cigarette ash on clothes

How to Get Ash Out of Fabric

Got some ash on your favourite t-shirt after a night sat around a campfire? Perhaps you accidentally dropped some cigarette ash onto your outfit? Or maybe you’ve had some incense sticks on the go and knocked the ashy contents all over your sofa and carpet?

Whatever your ash-related story, the aftermath is annoying and looks terrible.

However, if you act quickly, you can remove the offending mess. All you need is a little patience and some household cleaning products!

Follow the step-by-step guides below to remove ash marks from your fabrics.


Do Ash Stains Come Out?

Yes, ash can usually be removed from fabric surfaces, including clothes, upholstery, and carpets, provided you act quickly and don’t scrub the ash into the material.

Scrubbing the ash will drive it deeper into the fabric. Consequently, it will become harder to remove.

Follow the methods below to remove the ash and treat your fabric surfaces.


Tips to Consider When Removing Ash from Fabric

cigarette ashes

Keep these points in mind when treating an ash stain:

  • Don’t scrub the ash; this will only drive the mess deeper into the material’s fibres. In turn, it will be more challenging to remove. Just blot the stain.
  • Don’t rub the ash stain off your item with your hands. If you do this, you will likely push the stain around and get it onto other parts of your clothing. Your fingers may also be sweaty, and this won’t help matters!
  • Act quickly. Don’t leave the ash on the fabric because you risk rubbing it deeper into the material’s fibres and spreading it onto other surfaces.
  • Keep your hoover near you so you can vacuum up the ash as it detaches itself from your fabrics.
  • Always test your chosen cleaning solution before you use it.
  • Don’t dry your item until you’ve removed the whole ash stain. Heat will set the greyish blemish and make it harder to remove.
  • Don’t be too disheartened if you have to treat the ash stain more than once! Sometimes, the ash is trickier to remove and has to be cleaned several times.
  • It’s okay to ask a professional cleaner for help. If you’re struggling to remove an ash stain from your clothes, sofa, or carpet, take your item to a specialised cleaner or ask someone to visit you so they can do the cleaning work for you. Specialists have access to different tools and products so they can treat the blemish in a different way!
  • Put measures in place to deal with future ash stains. For example, smoke away from your sofa, sit a reasonable distance from the campfire, cover couches, make sure there are plenty of ashtrays around the house, and put a fireguard around the fireplace. Of course, you won’t be able to limit all ash-related stains, but you can reduce them significantly.


How to Get Ash Out of Clothes

ash on clothes

Follow the steps below to get rid of ash from your clothes:

  1. Remove the ash-ridden item from your person.
  2. Give the garment a shake outdoors. This will remove the loose ash.
  3. Repeat Step 2.
  4. Turn your item inside out.
  5. Go over to the cold water tap and turn it on.
  6. Hold the back of the stain under the cold water tap and allow water to run through it. By running water through the back of the stain, you push it out through the front (you’re essentially loosening the ash’s grip on the material’s fibres).
  7. Repeat Step 6 for a few minutes/until the water runs clear.
  8. Pre-treat your item with some liquid laundry detergent or an off-the-shelf stain remover.
  9. Launder the item as normal. Select the hottest temperature permitted for the material and add your usual detergent.
  10. Check the garment before you dry it.
  11. If there are still stains present, dip a neutral-coloured cloth into some rubbing alcohol and blot the stain to get rid of it.
  12. Rewash the item.

Optional: You can pre-treat stubborn ash-stained clothes in diluted bleach if need be. Clean white items with chlorine bleach and colourful clothes with oxygen bleach (make sure the material permits this).


How to Get Ash Out of a Fabric Sofa

ash on fabric sofa

Note: Don’t use harsh chemicals to treat your fabric couch because you may cause irreparable damage to it (discolour or physical harm). Stick to using neutral and official upholstery cleaning products.

Follow the steps below to get rid of the ash from your fabric couch:

  1. Hoover up the loose ash from the sofa.
  2. Optional: Run a lint roller over the stain to pick up tiny pieces of ash (it may leave a sticky residue on the surface – test first).
  3. Grab a neutral-coloured cloth.
  4. Soak it in cold water and wring it out. Don’t use too much water because the couch will take a while to dry.
  5. Blot the ash stain with the damp cloth.
  6. Repeat Steps 3 to 5 until you remove most of the ash stain.
  7. Fill a large bowl with two cups of water and add a teaspoon of washing-up liquid to it.
  8. Grab a clean, neutral-coloured cloth.
  9. Dip it into the water and wring it out. The cloth must be damp but not saturated.
  10. Blot the ash stain until it disappears. Re-soak the cloth whenever necessary and wring it out.
  11. Grab the cloth you used in Steps 3 to 6 to clean the suds off the fabric sofa.
  12. Remove excess moisture from the sofa by dabbing the treated area with a dry, neutral-coloured cloth.
  13. Allow the surface to dry naturally. Open the window(s) and put a fan on to help circulate the air in the room.

Tip: For more troubling ash stains, you can treat them with an off-the-shelf upholstery cleaner, like FurnitureClinic’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner. Do a patch test first, and be prepared to treat some stains multiple times!


How to Get Ash Off Carpet

ash on carpet

Tip: Don’t step on the ash because you’ll push it deeper into the carpet’s fibres. Walk around the ash or put a box over the area to keep it covered if you can’t treat it immediately.

Steps to follow:

  1. Optional: Take small carpets outside and give them a good shake to remove the ash from them.
  2. If you have mounds of ash on the carpet, use a teaspoon to scoop up as much as you can from the surface. (Skip this step if you have long pile carpets – it won’t work effectively).
  3. Use a lint roller to remove flat, even layers of ash. (Skip this step if you have long pile carpets).
  4. Grab a neutral-coloured cloth.
  5. Soak it in cold water and wring it out.
  6. Blot the ash stain with the damp cloth. Don’t scrub the surface because you’ll spread the ash around.
  7. Wait an hour.
  8. Cover the ash stain with bicarbonate of soda (cornstarch can also be used). This will absorb the ash and act as an odour neutraliser.
  9. Optional: Skip Step 8 and use a carpet cleaner instead. Follow the instructions on the product’s packaging.
  10. Wait two hours while the bicarbonate of soda gets to work. Cover the area to protect it during this time. Use a coffee table or a cardboard box.
  11. Hoover the surface to remove the powder from the surface. Brush the surface if you don’t have a vacuum cleaner at hand.
  12. Grab a damp, neutral-coloured cloth, soak it in cold water, wring it out, and blot the treated area.
  13. Repeat Step 12 until all the ash has gone.
  14. Hoover the surface.
  15. Allow the carpet to dry. Don’t walk over it during this time.
  16. For stubborn ash stains, you can repeat the steps above.

Note: If you’ve got tough stains on a light-coloured carpet, you can dab a little rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide onto the surface to remove the blemish. Always do a patch test, and don’t try this out on dark-coloured flooring!


Can Baking Soda Remove Ash Stains?

baking soda and cigarette ashes

Yes, baking soda, also known as bicarbonate of soda here in the UK, can be used to remove ash stains from various surfaces.

For example, you can sprinkle it over ash stains on a carpet. For a step-by-step guide, see the steps above under ‘How to Get Ash Off Carpet’.

Baking soda is also good at deodorising smelly surfaces – perfect for ashy aromas – and can absorb ash remains from a carpeted surface.


How to Get Cigarette Ash Out of Clothes

To remove cigarette ash from your clothes, follow the steps above under ‘How to Get Ash Out of Clothes’.

Remember: Don’t brush the ash with your hands, even though this is really tempting! This will only drive the ash deeper into your clothing’s fibres.


How to Get Candle Ash Out of Fabric

To remove candle ash from fabric, use the steps outlined above under ‘How to Get Ash Out of Clothes’.

In most cases, you can remove candle ash by hoovering the loose ash from an item, pre-treating the stain with liquid laundry detergent, and throwing the item in the wash. If you act fast, this method works well!

But as mentioned above, if you’ve got tougher ash stains, you may need to clean your items with a form of bleach.