How to Clean Ash Stains Out of Carpet

Cigarette ash is pervasive and will discolor carpet and upholstery. If you notice that ash has been dropped on the floor or a piece of furniture, do not wipe it away. When working out how to get ash out of carpet, the first step is not to rub it in to the fibers.

If you can’t immediately vacuum it off the floor, cover it with a bowl or a bucket to keep it from being stepped on and crushed into the fibers. Before covering it, cup your hand over it without touching it to make sure that it’s not hot enough to burn anymore.

Vacuum First

All ash is basic, instead of acidic, and contains moisture. As it dries, it will crumble. Once you can address the ash on your carpet, vacuum away anything that still has shape using suction only, not the beater bar on your upright vacuum.

How to Get Ash Out of Carpet

Once you’ve vacuumed up what you can, you will need to try to absorb the ash that’s discoloring the fibers.

Sprinkle it with an absorbent powder, such as baking soda or baby powder. You want to draw the moisture out of any any ash clinging to the carpet fibers.

Allow this powder to sit on the stain for at least an hour. 

Again, use a suction only vacuum attachment to draw up this powder and carry away more of the ash.

Take a white towel and wet it with a bit of dry cleaning solvent. Test the dry cleaning solvent on the carpet in an obscure spot, such as in the corner of a closet.

Any time you’re dealing with ash, you want to remember that these particles are extremely small. If you rub the area of the carpet, you will force the particles in deeper. Blot only.

If your test area doesn’t suffer a color change, blot up the ash stain with the dry cleaning fluid.

Be sparing with the fluid as you will need to rinse it out of the carpet with a sponge. Only use as much as is necessary to take up the ash.

Once the ash is removed, blot the carpet with a wet sponge to take up the dry cleaning fluid.

Make sure to sponge up the dry cleaning fluid from your test area as well. Keep everyone off the carpet until it’s dry.

How to Get Ash Out of Upholstery

The dry cleaning fluid method will also work on upholstery, but be sure you test it first. If you don’t have dry-cleaning fluid, use 2 cups of cold water and 1 tbsp liquid dish soap to make a blotting solution. Again, use a clean white cloth to blot the ash away.

Blotting takes time and patience, and depending on how deep the ash goes, you may not get all of it out. However, if you rub the spot, you will force it deeply into the fibers, so stay patient and keep blotting. When you’ve got the stain out, use another clean white cloth and cool water to blot out the soap mixture.

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How to Clean Ashes from Fabric

Again, do whatever you can to avoid forcing the ash into the fabric. If you’re a smoker and drop ash on your clothing, try to shake it off onto the ground, rather than sweeping it away. Of course, do this outside so you don’t drop it on the carpet.

Use a standard prewash stain remover to treat the stain, or try this homemade laundry pretreatment. This product contains ammonia, so anything treated with it should not be bleached until it’s been washed with just water and laundry soap.

Once you’ve treated the spot, wash it in the warmest water possible. Carefully check out the garment when you pull it from the washer. If the stain is still visible, sponge it with rubbing alcohol and wash it again.

Cigarette ash is pervasive, and once it’s been ground into carpet, upholstery, or fabric it’s extremely hard to remove. Vacuum up as much ash as possible before you start blotting. Use precautions when handling dry cleaning fluid, and glove or mask up as required. Finally, make sure you rinse out any dry cleaning fluid or soap with plain water.

Jeffery Gonzalez

I am a working-from-home dad and have always been interested in finding ways to make my home life easier and more efficient. I started Household Vision as a way to share the tips, tricks, and tools that I have found helpful in my own home. I hope that my readers will find my blog helpful and informative.