful product. A good option is trisodium phosphate. A gallon will suffice for a small space.

Another valid path is add 250 milliliters of ammonia to a bucket of hot water. Spread a little of the product on a damp soft brush, a non-abrasive sponge or cloth. Don't forget to bring your personal protective equipment and never mix it with bleach or chlorine!



5. Scrub everything you need!

Time to scrub the area. Do firm circular motions. If you notice a lot of residue, wash the sponge, brush, or rag under the tap and continue scrubbing with the cleaner.

Little by little you will see how the stains and soot that ugly the ceiling are removed. Finally, wipe with a cloth soaked in warm water and let it dry naturally or with a towel or microfiber cloth.

6. Clean the air conditioners after cleaning the smoke stains on the ceiling

One step that most often ignore is cleaning air conditioner filters. Although you may never have imagined it, it is precisely in these places that a large amount of soot hides, which is why frequent cleaning is required.

In the same way, you can place gauze on the vents, This way you will trap the particles that circulate in the air and in the cooling or heating network.

7. Vacuum furniture, accessories, textiles, walls and floor

Curtains, blinds, carpets, rugs, furniture, chairs, pictures, appliances, light bulbs, countertops, walls, and floors are receptors for some of the dirt that falls from the ceiling. For this reason, it is essential to vacuum them.

The passage of the vacuum cleaner allows to finish the cleaning process, so that there is no soot around the home.

Tips to consider

It is not just enough to have the necessary materials and follow the steps to the letter. When you prepare to clean the smoke stains on the ceiling, consider these recommendations to have guaranteed success in the task:

  • Wear equipment to protect yourself while you work. For example, a pair of thick gloves, goggles, a dust mask, and a flannel with sleeves.
  • Climb on a folding ladder to reach the ceiling. Discard ladders for outdoor use.
  • Avoid cleaning the ceiling with abrasive cleaning products. These can give off harmful residue.
  • Before cleaning the entire surface, test a small area to verify that the chemical will not discolor the ceiling or it will have an unwanted effect.
  • If you decide to use chemicals like trisodium phosphate, heed the instructions on the label.
  • If you experience dizziness or headaches, it is best to stop, go out to a ventilated place (preferably outdoors) and continue when you feel in perfect condition.
  • Placing small containers with vinegar and water works to absorb unpleasant odors.


When to hire a professional to clean smoke stains on the ceiling?

In many cases, you may be able to do this yourself. However, keep in mind that when you are faced with very large or deep spots, hiring a team of professional workers is the right way to go.

The reason is very simple: prolonged exposure to smoke and soot can affect your respiratory system. In addition, there may be structural damage to the roof that warrants specialized service.

In short, cleaning smoke stains on the ceiling requires a good process, but caution will subtract this task from your list of trades. Always supervise the food you prepare, choose to grill in outdoor areas, do not leave the candles burning for too long and avoid smoking inside the house.