Throughout the United States, fire departments responded to a fire every 24 seconds in 2017. The 1,319,500 total fires that occurred that year resulted in $23 billion in direct property loss. Once a fire is out, there will be a major cleanup to deal with.
Smoke tends to stick around. Don’t wait to get rid of the smoke smell after a disaster strikes. Breathing in smoke can compromise the air quality in your home, creating a health hazard. Instead of living with the smell of the fire, air it out.
Keep reading to discover the three steps you need to remove the smoke smell from your home.
Step 1: Air Out
Smoke can linger in your home for a long while after the fire occurs. Even if you can’t see it, you can certainly smell it. When your home fills up with fire smoke, tiny, lingering particles stick to every surface. These smoke particles embed themselves in your furniture, carpeting, clothing and even paint. Surface cleaning alone won’t remove all of it. If you don’t act quickly to get rid of smoke smell from your home, you could end up breathing in those particles every day.
The first thing you need to do is air out your home. Open all the windows and doors to ventilate the smoky air. Feel free to remove the screens, too. This will promote better airflow, inviting the fresh air in and the bad air out. You can also improve airflow throughout your home by strategically placing fans in different rooms. Place the fans in corners, pointing towards a door or window. When you turn the fans on, they’ll “push” the fire smell out. A few fans and open doors won’t completely get rid of smoke smell, though.
You may also need to create positive pressure. First, set a large fan outside of your front door, facing inward. lose all the other doors and windows, so only the front door and one window remain open. This forces fresh air into the room and out the open window. eave the fan on for about 15 minutes. Then, close the window and door in that room. Move into another room and repeat.
Step 2: Wash Up
Improving the airflow throughout your home is only the first step to removing the smoke smell. Next, we need to consider your personal items and household surfaces. The smallest nooks and crannies are great places for smoke particles and ash to hide. To get rid of the smoke smell, you need to clean everything.
Start by removing furniture covers, cushions, duvets, blankets, area rugs and curtains. If you have any other fabric materials, have those washed or dry cleaned, too. Make sure to wash any clothes, towels and linens that were also exposed to the smoke. In the meantime, keep any clean fabric items out of your house until the smoke smell is gone. Otherwise, these clean fabrics could absorb the smell, too.
Next, create a solution of hot water and white vinegar to clean your windows. This includes your:
- Window frames
- Window sills
- Window screens
As you wash your window panes, make sure they’re shiny and transparent. Otherwise, there’s probably some smoke still lingering. Make sure to scrub your blinds so they’ll be thoroughly deep-cleaned. When you wash the window screens, place them in a tub or basin. Then, use dish soap or shampoo to clean the mesh. Rinse them with cool water and leave them to dry in the fresh air.
Using a warm water, white vinegar and dish soap solution, make sure to wipe down:
- alls and ceilings
- Doors and doorframes
- Cabinets (inside and out)
- Light fixtures
- Light switches
Mop up your uncarpeted floors. Don’t forget to clean up your mop afterward, too. Otherwise, you’re leaving smoke particles that could end up right back on your floor.
Those little smoke particles are hiding away in your carpets, too. As you work to get rid of the smoke smell in your home, don’t forget the carpets and upholstery. Otherwise, you’re stirring smoke particles back into the air with every step. Sprinkle some baking soda onto the carpet and/or upholstery. Let it linger for a few hours, allowing the baking soda to absorb the smoke smell. Then, use a HEPA vacuum to suck it all up. Vacuums with a HEPA filter can prevent the smoke particles from blowing right back into the room. You can also consider professional steam cleaning. A professional can handle delicates such as silk carpets and leather upholstery. Handling these areas on your own might lead to unintentional damages.
For extra help, check out these fire damage restoration tips.
Clean the HVAC System
Both during and after the fire, all that smoke rushed into your ventilation system. Every time your AC runs, it’s pushing that smoke back into the room. Make sure to change your filters as soon as possible. You may also need to consider professional air duct cleaning. In the meantime, leave bowls of ground coffee, active charcoal, or vinegar in each room. These can help reduce the smoke smell. However, this will only mask the smell. It’s still important to hire a professional to give your vents a thorough clean.
Step 3: A Fresh Coat
Sometimes, wall paint retains the smoky smell after a fire as well. Use cleaning products with glycol or ammonia to wash the walls. These substances are great for neutralizing unpleasant smells. Rinse, then let the walls dry. Afterward, apply a primer that’s designed to lock in odors. Paint your walls with a fresh coat of latex paint and you’re good to go.
Air It Out: 3 Steps to Get Rid of Smoke Smell
Say goodbye to that smoke smell and hello to fresh air. With these tips, you can get rid of the smoke smell within your home. Start breathing in the fresh air today.
Need help clearing the air? Contact Blackmon Mooring & BMS CAT to schedule a service.