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8 Simple Ways on How To Remove Charcoal Stains

How to remove charcoal stains

I once had a small charcoal grill that was great for on-the-go get-togethers and events. One night when getting ready for a BBQ, I noticed the grill was a little low on charcoal and topped it off. I didn’t realize until it was too late that there was charcoal all over my clothing. 

I had to develop a stain remover and determine how to remove black charcoal stains. I’ll show you what worked, what didn’t work and help you save time in this process. Activated charcoal stains seem to go everywhere like fabric, carpet, clothes, patio, and other surfaces; the good news is you can get the stains out. 

Here are all the tips you need to make this stain-removal process a breeze. 

How To Remove Black Charcoal Stains 

The exact method to remove charcoal stains will vary slightly depending on the surface. Here is a universal method that should work regardless of the surface you are working with. 

  1. Vacuum the remaining charcoal from the stained area 
  2. Pour baking soda on the charcoal stain and let it sit for about an hour 
  3. Vacuum the stain again 
  4. Take a sponge and soak it in a solution of liquid dishwashing detergent and water 
  5. Apply a few drops of vinegar to the stain and then blot with the sponge
  6. Only blot the stain with cold water and soap solution; never rub it 
  7. Rinse with cold water and check to see if the stain disappears
  8. Continue the process starting at step 4 until the charcoal stains are removed 

This process works quite well on clothing and fabric, but I have had luck with it on plastic, concrete, and wood. 

As always, you will want to test an inconspicuous area with vinegar before you pour it on. 

However, for the most part, this natural cleaning solution does not typically damage surfaces. 

Methods For Removing Charcoal Stains From Every Surface 

Charcoal dust seems to be contagious. I know when I get a little on my hands, before I know it, I’m dealing with removing charcoal stains from clothing and potentially even the carpet. Here is the best method for each of the most common areas where charcoal can present itself. 

How to Remove Charcoal Stains from Fabric

For me, fabric stains have been the most common, with charcoal stains and charcoal dust. My best tip of advice is to avoid the natural desire to brush off or scrub the stain; it will leave you with a more involved stain removal process. 

  1. Lightly brush, vacuum, or even shake out the fabric to remove as much charcoal dust as you can.
  2. Take baking soda and pour it on the stain
  3. Create a solution of ½ cup of vinegar, ¼ cup of water, and a teaspoon of liquid detergent solution (I like the Seventh Generation Free and Clear). 
  4. Pour the stain remover solution on the stain and then blot it off with a clean cloth or a sponge.
  5. Continue to avoid scrubbing the stain and pour just enough of the solution to get the stain wet. 
  6. Continue this process of blotting until the charcoal stain disappears. 

How to Remove Charcoal Stains from Carpet

Why does it always seem like the light-colored carpet is a magnet for charcoal stains? I’ll admit the first time I saw a charcoal stain on a light carpet; I thought it was ruined for good. This method saved my carpet and my wallet!

  1. Use a vacuum to remove any of the excess charcoal; hold the vacuum above the stain so you aren’t spreading it or pushing it further into the fibers. 
  2. Pour baking soda or an Arm & Hammer Dry Carpet Cleaner onto the stain; a dry cleaning solvent is your best option here. 
  3. Let the solution sit on the black stain for about an hour. 
  4. Vacuum the area again; make sure not to scrub the carpet while vacuuming; use an attachment. 
  5. Take a damp sponge and squeeze some dishwashing liquid onto the surface; you can also use a clean white cloth. 
  6. Gently sponge the surface of the stain until it starts to come out; I usually find that the vacuum does a pretty good job on its own. 
  7. Continue the process until none of the stains remains. 

How to Remove Charcoal Stains from Wall

The charcoal stain on the wall is not my favorite to remove. What ends up happening here is that you will often have to wash your entire wall. The area where the stain was removed comes out cleaner than the rest of the wall, making this a bigger project.

  1. Take a bucket of cool water (stay away from warm water) and a sponge to the area where the stain was 
  2. Use the soaked wet sponge to push down on the stain 
  3. Lift the sponge up, rinse, and do it again (in other words, blot, don’t scrub) 
  4. If the plain cold water is not working, try a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to sponge the stain. 
  5. If the stain persists, add a little dishwashing liquid to the sponge and continue
  6. Blot dry so that there is less visibility on the wall when finished 

How to Remove Charcoal Stains from Clothes

The more you deal with charcoal stains, the more you will realize that they are easiest to remove on washable fabric. I always do a pre-treatment of a charcoal stain as part of my stain removal process.

It’s so nice to know that I can also throw the stained clothing into a wash cycle and remove any other remnants of the stain. 

  1. Remove any excess charcoal, you can use a soft brush, but shaking the shirt or even vacuuming it will help to get some of it out.
  2. Put a little vinegar on the stain. I’ve used vinegar mostly on cotton and polyester, but it should be safe to use on other fabrics. 
  3. Let the vinegar sit on the stain for a few minutes.
  4. Rinse with cold water and repeat if necessary. 
  5. With washable fabric, I don’t worry so much about the entire stain coming out; the vinegar pre-treatment ensures that the laundry detergent in the wash can handle the rest of the job 
  6. Don’t put the clothing on a hot water cycle, and never place it in the dryer until the stain is out. 
  7. For a white cloth or white shirt, a little chlorine bleach, like Tide Plus Bleach, can be a good solution. 

How to Remove Charcoal Stains from Concrete

Removing charcoal stains from outdoor concrete is easier than other stains because you can scrub the affected area and even hose it off. 

  1. Pour baking soda on the stain and allow it to sit while you create a cleaning solution. 
  2. Place equal parts white vinegar and water with one tablespoon of dishwashing soap in a bucket. 
  3. Use a scrub brush with your cleaning solution working in circular motions to scrub the stains away. 
  4. Next time you have a family barbecue, and this happens, deal with the stains right away; it makes it easier to get it out. 

How to Remove Charcoal Stains from Plastic

When removing charcoal stains from plastic, be sure to test an inconspicuous area to make sure that the stain remover doesn’t create bigger issues for you. 

  1. Wipe excess charcoal or vacuum it
  2. Rinse with cold water if possible 
  3. Pour a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol on the plastic 
  4. Let the alcohol sit for several minutes
  5. Blot dry with a clean rag
  6. Repeat if necessary 

How to Remove Charcoal Stains from Wood

Sometimes a charcoal stain that has sat on something like a wood chopping board may not come out. Try these steps first, but you may have to do a little sanding and refinishing to get it all out. 

  1. Make a paste with equal parts baking soda and water. 
  2. Spread the paste on the black stain. 
  3. Allow the paste to sit for about thirty minutes, and rinse with cool water. 
  4. If you notice that the stain remover is working, repeat the process until the charcoal stains come out of your wood surface. 
  5. You can also try a commercial wood stain remover like WOCA Denmark Wood Stain Remover.

How to Remove Activated Charcoal Stains 

To remove activated charcoal stains, ensure you don’t spread the stain further by scrubbing; all excess charcoal must first be removed. 

  1. Vacuum the stain or brush it off with a soft brush 
  2. Pour baking soda on the stain and allow it to sit for one hour
  3. Vacuum up the baking soda and then use a mixture of soap and water to blot the stain with a sponge until it comes out 
  4. Always allow to completely dry and then repeat if necessary.


Does black charcoal toothpaste stain clothes?

Charcoal toothpaste may be helping your oral health, but it can stain, and you will find yourself searching for information on how do you get charcoal toothpaste out of a shirt. Use a clean sponge with a bit of dishwashing detergent. Soak the clothing in a few cups of cool water and blot with the sponge to pre-treat before a wash cycle. 

Can baking soda remove charcoal stain? 

Baking soda does a great job of removing charcoal stains. Whether you have a charcoal soap, charcoal wash, or even a charcoal face mask stain, spread the dry baking soda on the stain and then treat it with a laundry stain remover or a liquid dishwashing detergent. 

How do you get black soot out of fabric?

The best way to get black soot out of fabric is to pre treat with a bit of white vinegar and scrub it with a soft toothbrush. Always shake as much black soot out of the clothing as possible before placing it in the wash. 

Can charcoal stains be removed?

Yes, charcoal stains can be removed. Common solutions include the use of baking soda, vinegar, and rubbing alcohol. Baking soda acts as a mild abrasive to scrub away surface stains, vinegar’s acidic properties break down the charcoal stain, and rubbing alcohol is a solvent that can dissolve the stain. These methods are typically used in combination with a gentle scrubbing action to effectively remove the charcoal stain.

What is the best chemical to remove stains from concrete?

SimpleGreen OXY is a great chemical to remove stains from concrete, but vinegar and baking soda can work for a more natural solution. Use two cups of baking soda, one cup of water, and one cup of vinegar. 

Can you wash off charcoal?

Charcoal can be washed off as long as it’s done right away. Use cool water and add a bit of baking soda if the stain remains.

How do you remove ash stains from wood?

The best way to remove ash stains from wood is to use a paste of baking soda and water and allow it to sit on the stain. Rinse the stain with cool water and repeat until the stain disappears.


Britt Olizarowicz