What Causes Black Soot?
Almost all household black soot comes from scented candles. Oils in candles don't burn completely, the oil enters the air and turns into black soot. These soot particles are extremely small and can stay in the air for months. This means you may not see black soot from candles burned in November until January.
Other sources of black soot in the home can come from kerosene lamps or dust brought into the home if a coal mine is located nearby.
Why Does Black Soot Gather in the Home?
A few common areas black soot gathers in the home and why:
- Manufactured homes are tightly constructed and soot particles in the home do not exit the home easily.
- Black soot can gather at the base of doors because the carpet acts as a filter when air is sucked under the door, trapping the particles in one area.
- Small black soot particles can be found on light switches and outlets because of static electricity.
- Temperature differences in the wall can cause ghosting, which is the buildup of particles on the wall, creating black spots or streaks.
How to Identify Black Soot
Rub the black stain using a small amount of bleach on a paper towel. If the black color is still present, the particles are soot. If the color goes away from the towel, it is likely mildew and should be treated properly.*
*It is important that you use a very small amount of bleach when testing for black soot. Make sure your test area is small and rub the stain lightly to prevent damage to the surface.
How to Remove Black Soot
Remove black soot in your home by:
- Find the source of the black soot.
- Remove the source of the soot so that to help prevent more from occurring.
- Get rid of dark spots by vacuuming the dark spots off of the surface.
- To clean black soot, combine 1 quart of water and 3 to 4 squirts of liquid dish soap in a bucket and apply the solution with a sponge onto the surface with the black spot.
How to Prevent Black Soot
You can help prevent black soot from forming in your home with a few different tips and tricks. Check out these ways to keep your home black soot free:
- Use alternatives to lighting candles, such as candle warmers or LED candles
- Air the house out when lighting scented candles by opening windows
- Use high quality pleated air filters
Candle Tips to Prevent Black Soot
Choose candles with wax that is hard to the touch and doesn't soften. This typically indicates that the candles are made using higher quality ingredients
Use candles with only single wicks. Multi-wick candles add more soot to the air and are more likely to break the glass candle jar.
Chemicals are often added to the wicks of candles. Approximately 80% of the wick manufactured in the U.S. are made of cotton or cotton-paper combinations.1
It is important to care for your home properly, and take care of any issues that occur right away. If you suspect that your home has black soot or mildew issues, we recommend contacting a local professional to come and take care of the problem properly. For more ways to stay on top of home maintenance, check out our Home Care Guide tips.