Problems with cleaning smoke produced by burning candles and soot from fireplaces are the subject of messages I get frequently. Until I discovered Lestoil, a heavy-duty multipurpose cleaner that apparently has been around since 1933 (but not at all familiar to me!), I didn’t have very good news for my inquiring readers. But that’s all changed now. “Get Lestoil!” has become my standard response.
Lestoil, available in home improvement centers like Home Depot, discount department stores like Walmart, and online, is a powerful cleaner with myriad uses, and can be used to remove smoke film and soot from various surfaces.
However, you should be cautious when using it on delicate or porous surfaces such as painted wood, hardwood floors and furniture, so make sure what you plan to clean will not react negatively. Always test first!
Here’s how to use Lestoil to remove smoke film and soot effectively.
STEP NO. 1: VENTILATE THE AREA
Before you begin cleaning, ensure the area is well ventilated by opening windows and doors or using fans to help dissipate any lingering smoke odor and pungent Lestoil.
STEP NO. 2: PROTECT YOURSELF
Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands, and if you’re working overhead or in a potentially splash-prone area, consider wearing protective eyewear.
STEP NO. 3: PREPARE THE LESTOIL SOLUTION
Mix a solution of Lestoil and warm water. The exact dilution ratio will depend on the severity of the smoke film and soot, but a common starting point is 1 part Lestoil to 4 parts water. Adjust as needed.
STEP NO. 4: TEST IN AN INCONSPICUOUS AREA
Before using Lestoil on the entire affected area, it’s a good practice to test the solution in a small, inconspicuous spot to ensure it doesn’t damage or discolor the surface. Wait a few minutes to observe any adverse reactions.
STEP NO. 5: APPLY THE LESTOIL SOLUTION
Dip a clean, soft cloth or sponge into the Lestoil solution, wring it out so it’s damp but not dripping, and then gently apply it to the smoke film- and soot-covered surface. Start from the top and work your way down to prevent streaks.
STEP NO. 6: SCRUB GENTLY
If the smoke film and soot are stubborn, you may need to gently scrub the area with the cloth or sponge. Avoid using excessive force to prevent surface damage.
STEP NO. 7: RINSE AND WIPE CLEAN
Once you’ve removed the smoke film and soot, rinse the cleaned area with clean water to remove any residual Lestoil solution. Then, wipe the area dry with a clean, dry cloth.
STEP NO. 8: REPEAT AS NECESSARY
For heavy smoke damage, you may need to repeat the process a few times until the soot is completely removed. Be patient and avoid aggressive scrubbing, as this can cause damage.
STEP NO. 9: CLEAN SURROUNDING AREAS
After cleaning the affected area, it’s a good idea to clean the surrounding surfaces and objects as well, as smoke film and soot can travel and settle on nearby items.
STEP NO. 10: VENTILATE AND DEODORIZE
After cleaning, continue to ventilate the area to help dissipate any lingering smoke odor. You can also use odor-neutralizing products or air purifiers to help with this.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for Lestoil, and again, please exercise caution when using it on delicate or painted surfaces.