A closeup image of a marshmallow being roasted over a fire.

How to remove soot and ash stains from clothing

There’s nothing like a bonfire to celebrate a special occasion. If that means having to brush off ash or remove soot from clothing later, so be it – these smudgy, grey stains are pretty easy to remove, after all. Here’s how to remove ash stains and soot smudges fast, so you can get back to the party.


How to remove ash stains from fabric

If you’re lucky, you might be able to simply shake or brush the ash out of your clothes. It’s important to use a light touch, though – pressing on the stains too hard will actually just grind the ash into the fibres. Still need advice on how to remove ash stains? No problem. Here’s what to do: 

  1. Use cold water to flush out the stain. Force the ash out of the front of the fabric with a direct stream of cold running water. If that’s not possible, then soak the garment in a bucket or basin full of water instead.
  2. Pre-treat the stain with Surf excel Liquid Detergent. No need to dilute it: just dab it on and gently massage it in.
  3. Wash in the machine or by hand. Check the garment’s care label for instructions. After the wash has finished, check whether any ash is left on the fabric. If so, go back to step one and repeat the process. If not, allow the garment to dry naturally.

Dealing with a very stubborn ash stain? When you get to step two, try using a commercial stain remover or some rubbing alcohol as a pre-treatment before washing with Surf excel. 

Top tip: Remember to check the instructions on the packaging of any new laundry product, and test any unfamiliar stain removal solutions on a hidden area of your clothing before using them on the stain.


How to remove soot stains from clothes

The difference between soot and ash is that soot can contain sticky, oily components that aren’t present in dry, powdery ash. This means that soot stains can be a little clingier than ash stains, but there’s no need to worry. Here’s how to remove soot from clothes:

  1. Shake it off. Gently shake out as much of the soot as you can.
  2. Use baking soda to draw out the grease. Cover the stain with a small heap of powder, leave it for fifteen minutes or so, then shake it off. You can also use talcum powder or salt if you don’t have any baking soda to hand.
  3. Treat the stain. There’s more than one pre-treatment to choose from when you’re removing soot stains. Most stains will respond well to a powerful laundry detergent, like Surf excel Liquid – apply it directly onto the soot and then soak the garment in cold water for a few hours, or overnight.
    If the stain is stubborn, you could try a commercial stain remover, or even oxygen bleach. Read the care label to see if these products can be used, then (if so) check the packaging for safety and dosage instructions before using them.
  4. Wash the garment on the highest heat setting recommended on the care label. Repeat the process as needed until the stain is gone, then dry naturally.

That’s how to remove soot and ash stains! So keep on relaxing by the fireside – you’ve got all the know-how you need to take care of any stains that might come your way.

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