remove smoke smell - crinkled paper house on fire with wood background

How To Remove Smoke Smell from your Home

Jim Bauer Insurance Restoration

remove smoke smell - crinkled paper house on fire with wood background

House fire concept and residential smoke disaster and burning destruction symbol as crumpled paper shaped as a family home residence as a 3D illustration on rustic wood.

Smoke smell is one of the most stubborn odors to remove from your home, whether the smoke is from a fire or from cigarettes. Exposure to third-hand smoke is a potential health hazard to you and your family, especially if anyone suffers from a respiratory condition. Smoke can permeate soft surfaces such as carpeting and furniture and can coat hard surfaces with a sticky film of resin and tar. While a little patience and some elbow grease, you can remove smoke smell from your home and make it comfortable again.

First Steps to Remove Smoke Smell

The first step to remove smoke smell is to get fresh air into your home. Open all windows and doors. Strategically place fans throughout the house to increase airflow in areas where air doesn’t circulate thoroughly. Put fans near open doors and windows to draw fresh air in and pull smoky odors out.

It is a good idea to purchase an air purifier if you don’t already have one and run it on the highest setting. It will help clean the air and remove particles that will be circulating during the cleaning process.

The Power of Vinegar and Baking Soda

You don’t need to purchase expensive cleaning products to remove smoke smell from your home. These inexpensive cleaning products are often enough to remove smoke odors from soft and hard surfaces:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Rags

Removing Smoke Smell from Soft Surfaces

Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over your carpets and let it sit for at least eight hours or overnight. You can also sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda on your furniture and mattresses to absorb smoke odors. Gently work the baking soda into the surface by rubbing it in with your hand. Remove the baking soda with a vacuum and repeat if the smoke odor persists.

Remove all bedding, pillows, and curtains from affected rooms. Washable items can be cleaned in your washing machine using a cold-wash cycle with two cups of vinegar. Line dry the items outdoors if possible. Otherwise, set your dryer to only low heat or fluff, as heat can reactivate any lingering smoke smell. Bag all clean items and keep them away from affected areas until the smell has been removed. If you need to have items dry cleaned, make sure to tell the dry cleaner that you want the smoke smell removed so that they use the right cleaning methods.

Removing Smoke Smell from Walls and Other Hard Surfaces

Wipe down every wall using an all-purpose cleaner and a clean rag. Or mix half a gallon of water with half a gallon of white vinegar and wipe the walls with a clean rag. Repeat to remove any streaks that may remain on the walls. In severe cases, you may need to repaint your walls with a special paint primer that removes or blocks odors from seeping out of your walls before coating with normal latex-based paint.

Make sure to wipe down every hard surface, including:

  • Tiles
  • Appliances
  • Cabinets
  • Counters

It is not easy to remove smoke smell from your home, but it can be done. To remove stubborn smoke odors, you may need to contact a professional.

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