How to Clean Smoke Damage from Wood

How do you clean smoke damage from wood? What you should do is gently clean the wood with a soft cloth and then vacuum the wood to pick up the soot. When it comes to soot removal, every wood requires a specific procedure. However, it’s possible that the damage goes beyond the surface. The more you let the smoke linger, the more it soaks into the wood; therefore, cleaning the wood should be done sooner rather than later. Prior to starting the cleanup process, you should determine whether the wood is finished or unfinished. This article will present a quick guide on how to clean smoke damage from wood.

How to Clean Smoke Damage from WoodHow to Clean Smoke Damage from Wood

Cleaning Soot from Finished Wood

A finished wood is covered by a protective coating to give it a polished look. It should be cleaned with duster or a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum. The two will pick dry soot before you start cleaning deeper into the wood. There are special vacuums made to do the trick. After that, clean the area with a dry chemical sponge until the surface turns black.

For best results, make sure the sponge is dry. Pay attention to the pressure you apply on the sponge as it can permanently embed on the smoke residue. If the wood is affected by smoke, run your hand over the wood surface. To clean the soot, rub the surface with cotton rags or oil soap. But if more agitation is needed, you can use steel wool and work in the direction of the grain. This will preserve the finish of the wood.

If the oily soot still remains on the wood, dilute a degreaser in a bowl and spread on the surface of the wood. After that, rinse with a wet cloth and dry with a soft towel. You may also want to rub a bit of polish on the wood, this will help you get rid of the unattractive marks.

Cleaning Soot from Unfinished Wood

Unfinished wood comes with a different level of roughness. The soot residue will embed into the wood a few minutes after the fire. You should use an odor-removing spray specifically created to deodorize the pervasive smell of smoke on the wood surface. Secondly, remove the soot with a vacuum hose.

For deep cleaning, run a HEPA vacuum over the sooty surfaces. This will help you pick as much soot as possible. Thirdly, use a chemical sponge across the wood surface. When one side of the sponge turns black, turn to the other one.

To expose the new layer of the wood, cut the blackened parts. Additionally, dilute some degreaser with water and then spray evenly on the surface of the wood. Since unfinished wood is easily stained by smoke than the finished one, you should sand away any remaining stains. You can also use fine grit sandpaper to work on the heavy stains. In no time, your unfinished piece will be as good as new. Make sure you seal the unfinished piece.

Final Thoughts

How do you clean smoke damage from wood? Use a soft cloth and a HEPA vacuum to clean finished wood or an odor-removing spray to clean unfinished wood. While you can’t salvage everything in your house after a fire, you can clean your smoke-damaged wood. By following the above guide, you’ll return wood to a like-new condition. It’s important that you clean up the surface immediately to reverse the effects of the damage.

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