Sooty Walls Please Help

Dear FlyLady,

Your system is fantastic, I do not always follow correctly but it is great even if I just do something you tell me to do.  Today I got your email about how we do not have to “spring clean” like Grandma– because the homes were heated with coal and wood “then”!

Well I live in Northeast Pennsylvania and so many of us cannot afford “our heating bills” and we have gone back to wood and coal heat, even if it is just to supplement our heating systems.

What do you suggest we do?  When should we take the time to “wash a wall”?   It is early April and the highs and lows this week are 55 and 34 so I will continue to heat with coal.  So in May when I am in each room do I just do the walls? and windows instead of the weekly chores?

Thank you for your consideration.

FlyBaby Anne

Dear Anne,

That is a very good question. You are mostly correct but you can’t throw out your weekly home blessing to do this. Doing the walls is part of your detailed cleaning list. You have to adapt this list to fit your home.

We have an open fire place that we use all the time. With the right tools any daunting job can be turned into a routine. The main thing is I don’t want you to give up your  vacation or weekend in order to get this done. Pace yourself. Do a little every day in the zone we are in.

You have to judge about the tools you may need according to how much soot is on your walls. Be sure and wear a mask and eye protection if you are going to stir up the dust and soot.

Tools you will need:

Feather Duster (Out of stock)

Rubba Sweepa (long handle for high places)

Detailed Dusting Mitt


Chenille Mop

Silver Rags (they have no purple dye to stain your walls) Don’t need a new problem. You can use the purple rags if they have been well used and the dye no longer bleeds out.

We have a package that will help you;

1. Each room has 4 walls Do one wall a day; set your timer for 15 minutes. In a month you will have done every wall in your home.

2. Start high and work your way down the wall. Take your Feather Duster to capture the loose soot. This only takes a couple of minutes. Then take your duster outside and bless the world.

3. Then with a clean rubba sweepa, gently brush the wall ceiling to baseboard. Don’t sweep your ceiling if you have a popcorn ceiling.

4. If you still need to wipe the wall down use your Silver Rag or a Detailed Dusting Mitt (dry first), then if you need to, wet it with just plain water. If there is still soot, you will see it on the silver rag or mitt. Rinse it often.

Don’t go crazy doing this. I don’t want you to crash and burn.

Here are some testimonials about getting soot off walls and ceilings.

Candle Soot All Over The Kitchen

Dear FlyLady,

As part of pampering myself, I burn a nice smelling candle in the kitchen. Today, I was burning a homemade one my daughter got me for Christmas. It smells wonderful! However, it also smoked and covered my entire kitchen in a dusting of soot! I have never seen such a thing before.

I spent about 10 seconds being overwhelmed with the enormity of the task of cleaning every surface in the kitchen, when I realized all of these tasks I have done before: they are part of the daily missions when in the kitchen zone! And I know, because I have done them before, that each section takes less than 15 minutes! The counter tops, the cabinet fronts, the appliances, the floor, (the sink), all other things in the kitchen.

Next, I thought of how many paper towels I might be using when I also remembered all the testimonials for the purple rags. I don’t want to ruin my purple rags, but everything I have read pretty much indicated the rags could handle the job. And they did! Beautifully! It took 3 sets of 15 minutes and I am done! My kitchen is clean and shiny. I will use the candle as a room freshener, without lighting it!!

Thank you for all you do. And I learned, Practice makes it Possible!

Laurel in Austin


FlyLady here: Anytime you burn a candle, there is soot. It does build up. Just like with cooking everyday. Our kitchen missions help us to detail clean without spring cleaning! Babysteps.

This candle had something wrong with it. Cut the wick off so you won’t forget and burn it again.

Yes, our Rags in a Bag are great at tough jobs like these! Don’t worry about messing them up, they are meant to be used!

The Best and New Use For The Rubba Scrubba Ever

Dear FlyLady,

I could cry right now, thinking of how stupid I’ve been.

In the living room hangs a beautiful candle holder on the wall. The only problem was that my expensive scented candles had made a huge black stain in the ceiling. Soot…………

And then I made a huge mistake by taking a damp cloth and try to take it off.

A really huge mistake!!!

I just spread out the soot, making a really ugly, dirty stain. I looked ten times worse. Now I need to have the whole ceiling painted.

I don’t even want to call a painter and ask how much it will cost….

So for 3 weeks I’ve been looking at my ruined ceiling.  Until just 5 minutes ago. I took my rubba scrubba and began swiping my ceiling. All the soot came off. Well all but the stain…..

If only I had looked up how to clean soot before. Then I would never have taken a damp cloth. And just tried the rubba scrubba as soot has to “stick” to something. With the rubba scrubba does perfectly.

I want to help all the flying and fluttering girls and share my story with them.
Meanwhile I just have to find a way to get the stain gone, I could still try alcohol or ammonia. Or just take my loss and call the painter and have my ceiling repainted 🙁

Flying Dutch in The Netherlands,


rubbascrubba400There is always a use for the Rubba Scrubba! Let your imagination go wild! That is why we have a BOGO!


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