Black soot refers to the black deposition that occurs due to improper or incomplete burning of carbon components. In earlier times, soot was used as pigment for eyeliners and black eyeshadows.

It is usually found near industrial areas. However, if you have a chimney or you’re addicted to lighting scented candles; your house might have a considerable amount of soot floating around.

Soot can be dangerous because it’s made up of extremely tiny particles that can float around in the air for days and months. There’s a high chance of you inhaling them, which can cause respiratory issues in the long run.

This article will be your go-to guide for soot deposition identification, understanding its harmful effects, and preventing soot deposition.

What Are Soot’s Harmful Effects?

As mentioned above, soot is improperly combusted carbon that can float in the air for months. These are fine particles that you won’t see with your naked eyes. However, their deposition is quite visible as it forms a black layer on the walls of any given surface.

Soot is quite sticky and hence, is difficult to clean. It’s quite easy to understand that if it sticks stubbornly on external surfaces, inhaling it will make it stick to the internal layers of our lungs.

Our lungs are quite sensitive when it comes to administering foreign content in their region. Inhaling soot can cause many respiratory issues like wheezing and coughing. If the irritation caused is severe, you may develop ailments like bronchitis, asthma, coronary obstructive pulmonary disease, and even cancer.

Soot’s harmful effects are not only limited to our respiratory system. Prolonged exposure to the particles can cause redness in eyes, watery eyes, skin disorders, etc.

Apart from health issues, soot also harms the interior of your house. If your chimney isn’t cleared of soot deposition, the soot will penetrate indoors, forming a black layer on surfaces. It will also affect the air quality in your house with the carbon particles floating around freely.

How Do I Clean Black Soot?

Black soot can be cleaned if you identify its presence early. The leading contributors to soot deposition in homes are chimneys, candles, oil lamps, gas stoves, etc. You need to be on the lookout for prolonged uses of any of the above-mentioned culprits.

If you’re a regular user of scented candles (or any kind of candle), gas stoves, or like to sit around in the warm chimney glow, your house is prone to be full of soot. Keep observing the walls for a dull, shady appearance. Early soot deposition usually starts with vague grey streaks forming on surfaces.

If you encounter anything like that, do a soot identification test. For the test, you need the following things:

1.      Tissue/Paper Towel

2.      Bleach

What to Do?

If you think there’s soot deposition on your walls, take the tissue and put some bleach on it. Rub the surface gently with bleach.

If the black layer comes off, it is not soot. It is most likely mold or dew. If it stays on, it’s carbon deposition aka soot.

How Do I Clean It Off?

After the identification process, we move on to the cleaning process. For cleaning, you need:

1.      Sponge

2.      Baking Soda

3.      Water

4.      Dishwasher Liquid

5.      Vacuum Cleaner

6.      Dry Wiping Cloth 

Plugin the vacuum cleaner and run it around the deposited area to suck in the loose particles. Doing so will ease the process of cleaning.

Then, mix one part of baking soda, one part of dishwasher liquid in 2 parts of water. Dip the sponge in this mixture and gently rub the surface. Don’t be too harsh, or you might end up scraping off the paint on your walls.

Baking soda and dishwashing liquid make for an excellent soot cleaning mixture. After cleaning, wipe off the wet surface with a dry wiping cloth.

How Do I Prevent Black Soot Deposition?

The presence of soot isn’t that severe in residential areas, but we somehow manage to have it around. The preventive measures below can help you stay safe from soot-induced health issues and prolonged exposure to the particles.

1.      Air The Soot Out.

If skipping your warm chimney sessions isn’t possible, make sure you provide an open environment for the soot-filled air to pass. Open up the doors and windows of your house to facilitate air circulation.

This will ensure that fresh air from outside enters the premises and forces most of the carbon-rich air to move out. The airflow will reduce soot deposition around the house and limit the concentration of carbon particles in the air indoors.

2.      Clean The Chimney!

Your chimney is a leading culprit for the presence of soot in your house. It is imperative to get it cleaned every year.

If you haven’t gotten it cleaned in years, this article is your sign of hiring a professional and getting that gunk cleaned!

Soot deposition in chimneys can cause poor flow of combusted air and force it to stay inside the house. It is extremely hazardous for health and, in lethal cases, can cause fire, asphyxiation, and death.

Hence, get your chimney outlets cleaned periodically to ensure the safety of your house and health.


Soot deposition is not a major cause of concern if you keep it in check. With the above-mentioned identification process and understanding its causes, you can steer clear of its harmful effects in your daily life.

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