How Do You Remove Soot From Clothing?

Tuesday 6th February 2024

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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Clothes hanging on a washing line CONTENTS


A house fire can have devastating consequences ranging from affecting the structural integrity of your home to putting yourself and the other residents' health at risk. Restoring your property and removing fire damage from your belongings, like your clothes, is a time-consuming, complex process that is best left to the professionals. 

Here at ICE Cleaning, we offer our comprehensive fire damage cleaning services nationwide. Our technicians can remove soot and ash, collect waste, and eliminate lingering smoke odours in your property. Our fire restoration specialists are available nationwide, 24/7, 365 days a year. 

Keep reading to find out more about how to remove soot from your clothes. 

What is soot?

Soot is a powdery black substance produced by incomplete combustion of organic materials. It's made up of tiny carbon particles that result when fuel like wood, coal, or oil does not burn completely.

The carbon particles are surrounded by various oils and other substances released during burning, as well. These oily compounds make the soot greasy and cause it to stick to surfaces on contact.

This greasy, dark residue does not just leave behind unsightly stains that are difficult to remove; it carries acidic properties which can damage fabrics over time. 

Soot is also a dangerous substance to be exposed to. It can cause significant damage to your lungs, as well as skin problems and cancer. Fire damage can expose you to ash and smoke damage which can lead to respiratory issues and cancer, too.

Why is it so hard to remove soot from clothes?

Soot's small particle size means it can easily become deeply embedded in the fibres of clothing. Fabrics are made up of countless individual fibres woven together, creating numerous pockets small particles can hide in.

This allows some of the soot to evade washing and stain removal treatments. Soot's sticky composition also means it can cling onto these fibres, too. 

How to remove soot from clothing

It may be tempting to try and remove soot stains from clothes yourself, but only professional cleaners should tackle this stubborn substance.

The challenges of soot removal

Not only it is hard to remove, it is easy to make the stain worse. While most stain removal treatments call for rubbing or scrubbing, this risks pushing the soot particles deeper into your garment or spreading them around even more.

Some also call for using hot water but this can set the stain permanently. Many online guides suggest using vacuum suction over loose particles before treating with detergents, as well. However regular vacuums lack HEPA filters necessary for trapping fine particles like soot, which means they could spread more mess around your home.

Stain removal treatments can even damage delicate materials and potentially pose health risks as airborne particulates become disturbed during rigorous cleaning processes. 

Detergents often fall short when dealing with oil-based components in soot, too. They are not formulated to remove such stains.

Always have soot stains dealt with by professional dry cleaners

Dry cleaners have access to solvents designed specifically for oily substances and can lift away grime without damaging delicate textiles.

Professional dry cleaning also employs advanced techniques like ozone treatment recommended by industry standards, ensuring all traces of odour are eradicated alongside visible stains. You can find out more about how to get soot out of fabric in this blog

The benefits of professional fire damage cleaning

You must bring in professional fire damage cleaners to restore your property following a fire. They will have the specialist tools required to remove all traces of the fire damage without damaging the surfaces underneath. 

Cleaning up post-fire is not only about dealing with visible mess - it involves tackling invisible threats, too. Soot particles can be minuscule yet pose significant health risks when airborne or lingering on surfaces. Cleaners will have the training to identify all areas that need to be cleaned, including areas where fire damage can hide, and the cleaning agents to eliminate it thoroughly. 

Fire restoration is also a dangerous process that can put you at risk of exposure to harmful substances, like soot. Specialist cleaners will have the personal protective equipment required for a safe clean. 

They will be able to restore your property quickly, as well. Soot is acidic and will soon start eating away at textiles and corroding materials. Professional cleaners can minimise potential damage to your property and possessions. You can learn more about why fire restoration should be left to professionals in this blog

Book your fire damage cleaning today

Our accredited team of fire restoration experts can be on site within a matter of hours in an emergency, no matter where you are in the UK. 

You can get in touch with our friendly team on 0208 066 0360 or to find out more about our fire restoration services. They will be happy to schedule your free site survey and provide you with a no-obligation quote. 

Melissa Harrison

Melissa Harrison

Sales Representative

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