A hydrocarbon gas, propane is a common fuel in many heaters. These heaters help reduce utility bills during the cold winter months. Unfortunately, propane can produce smoke that covers any surface it comes in contact with in a black, oily residue called soot. Everyday cleaning does little to remove the soot and its accompanying stain. Fortunately, with a few heavy-duty cleaners, you can remove the propane soot and restore the look of your home.
Ceilings and Walls
Mix 1 cup of bleach and 6 tbsp. of trisodium phosphate with 1 gallon of cool water. Dampen a clean sponge in the mixture.
Wash the soot off ceilings and walls with the damp sponge. Rinse the sponge with cool water when soiled and dampen once again in the mixture.
Continue scrubbing the surface until you have removed all traces of the propane soot. Rinse the ceilings and walls clean with a cloth dampened in cool water. Let the surface dry.
Upholstery and Carpet
Sprinkle cornstarch or baking soda over the soot. This material acts as an absorbent to help draw the soot out of the fibers. Leave the powder on the surface for one hour. Remove the powder with a vacuum cleaner.
Add several drops of dry-cleaning solvent to a white cloth, and blot the soot stain until you can no longer absorb any liquid.
Continue applying the solvent to the cloth and blotting the stain until it is no longer visible. Pat the fibers with a towel until dry.
Hold the clothing over a trash can and use a cloth to brush the soot off the surface. Lay the clothing out flat and rub a prewash stain treatment on the soot stain. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
Wash the clothing in the washing machine as you normally would. Immediately remove the clothing from the washing machine and examine the stain. Continue with the remaining step if the soot discoloration remains.
Spread the clothing out on a flat surface with the soot stain facing up. Sponge the stain with rubbing alcohol for several seconds until saturated. Wash the clothing in the same manner as before, and tumble dry on low heat.