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How to Remove Smoke Smell After a Fire


how to get rid of fire smoke smellIf you’ve had a house fire, you’re not alone. Believe it or not, there are over 355 thousand house fires in the U.S. every year. Every single one of them have had struggles associated with the fire, but there’s one that isn’t talked about as much. All of those victims had to figure out how to get rid of that disgusting smell that’s left over. Luckily, we can help with that. Let’s talk about how to get rid of fire smoke smell so you can put the past behind you.

How The Smell Lingers

Before we can talk about how to get rid of it, let’s discuss the nature of the smell itself. Most smells will go away on their own, right? If you leave an old piece of fish in your fridge and you throw it out, that smell will be gone in a couple of days, so why does the smoke smell linger so strongly?

Well, if the structure of your house remained intact after the fire and very little had to be replaced, then the smoke became trapped inside. It is likely stuck to the drywall, furniture and much of what survived the fire. Because of this, we should warn you that it is no easy task to get rid of the smell, as it is clinging to everything it can. However, it can be done.

Find out how smoke can damage your home before assessing the damage and trying to get rid of the smell.

After assessing the damage, the factors that need to be kept in mind for how difficult this will be are:

  • Size of the fire
  • Length of exposure
  • Types of burned materials

These can all play a role in how this is done. If the fire lasted a long time and burned through plastic or synthetic materials, this will be more challenging than a small kitchen fire. Nevertheless, let’s get to it.

How To Get Rid of Fire Smoke Smell

Nobody wants to be walking around smelling like a house fire, and nobody wants to come home to that smell every day. While it is no easy task, a weekend or two weekends’ worth of work might just do the trick. Without further ado, here are some of the best steps for fire smoke odor removal.

Ventilation, Ventilation, Ventilation

Airflow is going to be your best friend in this matter. If it is warm out, ditch the AC and open a window, but only one. This window will play the role of the exhaust. Once it is open, open an outside door and place the largest fan you have in front of it, facing inward. Blow that fan on high and keep that window open for as long as feasible and repeat this process periodically.

Time for Deep Cleaning

I’m sure you were able to guess that there is quite a bit of cleaning involved in this process.

The cleaning portion is best done while you are utilizing this ventilation technique. For the record, when we say deep clean, we mean it. Smoke smell is the odor equivalent of mustard stains, so get yourself a team. Whether it’s your roommates, friends or family, get them involved to any extent you can because this is not a one-person job.

Wash All Surfaces

When washing, use a solution of warm water, vinegar, and dish soap. Be sure to scrub all solid surfaces with power. This includes counter-tops, walls, and any wooden furniture. Don’t forget to clean windows, window shades, doors and screens. Everything counts here.

Don’t Just Clean Up, Clean Out

Remove anything that holds these smells and wash them. Area rugs, furniture covers, drapes or whatever you can. Do this with your clothes as well. Bring them to a laundromat or dry-cleaner if you don’t want to do this all in your washing machine. 

Forgotten Spots Matter

Everything from your carpets to your mattress should be shampooed and cleaned. Hiring a professional is a great idea, but if you can do it yourself, it’s better than nothing.

Your HVAC systems should be cleaned as well. These vents will hold the smell and continuously blow it through your home, making the situation worse.

Light fixtures should be cleaned, hard floors should be mopped and scrubbed, some insulation might need replacing, etc.

Get a New Paint Job

Sometimes the paint on your walls can hold the smell. If cleaning and ventilation don’t do the trick, some fresh paint might be what you need. Make sure you clean the wall first and use a primer that is designed to trap in odors before you begin painting. If you’re calling in a professional, be sure to let them know what kind of odor-trapping primer you want.

Follow Up With Professionals

If you have followed these steps consistently, and there is still a lingering smoke smell in your home, it may be time to talk to the professionals.

If you have any construction after the fire, speak with them and ask for any tips or if they can assess the situation. Speak with your local fire department and see if they have any advice, or check out our services and we can help you turn your house back into a home.

Next Steps

Now that you know how to get rid of fire smoke smell, get started as soon as possible. The sense of smell carries the strongest memories, and that smell won’t bring back any fond ones.

Follow these steps and you should get rid of that smell in no time at all. Other than getting rid of the smell, check out some essential tips on what to do after a house fire so you can finally move on!