Russ’s Maintenance Tips #2: A Blast from the Past | Camelot Homes

Russ’s Maintenance Tips #2: A Blast from the Past

Hi All,

Welcome back to Russ’s Corner and this week’s maintenance tip.

A few weeks ago a friend called and asked me to stop by and view some black stains that she had on a wall in her game room. The issue was a black sooty stain on the wall. Now I hadn’t seen this in some time but I realized what it was right away. This friend likes to burn candles in her home, and has a special penchant for the scented variety.

Candles and Fireplace

Burning candles and a wood-burning fireplace can both lead to great deal of soot. Photo found on Houzz (Guided Home Design).

Years ago when burning candles was very popular, we in homebuilder customer service were getting several calls a month about black stains on walls. A study was done on this around 1998 and concluded that the staining was the result of the pollution of the air in the home caused by burning scented candles. The incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons as these candles burn contributes a considerable amount of soot to the air.

These stains can be difficult to remove depending on the surface they appear on – most notably walls, flooring, or furniture. You may want to try a dry sponge or “magic eraser,” but of course you want to test a small area first to ensure it won’t hurt your paint. And speaking of paint, often the best remedy is to use a primer made for hiding smoke damage and then repaint.

Again, I haven’t seen this in years, but based off my friend’s experience it still happens…

Take care and enjoy your home and hope to see you at one of our communities soon.


Thanks, Russ! We hope your friend was able to get the soot cleaned from her walls quickly and efficiently. While on the topic of candles, here are a few more tips and tricks.

1) Before burning a candle, trim the wick to ¼ inch and place the candle away from any drafts.

2) If you have a fireplace, burning candles in the fireplace is a great option as the smoke and soot is drawn upward.

Fireplace with candles

Such a lovely fireplace, now repurposed for burning candles! Photo found on Houzz (Dennis Mayer Photographer).


3) It’s all about the wick and the quality of the candle itself. Cheap, low-quality candles are often the worst offenders for creating soot. For clean burning, look for a candle with hard wax and a thin wick.

4) If soot is on your walls, it’s also in the ductwork of your home, which can impact your family’s health. Ensure you have a high-quality filter in the intake of your central air or heat to help reduce airborne particulate matter.

Cozy bedroom with Candles

Who wouldn’t want to relax in this cozy bedroom with both candles and a fireplace? Photo found on Houzz (

Or…if you’re looking to avoid the hassle of cleaning soot from your walls altogether, there are plenty of great alternatives to burning candles these days too. One of the most popular options is battery-operated LED candles, especially those with an automatic timer. It’s a win-win-win…no soot, most come in multiple colors and/or scents, not to mention the added security of the appearance of activity in the home when you may not be there.

Bathroom with LED candles

Whether your candles are flame or LED, they are the perfect addition to a bathroom oasis. Photo found on Houzz ( James Brady Photography)

Regardless of the type of candles you choose or where you choose to use them, we hope you have found this information helpful! Stay tuned for more great maintenance tips from Russ, and as he mentioned, we hope to see you in one of our communities soon!

Gold Mountain Preserve (Phoenix/Northwest Valley): Joyce Van Deren, 602-469-0165
Bocara (North Scottsdale): Hilal Chaboun, 480-735-4652
The Villas at DC Ranch (North Scottsdale): Patti Strait, 602-908-8511


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