How to Remove Soot from Fabric
Not only is fire destructive by reducing things to a pile of ash, but the soot left behind is also damaging. Soot is acidic and known to cause corrosion and discoloration.
Soot stains because it is oily. If you have an heirloom quilt, a designer suit, or a favorite dress that is peppered with soot, is it worth trying to save? Before you toss it out, try these tips.
Steps for Removing Soot from Clothing
To keep the stain from getting worse, follow these steps for how to remove soot from fabric.
- Remove loose soot - Shake off the excess soot before it has a chance to add more to the stains. Be careful not to shake the soot onto other materials that might stain. Take it outdoors or shake it into a trash bag (or another disposable plastic item).
- Flush out the soot - Using cold water, rinse both sides of the fabric to force the soot out. High-pressure water can be more effective with this.
- Pretreat - Mix a solution of water and stain remover like sodium percarbonate (Oxiclean). Submerge the fabric and leave it to soak.
- Wash - Without rinsing out the pretreatment, put the item into the washing machine by itself. Launder the item on the highest temperature setting. You may use laundry detergent and bleach for white items (or color-safe bleach as needed). Borax and washing soda are also effective at fighting stubborn stains in the washing machine cycle.
- Observe - After the wash cycle is complete, remove the item and examine it. If the stain is still there, do not place it in the dryer as this will set the stain. Instead, use these other treatments:
- Alcohol - dab the stain with rubbing alcohol using the sponge. Avoid rubbing the stain as this pushes the soot further in. You’ll want to extract the stain with a dabbing motion.
- Salt - Pour salt over the stain and let it sit for several hours. The salt soaks up some of the soot.
- Formula 409 - Douse the material with Formula 409 to dissolve the soot.
- Wash again - After applying one of these methods, launder the item in the washing machine again.
- Check again - Once no signs of soot or stains appear on the fabric, you may dry it in the clothes dryer.
Contact SERVPRO for Fabric and Soft Goods Restoration
If nothing else works, there is still hope! Our Esporta Wash System recovers fabrics and other soft goods (like stuffed animals) as part of our water restoration or fire damage restoration Fort Worth process. Our state of the art industrial washing machine restores materials back to food-grade cleanliness. Call SERVPRO of Fort Worth any time at (817) 589-1499.