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Whether it’s the aftermath of a small kitchen mishap, cleaning walls of the home of a smoker, or a more significant incident like a fire, cleaning smoke off walls is a crucial step in the restoration process as well as preventing further damage. Fire damage leaves behind smoke which causes stubborn stains and unpleasant odors, but with the right approach, you can restore your walls to their former glory. You can clean the smoke off walls, ensuring a fresh and revitalized living space if you use these steps, however, we do encourage using a restoration company like Tobin Restoration to ensure that the job is handled safely without you inhaling any smoke or damaging your health. 

Understanding Smoke Damage

Before diving into the cleaning process, you should first understand the nature of smoke damage. Smoke consists of tiny particles, including soot and tar, which can adhere to surfaces and create unsightly stains if they are left to sit for too long. The pungent odor from smoke can linger long after the visible signs are gone. Properly addressing both aspects is crucial for a thorough restoration.

Materials Needed

  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Dust mask
  • Mild dish soap
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Clean sponges and soft cloths
  • Bucket
  • Trisodium phosphate (TSP)
  • Clean water

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

Safety First

Before you begin, ensure your safety by wearing rubber gloves, safety goggles, and a dust mask. Adequate ventilation is crucial during the cleaning process. Inhaling smoke can be dangerous to your lungs. 

Remove Loose Soot

Start by gently removing loose soot and dirt with a dry sponge or soft cloth. Avoid using excessive force to prevent smearing the soot further into the wall.

Prepare a Cleaning Solution

Mix a solution of warm water and mild dish soap in a bucket. Dip a sponge or soft cloth into the soapy water and wring out excess liquid.

Test in an Inconspicuous Area

Before applying the solution to the entire wall, test it in a small, inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t damage the paint or finish.

Clean the Walls

Gently scrub the affected areas using a soapy sponge or cloth. Work in small sections and avoid oversaturating the walls. Rinse the sponge or cloth frequently.

Tackle Stubborn Stains with Vinegar or Baking Soda

For stubborn stains, mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water or make a paste with baking soda and water. Apply the mixture to the stains, let it sit for a few minutes, and then gently scrub.

Use Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) for Tough Cases

If smoke damage is extensive, consider using TSP as directed. This powerful cleaner can be effective for more severe cases, but it requires careful handling.

Rinse Thoroughly

Once you’ve cleaned the walls, rinse them thoroughly with clean water to remove any remaining cleaning solution. Use a clean sponge or cloth for the final rinse.

Allow Walls to Dry

Allow the walls to air dry completely before assessing the results. Adequate ventilation will help dissipate any lingering odors.


Cleaning smoke off walls is a meticulous process that requires patience and the right materials. By following these steps and using the appropriate cleaning solutions, you can restore your walls and eliminate both visible damage and lingering odors. In cases of extensive damage, please reach out to Tobin Restoration’s fire damage team to ensure a thorough and safe restoration process. Remember, a clean and fresh living space contributes to a healthier and more comfortable home environment.