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How to Get Smoke Smell Out of House After a Fire

Smoke Damage
Author: ServiceMaster Restore

Going through a fire can be stressful. Fires can cause extensive damage throughout your home or property which requires the help of professionals to restore. In addition to repairs for items burnt, soot-covered or damaged by water from firefighting efforts, there's also the question of how to get smoke smell out of the house. The smell of soot or smoke can linger well after a fire, causing unwanted discomfort or damage for you and your family.

Whether your home has suffered smoke damage from a house fire or from the affects of a wildfire, ServiceMaster Restore® has the expertise and know how to get rid of smoke smell in the house quickly and effectively. Learn more about the harmful effects of smoke and what you can do to ensure that your home and belongings are safe.

Factors That Affect Smoke Odor Removal

Removing smoke odors from your home or property after a fire can seem pretty straightforward. However, the amount of time needed to remove the smoke odor will depend on a variety of factors. These include:

  • Type of soot: There are two types of soot: dry and oily. Dry soot is easier to clean and can be dealt with by using a sponge and a low-alkaline detergent. Oily soot requires the use of special techniques and equipment to be safely removed from your home. If you're unsure, it's time to get help from a professional to ensure that your home and belongings aren’t damaged.
  • Size of the fire-damaged area: If the affected area is small, the amount of effort needed to get rid of smoke smells will often be lower when compared to a large property or building with multiple rooms.
  • Size of the fire: A larger fire can cause more damage, which will in turn lead to more potential for smoke odor throughout your property.
  • Time delay after fire: The longer you wait, the worse the smoke damage will get. Even if the damage seems minimal, most types of materials at home can start to yellow, discolor, rust, or corrode due to the impact of acidic soot or smoke particles. By treating them as soon as possible, you can improve your chances of reducing the need for more care.
  • Types of materials burned: Materials throughout your home react differently to soot and smoke molecules. Porous hard surfaces such as drywall, wallpaper, wood, and paint can become discolored and permanently stained unless treated quickly. Metallic surfaces may start to rust and corrode with acidic soot from a fire. Even cleaning your furniture may be damaging. Cleaning chemicals may seep into your carpet as it dries, carrying with it soot and smoke molecules that can cause stains.

The cost of smoke odor removal will vary depending on the extent of the damage and the services needed to remove the smoke odor. Contacting an expert smoke odor removal specialist such as ServiceMaster® Restore will allow you to better understand the services needed to remove the odor and whether there is a need for fire damage restoration.

How to Get Rid of Fire Smoke Smell

Fire smoke infiltrates all areas of a home. It can seep into carpeting, furniture, clothing, draperies, books and even woodwork. Removing fire smoke smell from a home is a process best left to the professionals with the expertise, specialized equipment, and ability to work safely within your home without causing further damage. Often homeowners attempt to dissipate smoke smell with spray deodorizers and scented candles. These tactics only mask the odor of smoke and won't remove it from the home. Smoke particles bury themselves into fabrics, fibers, and other porous surfaces. In order to remove smoke smell completely, items need to be deeply cleaned.

Cleaning Up Smoke Damaged Items

Essentially everything in a home affected by fire smoke needs to be cleaned. Some items may only require thorough airing to remove smoke smell, but most items like carpeting, rugs, curtains, upholstery, and clothing will need a thorough cleaning and possible sanitization. While special tools and techniques used by professionals will be more effective, there are still some steps you can take to mitigate the smoke odor damage from items.
  • Wipe down all hard surfaces with a mild detergent and water — this includes painted surfaces, baseboards, doors, window frames/sills and the outside and interiors of all cabinets and drawers.
  • Remove all fabric items from your home and have them washed or dry cleaned. If there is oily soot on your fabric, avoid using your washing machine, as this may cause clogging issues after the wash cycle. Once they are clean, store the items away from your home to avoid having the smoke smell make its way into the fabric again.
  • Use odor neutralizing products such as baking soda or activated charcoal to help reduce the smell within a room. These products may not be as effective at removing the smoke smell alone but could help areas that weren't as directly affected by the fire smoke.
  • Avoid vacuuming curtains or upholstery if you're using an upright vacuum. The brushes can cause soot to go deeper into the material, resulting in more damage. Using the right equipment to remove the soot is important.
  • Keep smoke-damaged wood furniture away from your carpet while cleaning. The cleaning solutions may leak and cause carpet stains unless there is a protective barrier between the two.
  • Remove any water from flooring as soon as possible. If water from sprinklers or firefighting efforts has accumulated and/or is damaging your flooring, it may need to be replaced or refinished.
  • Act quickly. Metallic surfaces may start to corrode or rust due to the acidic soot within hours. Likewise, hard surfaces such as wood, wallpaper, drywall, or paint may start to discolor if soot is not removed shortly after damage. Remove soot as soon as possible to avoid hard to remove stains or odor.

If the items are also soot-covered, we recommend to handle the item as little as possible and trust it’s cleaning to a professional to prevent further damage. When working out how to get fire smoke smell out of house carpets and upholstery, trust the cleaning experts at ServiceMaster Restore for the job. We'll make sure the smoke smell and ash residue are completely removed from deep within the fibers and fabrics. Wash down all hard surfaces with a mild detergent and water — this includes painted surfaces, baseboards, doors, window frames/sills and the outside and interiors of all cabinets and drawers.

**Safety Tip:** Never eat any food or allow pets to eat food that has been exposed to fire smoke.

Clear The Smoke Smell Out Of Your Home

Fire smoke removal from a home or building requires a thorough inspection and cleaning of the HVAC system. Fire smoke can permeate ductwork and linger in the ventilation system long after the fire has passed. The HVAC filter(s) need to be changed and the system should be inspected by a HVAC professional to ensure there has been no damage incurred during the fire. After your home is affected by smoke, contact ServiceMaster® Restore for smoke odor removal services that will return your home to normal. Our team will work together with you to ensure that your salvageable belongings are restored and that your home is free from smoke odors. We will also inspect your property after fire damage to ensure there is no extensive damage that could result in costly repairs down the road.

The experts at ServiceMaster Restore are standing by to assist you in removing unwanted odors in your home or office space. Learn more about our smoke damage services and call us at 1-800-RESPOND to get started.

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