How To Get Smoke Smell Out of House After Fire: A Complete Guide
A fire in your home is a tragedy. Whether small food fire or large, a blaze destroys precious memories made in the house. After focusing on the mental and physical health of you and your loved ones, it’s time to start the cleaning-up process.
Items that remain after the damage should bring you some comfort, but a lingering smoke smell will only bring up bad memories. The guide will go over cleaning solutions specifically tailored to eliminate smoke particles. Let’s get started.
Why is Smoke Smell so Clingy?
A quick word about fire smoke smells before moving on to cleaning solutions. The residue from the damage depends on what is burned in your home. If your plastics are caught in the blaze, your smoke odor will be more brutal to remove. Plus, area rugs, furniture, and drapes, among other things, easily absorb smoke particles.
Since the molecules are so small, various surfaces can absorb them. Think of every piece of furniture in your home as susceptible to smoke damage.
Gear Up Before You Enter
Before starting the analysis process on your home, ensure that you take the correct safety precautions. Don’t step foot onto your property without a mask and goggles. Make sure your equipment is designed to protect against fire damage. If possible, wear long-sleeved clothing to prevent smoke particles from leeching into your skin.
Read more: Is the smell of smoke after a fire harmful?
Assess the Damage.
No two fires will ever look the same. You must begin your assessment without expectations and be as level-headed as possible. The smoke odor removal process will help with the healing, but ensure you’re in the right mindset before beginning. Before going into steps that you can take to remove the smoke smell, you must ask yourself a few questions.
- How long was the fire going?
- How much of my home did the fire destroy?
- Are your walls painted with latex paint?
- What materials (wood/plastic/upholstery) were burnt?
Walk through your home and analyze the smoke damage. Bring a pen and paper to write down what you see. Take note of whether larger rooms or smaller rooms suffered more. Check your HVAC system, furnace filters, window screens, and air filters for soot or ash. Make sure your search is slow and thorough to come up with a comprehensive cleaning solution to eliminate the smoke odors.
What Does My Timeline Look Like?
Start figuring out how you’re going to tackle odor removal as soon as you are possibly able. Unfortunately, the longer you wait, the more persistent you’ll find the fire smoke. Of course, take some time to recover your spirit and mental state before getting started. But you should try to begin the recovery process a few days after the blaze has cleared.
Depending on your steps and diligence in combating the smoke particles, your odor removal timeline could range anywhere from two weeks to a month. But remain patient since your house fire is unique. A precise timeframe will come from your assessment and which steps you determine to be most useful.
What if My Home is Covered in Soot?
Sometimes in a house fire, smoke damage residue is left behind. Among other things, soot, made from the incomplete combustion of fuels such as wood and oil, is a common residual. The carbon particles cling to household items and emit acids and chemicals into the home, significantly lowering the air quality.
Soot, specifically, is dangerous if cleaned unprofessionally. You risk exposing yourself to unhealthy chemicals while you clean. Plus, you might not remove all the soot from your home without proper equipment. If you notice massive build-ups during your assessment, call an expert immediately.
What Steps Can I Take to Clean Up My Home?
After analyzing your place and deciding to do what you can to clean up yourself, you’re probably wondering how to get started. The tips below are a great way to get started, but you might need to take additional steps or do further research on smoke odors.
Before getting started, you’ll want to ensure you have the right cleaning products. Though scented candles might seem like an easy fix, the smoke smell won’t go away. You’ll want baking soda, white vinegar, dish soap, and warm water. You’ll also want rags, vacuums, and trash bags on hand to get rid of things.
Step 1: Remove Household Items.
Before beginning the clean-up process, you’ll want to remove as many household items as possible. Whatever smells like fire smoke should be moved outside. Separate your belongings into two categories, salvageable and destroyed. Be honest with yourself; if it’s too much of a hassle to clean the smoke odors, put it in the damaged pile.
Items that can’t be recovered include carpets, wallpaper, building materials, and insulation. Furniture, clothing, and linens can be cleaned offsite and should be removed as soon as possible to remove the smoke smell. Leave the objects out in the fresh air to help lift the stink. The fewer objects with smoke particles left in your space, the easier your odor removal will be.
Step 2: Open All Your Windows and Doors.
The fresher air you let into your space, the more smoke particles will be pushed out. If you can, open your windows and doors wide. Ensure the weather is neither too hot nor too cold since bad weather can make the smoke smell worse.
Use fans to keep the fresh air flowing through your home or just open all the windows to let fresh air in while you start cleaning. You want to prioritize keeping the air quality of your space high to get rid of smoke odors.
Step 3: Jump on the Ventilation Game, Properly
Make yourself a ventilation system by setting up an exhaust fan at your front door. Face the fan towards your interior to suck as much outdoor air into your space as possible. Ozone generators are also an exceptionally manageable way to clean the smoke odors from your home.
Step 4: Consider Your Options.
Once your furniture and any items with a lingering smoke odor are off the property and you have a ventilation system in place, the cleaning can commence. We’ve listed four courses of action available for you. Decide which works best for you, or if none of them seem applicable, feel free to do further research.
- DIY Cleaning
If you are ready to remove the smoke smell from your property by yourself, you’ll want to ensure you have the right tools. Before anything else, sprinkle baking soda on all the surfaces you are going to clean. The powder helps to lift smoke smells and any residue. Afterward, rub white vinegar and warm water on the surfaces slowly. After a couple of minutes, the stain and odor should clear. Alternatively, you can utilize dish soap to remove stains.
- Dry Cleaning
Dry cleaning is a relevantly cheap alternative to hand washing all your clothing and smaller items. Keep in mind that your local dry cleaner will not be able to restore more oversized furniture items. Also, be prepared to wait a while for the company to complete your smoke odor removal order.
- House Tent Fumigation
Though more generally utilized to eliminate insects, house tents can also clear fire smoke residue. In this scenario, you’ll want to combine an ozone generator with your tent to eliminate the odor from items that can’t be taken to the dry cleaners.
For this method, renting a machine will cost you less than purchasing the product for one-time use.
- Thermal Fogging Machine
A thermal fogging machine uses pressurized air to disperse deodorant droplets throughout your home and remove the smoke smell. If you are interested in utilizing this machinery, you should consider calling a professional.
Read more: Does insurance cover smoke damage?
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the Smell of Smoke go Away?
Though it is a persistent odor, the smoke smell should eventually go away, either on its own or with the help of a good baking soda scrub.
Is the Smell After a Fire Dangerous?
The smell after a fire is simply the residual leftovers of smoke, so, yes, it can damage your respiratory system in much the same way (though to a far lesser extent).
What Does a Smoker’s House Smell Like?
The obvious answer to this question is cigarettes, but it may also smell like a potent combination of air fresheners in a bid to mask the scent.
How Long Does it Take for Smoke Smell to Wear Off?
On average, the smell of a cigarette will linger up to eight hours after you have smoked it.
Does Febreze Get Rid of Smoke Smell?
Febreze can mask the smell of cigarettes, but it can’t eradicate it entirely.
Why Does My House Smell Like Cigarette Smoke When I Don’t Smoke?
Sometimes the smell of cigarettes can accumulate on a third-party basis. If you spend a lot of time with smokers, you may bring the scent home with you.
Don’t Wait, Call an Expert.
You don’t need to live with the lingering smoke smell that reminds you of a past tragedy. Call the team at All Dry USA today to schedule an appointment and reclaim your home. The company works directly with your schedule to ensure all smoke smells disappear.