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How to Clean Smoke-Damaged Furniture

How to Clean Smoke-Damaged Furniture

After a home fire, one of the first things you do is check your belongings. You see what you can salvage and what was completely destroyed.

Your furniture is probably among your top priorities. It may not be scorched, but it’s bound to have smoke damage.

The good news is that you don’t have to scrap smoke-damaged furniture. You just have to clean it up! But, if you’ve never dealt with smoke damage, you’re probably at a loss for what to do. How on earth do you remove the soot and smoke odor?

In this post, our experts share the best advice for cleaning smoke-damaged furniture.

General Tips

Later, we’ll teach you how to clean specific types of furniture.

But first, let’s go over some general tips for cleaning smoke-damaged furniture.

Extinguish the Fire First

Before assessing or cleaning, make sure the fire is 100% out. This will prevent further damage and keep you safe from burns. It will also prevent unintentional reactions with flammable cleaning products.

Wear Protective Gear

You want to limit your contact with soot (and how much of it you breathe in). Be sure to wear a respirator mask and gloves.

Work Outside

If possible, take the furniture outside to clean it. This will further limit the amount of soot you breathe in.

If working outside isn’t an option, be sure the room you’re in is well ventilated.

With these general tips in mind, here’s how to clean different types of furniture.

Green Upholstery Fabric Couch

Fabric-Covered Furniture

Upholstery fabrics can be tricky to clean. Their fibers are infamous for trapping soot and odors.

Here’s the best way to clean fabric-covered furniture affected by a fire:

  1. Using a flat brush attachment, carefully vacuum the fabric. Remove as much soot as possible.
  2. Sprinkle the fabric with baking soda. After letting it sit for 24 hours, vacuum up the baking soda.
  3. Repeat step 2.
  4. Take off all removable covers and machine-wash them with cold water. For extra help with odor removal, add one cup of white vinegar to the washing machine.
  5. Dry the covers. Hanging them outside will speed up the process and help further eliminate odors.
  6. Use a smoke odor deodorizer on the clean fabric. Carefully follow the instructions on the bottle.

Finished Wood Furniture

To clean smoke-damaged finished wood:

  1. Remove soot with your vacuum’s flat brush attachment.
  2. Wipe with a dry chemical sponge to remove embedded soot. Wipe along the grain to prevent scratches.
  3. Use a damp cloth to lightly wipe down the wood. Let it dry.
  4. Grab a high-quality wood polish or conditioner. Use it to restore the finish. Be sure to carefully follow the instructions on the product you’re using.

Leather Furniture

Follow these steps to clean smoke-damaged leather:

  1. Using a flash brush attachment, vacuum up the soot. Hold the attachment just above the leather to avoid scratching it.
  2. Wipe down the leather using a soft cloth and quality leather soap.
  3. Using a fresh cloth, lightly dab the leather with a 1-part water, 1-part white vinegar mixture. This will help eliminate odors. Be careful not to get the leather too wet. Wipe down afterward.
  4. To further deodorize, sprinkle the leather with baking soda. Let it sit overnight and vacuum. Repeat as necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Repair Smoke Damaged Furniture?

This largely depends on the furniture affected. Textiles may simply require thorough disinfecting, whereas wood could need resurfacing.

How Does Smoke Damage Furniture?

The chemicals that make up smoke can bind to the fibers of your furniture, charring it and potentially causing permanent staining.

How Do You Treat Smoke Damaged Wood?

A simple cotton rag with oil soap can do wonders for wood, but more severe charring may require the use of steel wool. Always work with the grain.

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Call the Pros

When your furniture has minor smoke damage, you can use these tips to clean it yourself! You’ll save money and avoid having to replace your furniture.

In many cases, however, you’ll want to call a professional restoration company. Experts will:

  • Save you time and money
  • Ensure everyone’s safety
  • Restore your furniture to its original glory

If you’ve experienced a fire, call All Dry USA today! Our experts will help you restore your furniture and handle other issues your home faces after a fire.


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