Time: 10 - 30 minutes
Smoke happens, whether itâ€™s from the popcorn flambÃ© you made in your microwave or your furry wrecking ball tipping a candle over and starting an indoor bonfire. But thereâ€™s no need to live with smoke residue on your walls â€” all it takes is some elbow grease and the right cleaners. Bonus: Youâ€™ll improve indoor air quality and avoid irreversible wall discoloration.
What's in it for you?
- Better air quality
- No need to repaint
- No stained walls
Clean Smoke Residue for Spiffier Walls and Improved Air Quality
Get some ventilation. Soot is hard on your lungs, and itâ€™s even worse when mixed with fumes from cleaning chemicals. Throw open a window or two and turn on a fan. Youâ€™ll help keep those lungs strong and healthy.
Clean up loose soot. Grab a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and suck up any loose soot. Donâ€™t have access to one? Pick up a dry cleaning sponge from your local hardware store. These specially designed sponges clean sans water and are aces for wiping away the loose soot. Just make sure to press lightly so you donâ€™t rub any soot in.
Tackle smaller stains on painted walls. Put some rubbing alcohol on a cloth and gently wipe the residue on your painted wall, then let it dry. Easy!
Use a simple cleaner on bigger stains. Grab some trisodium phosphate (the old favorite for cleaning painted walls) or mix something gentler by adding Â¼ cup vinegar and a cup of ammonia to a gallon of hot water (make sure to ventilate when mixing). Fill a spray bottle and spritz away. Gently scrub the spritzed area with a regular sponge (a scrubby one will scratch the paint) and rinse with clean water. Bonus: Work from the bottom up to stop streaking.
Use vinegar to clean wallpaper. The key here is to avoid degrading the water-soluble glue that helps wallpaper stick. Spray a little vinegar on whatâ€™s left of the smoke residue and quickly wipe it away with a clean cloth. If you let it sit too long, itâ€™ll damage the wallpaper.
Use soap to get rid of smoke residue on wood paneling. Oil-based soap will get that knotty, natural vibe back in no time. Dilute a Â½ cup of oil-based soap in a bucket of water, spray on your wood paneling and wipe away. Donâ€™t forget to rinse with clean water and dry the wood to prevent water damage. Itâ€™s also best to work in small sections so the soap doesnâ€™t sit too long. Spiffy!
Pro Tip: Always test a less-than-visible spot on your wall before scrubbing. Youâ€™ll know youâ€™re in the clear if the test spot doesnâ€™t show any discoloration or lingering watermarks.