If you have had a fire in your home, you probably have some degree of smoke damage. Smoke and harsh chemicals will spread throughout the entire home, cling to walls, penetrate furniture and clothing, damage electronics, and fill up ductwork. Acid in the smoke and dense soot residue will start to cause plastics to yellow and porous materials to discolor permanently if not cleaned within a few minutes. The longer it is left untreated, the harder smoke smell removal becomes. The extent and type of smoke damage will determine how to clean and remove smoke smell from your house.
Lingering smoke smell can be annoying, but it also affects human health, causing nausea or headaches. Smoke smell removal can be a difficult task, but spending the time, effort and money for professional services will pay off. Read on to learn how to get rid of the smoke smell once and for all.
Useful Deodorizers and Cleaning Agents
To start, here is a list of important and helpful deodorizers and cleaning agents.
- Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) – effective at absorbing smells
- White vinegar – the acidity in vinegar breaks down the malodorous (or bad-smelling) molecules
- Activated charcoal – the carbon molecules in charcoal chemically trap and clear smells from the air
Outside Your Home
One step that is easily overlooked in smoke smell removal is cleaning external surfaces of your home. Particles that remain on external surfaces such as windowsills, patio furniture or welcome mats can be disturbed by the gentlest of winds, and odors can find their way in through open windows or even small cracks. Wash and scrub all exterior surfaces including walls, walks, drives, decks, windows, and deck screens, etc.
Until the ash and soot on the ground and vegetation around your home are diluted and absorbed by the environment, using mechanical air filtration indoors may help minimize the smoke odors that can be generated when air movement outside disturbs the ash and soot particles.
Inside Your Home
There are many important actions to take when dealing with smoke smell removal inside your home. To start, review the points below.
- Leave your windows and doors open as much as possible allowing fresh air to clear out the smell of smoke.
- Fill several small bowls with baking soda and place them throughout your house. Leave them there for 24 hours.
- Place bags of activated charcoal around rooms to absorb odors or directly on smoke-damaged furniture or carpet. Just be sure the bag is securely fastened – charcoal can stain fabric fibers.
Clean and Disinfect Your Home
- Clean all appliances with a good disinfectant. Smoke and soot residue can discolor or damage surfaces, and tiny smoke and soot particles can infiltrate and cause damage to internal mechanisms.
- Use mild soap or an appropriate cleaning product to wash and disinfect all interior walls and hard surfaces, and rinse thoroughly, including the inside of cabinets, drawers, and closets. Steam cleaning can be especially effective on walls or floors. Heat from the steam melts the hardened tar and oils containing the smoke molecules, making it easy to wipe them away.
- Launder or dry clean all clothing. Use 1 cup of vinegar in the wash cycle, along with the usual detergent. However, one wash may not remove the smoke odor. Smell each item after every wash and repeat the process until the odor is gone. Don’t dry them in a dryer until they are free of any smoke odor. Otherwise, the dryer may set the odor into the clothing.
- Wash, dust, and clean all household items sitting on shelves, tables, and dressers. These items were exposed to smoke particles, and the particles can settle and remain on everything, including knick-knacks.
- Disinfect and deodorize all carpets, window coverings, upholstered furniture, and mattresses with steam or other appropriate equipment. Upholstery and fabric window treatments can be spray-treated with deodorizing products such as Febreze. These products use a chemical compound called cyclodextrin, a sugar-like substance that absorbs odors. Be careful not to use odor-masking products such as perfumed aerosols. Be prepared – it is very difficult to eliminate smoke odor if it has permeated the porous fibers of carpets, draperies, and furnishings,
Change Your Air Filter
- Heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning units and all ductwork should be professionally cleaned. Change the air filter in your HVAC system and replace it with one that is rated to filter out fine particulates. Set a reminder to change it once a month for the first year after smoke damage occurs.
Smoke Smell Removal Done by Professionals
Thorough smoke smell removal may include hiring a professional who has the expertise and the industrial-strength equipment necessary to do the job. The team of professionals at Action 911 are trained in the proper techniques to assist you safely and effectively with smoke damage restoration services including duct cleanup and ozone treatment. It is critical that smoke odor removal steps are taken as thoroughly and as soon as possible. Count on Action 911 for an immediate response.