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Cleaning Smoke Residue From Ceramic and Porcelain Figurines

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A house fire or smokey fireplace can wreak havoc on your treasured figurines. This is a guide about cleaning smoke residue from ceramic and porcelain figurines.


Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

By 3 found this helpful
March 11, 2010

After a house fire, I had many glass and ceramic items to clean. The polyurathane that had coated my walls left a film like black glossy paint on them. I found if I soaked them in ammonia over night, they washed clean, even my Hummels.

I used a plastic paint bucket with lid. I also found out the hard way without rubber gloves even the ammonia fumes would burn my hands!

Hope this helps someone out. Fires are one of the worst things that can happen to a family. Most of my treasures were from my late mother-in-law. I was so happy to be able to save and clean them without damage.

By Tomboy53 from Conway, SC

Comment Was this helpful? 3
October 5, 20120 found this helpful

i have a $10 porcelain or ceramic incense burner, it takes the cones and the smoke comes out of the mouth and ears, burning these leaves a bunch of residue, i found out that hot, soapy water helps loosen it, and walmart brand heavy duty oven cleaner sprayed inside of it(only spray the inside) will remove it

Reply Was this helpful? Yes


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
April 26, 2015

I recently bought some drinking glasses from 1971 that have years of smoke build up on them. They have a wonderful painted design on them, but they look very faded from the build up. How is the best way to clean this without losing the paint design?

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
April 28, 20150 found this helpful

I would wash them in vinegar water. Maybe even let them soak in it for a few minutes.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
April 6, 2016

I had a house fire and everything is covered in smoke damage. I have a wedding porcelain set that is covered in smoke damage and I've tried using Clorox wipes, I've tried scrubbing them, and I don't know what to do. Can someone please tell me on how to get these porcelain candle figurines back to looking the way they should before may?

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

May 9, 20130 found this helpful

My Hummel figurines were in a bad fire. Why did they look like there was only black smoke on them from a distance and still looked all together and OK, but when someone touched them, they all fell apart into cinders?
Please answer my question.

By Val J. from Torrance, CA

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
May 11, 20130 found this helpful

My best guess would be they were super-heated by the fire, that even if they didn't look damaged until touched, the heat changed the ceramic base.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
May 17, 2015

10 years ago I packed my entire household for a cross-country move. Unknowingly, I wrapped my Hummels in newspaper. I do not have time for the repeated cleanings with a toothbrush and am very afraid to damage them. Will the same process used for removing fire smoke resolve this problem? I am so hoping it will! Thank you.


Answer Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
March 25, 2010

My father had a house fire and there were Hummel figurines and other porcelain/clay products inside. How do I get the soot off?

By Teresa from Pensacola, FL

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
March 27, 20100 found this helpful

Call your insurance company and they can give you a list of names and phone numbers of companies who do fire smoke/soot cleanup for their professional advice on any items.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
March 30, 20100 found this helpful

Try spraying with window cleaner and then rinse. This worked for me. Some things I had to use a soft baby toothbrush for crevices.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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