How To Get Soot Out Of Your Carpet

If you have a fireplace in your home, you know the struggle we’re about to discuss. Soot is a natural byproduct of burning wood, meaning you’re bound to encounter it at some point or another. If you have a carpet or rug nearby, it’s going to be stained by soot – so you’re left asking how to get soot out of a carpet. Luckily, DreamyHome is here to help!

The best way to get soot out of carpet is with a combination of baking soda (or cornstarch), hydrogen peroxide, and a good ol’ fashioned vacuum.

Now without further ado, let’s get into it!

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Removing Soot From A Carpet

First things first, let’s go through what you’re going to need. The first step here is using just about any absorbent powder – cornstarch, cornmeal, baking soda, and white talcum powder all work here, though I recommend baking soda. This is important because it will pull up stains and solidify them into a paste-like substance that can be vacuumed more easily.

Next, you’ll obviously need the aforementioned vacuum. You’ll also want:

  • Hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol
  • A spray bottle, for the above
  • two cloths that you don’t mind sacrificing to the soot gods
  • Hands
  • And, perhaps most importantly, patience

Now, let’s get to it, shall we?

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How To Get Soot Out Of Carpet – Step 1

Start by using either your hands or a utensil to remove any large chunks of soot from your carpet. This will prevent them from getting distributed later on. Be sure to avoid crushing the large bits, as they’ll just add to the mess you’re about to make.

How To Get Soot Out Of Carpet – Step 2

Next is perhaps the most important part. You’ve chosen your absorbent powder, now it’s time to use it. Sprinkle your baking soda (or your powder of choice) over every bit of carpet that has soot in it. This will gently absorb the stain without spreading it or damaging the carpet itself.

As it works (this will take at least 45 minutes, if not an hour), you’ll see the soot being brought up to the surface in a cakey, paste-like substance. This is good! Some people recommend leaving it overnight, but if you have pets or children, that may just not be an option.

Next, you’re going to want to vacuum up everything that’s come to the top. I recommend using the hose attachment for areas that are hard to reach – you want every bit coming up. There’s no sense in doing this halfway, after all.

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How To Get Soot Out Of Carpet – Step 3

Using your sacrificial cloth, soak it in either rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide (we’ll talk about that in a second) and gently blot, not rub the problem area. You’ll notice that the cloth will gradually soak up excess soot, coming out of the carpet. You can also use a spray bottle to do this, but do it on a misting setting, rather than just spraying willy-nilly.

Rubbing Alcohol

This will help remove stains in small amounts, but be warned – rubbing alcohol can stain carpets and rugs. If you’re using a spray bottle, spray liberally to ensure everything is covered, without being soaked.

Hydrogen Peroxide

This is really good for stains of all sorts, and when diluted will be less likely to stain your carpet. Mix roughly 15 mL of hydrogen peroxide with ~45 mL of warm, not hot water. Test your solution on a corner that you don’t mind being bleached to ensure you have the right mixture. Now, just spray it on as mentioned above.

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How To Get Soot Out Of Carpet – Step 4

Now you just need to let the chemical of choice set for roughly 5 minutes. It will begin noticeably pulling the stain up out of the carpet. Now, all that’s left is to dry the carpet with your second sacrificial rag. This process may need to be repeated several times to get all of the soot out of your carpet, depending on the severity of the stain.

If you have a wet vac, you can actually just vacuum up the moisture from the chemicals up with that. Be warned, that excess moisture will cause mould – so this is important.

How To Get Soot Out Of Carpet – Step 5

If you’ve tried this approach several times and the stain is just too strong, it’s time to call in the big guns. There are plenty of professionals out there that can help you solve the stain problem in only a couple of hours, as they have all the tools and knowledge needed. Keep in mind, though, that professionals cost money. You’ll be looking at roughly ₤350 to get this stain dealt with – so it’s important to ask yourself how much you want that carpet or rug.

And if you’re tired of this reoccurring stain, consider making the switch to an electric fireplace! While they’ll up your electric bill ever-so-slightly, you’ll be soot free. And perhaps more importantly, you won’t be burning anything anymore – nature will thank you. You can click here to learn how to convert a wood fireplace to an electric, and here to learn how to care for an electric fireplace!

Final Thoughts

If your wood-burning fireplace is causing soot to stain your carpets and rugs, don’t worry too much. There are things you can do to remove soot stains from your carpet, though they will take a bit of your time. Using a combination of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, a vacuum, and some spare time, you’ll likely remove the stain – though it may take a few passes.

You could also call a professional, though they’re expensive and will often do a more streamlined version of the method above. It is nice, however, to not have to get all dirty removing soot from your carpet – so it’s up to you. I personally recommend making the switch to an electric fireplace. You’ll be soot-free, making a more environmentally friendly heating choice, and it still feels and looks like a real fire.