How to Clean the Wall & Ceiling From Incense Smoke

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Things You'll Need

  • Duster or dust mop

  • Vacuum cleaner or broom

  • Drop cloth or sheet

  • Rubber gloves

  • Face mask

  • White vinegar or ammonia

  • Hot water

  • 2 buckets

  • 2 soft, non-abrasive sponges

  • Towel

  • Step stool or ladder

  • Baking soda or activated charcoal particles (optional)

  • Bowls (optional)

Burning incense yields intense aromas, but often leaves sooty residue on your walls.

Flammable incense comes in a number of forms, including cones, sticks, powder and ropes. These items are lit and then smoulder, producing a pleasantly aromatic smoke with sooty residue that -- unfortunately -- adheres to surfaces and textiles. It may prove a time-consuming process, but you can clean the incense smoke from your walls and ceilings with ordinary household cleaning products.


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Step 1

Dust from the ceiling to the bottom of the walls with a duster or dry dust mop to remove dirt, dust and incense smoke particles. Vacuum or sweep the dust from the baseboards and the surrounding floor.

Step 2

Place a drop cloth or sheet on the floor or carpet for protection from cleaning mixes that might drip from your ceiling or walls. Open windows to provide ventilation while cleaning and to fill the room with fresh air.

Step 3

Mix 1 gallon warm water, 3 tablespoons of dish detergent and 1/3 cup of white vinegar or ammonia in a bucket. The soap aids in cleaning while the vinegar or ammonia cuts through the oils in the stain.


Step 4

Soak a soft sponge in the cleaning solution and wring it out over the bucket. Gently rub the sponge in a circular motion on a 3-foot wide section of your wall, beginning at the bottom of the wall, to prevent streaking and dripping.

Step 5

Soak a clean soft sponge in a bucket of warm water and wring the sponge out. Rub the washed section with the sponge to rinse the cleaning solution off. Dry the section with a dry cloth. Continue the process section-by-section, moving upward on each wall to remove incense smoke stains and odors.

Step 6

Stand on a step stool or ladder to clean the ceiling, repeating the same process you used on the walls across the ceiling.


When dusting or using the cleaning solution, wear rubber gloves to protect your skin and a face mask to prevent you from inhaling any chemicals or potential allergens.

Pour baking soda or activated charcoal particles in bowls. Set the bowls in different corners of the room to reduce lingering incense smoke odors. Baking soda and activated charcoal are porous materials that absorb and eliminate scents.

Avoid future smoke stains by burning incense in a room that is well-ventilated. If possible, burn your incense further away from the walls.


Test the cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area of the wall such as behind a piece of furniture. If the paint appears discolored or ruined, try diluting the solution by doubling the water content, and re-test. If the paint at the test site looks damaged again, consult a professional wall and ceiling cleaning service to clean the incense smoke off your walls.


references & resources

Taylor DiVico

Taylor DiVico is a professional songwriter, content writer, fiction novelist and poet with more than 15 years of experience. DiVico holds a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Rhode Island and an M.S. from Syracuse University.