Easy/cheap way to clean soot off of old chairs I want to paint

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Old maple chairs with minor soot/smoke damage from a house fire over 10 yrs ago. I have stored them in the garage forever. I want to use them for "yard" chairs for plant pots etc-I want to do vintage painting but know I need to clean off the soot first. Can I avoid chemical sponges?
  5 answers
  • Lo Lo on Feb 25, 2015
    One gallon hot water. Add 1 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup ammonia, 1/4 cup baking soda. Use old towels for cleaning with this. If you use it on woodwork or other furniture, be sure to dry it off. It will continue working into old wax, etc. if left wet. I cleaned an old wooden box covered with oil and dirt. I was pleasantly surprised that all the "yuck" came off and left the ink printing! It's also great for removing that tar-like substance left on armchair wood. I was told by a curator this formula was used to clean antiques in the White House.

  • Lo Lo on Feb 25, 2015
    I hope it works! It has certainly cleaned many OLD things for me. Good luck. I look forward to hearing from u.

  • Nancy Bowen Nancy Bowen on Feb 25, 2015
    Awesome from the dollar store.

  • Sherrie Sherrie on Feb 25, 2015
    I always use TSP. And rinse. It works better than anything I ever used.

  • Nancy Carr Nancy Carr on Feb 25, 2015
    I would just use a baking soda paste and rinse it off. Good luck.