How To Get Fire Smoke Smell Out of a House Fast & Safely

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Neutralize the burnt smell

To neutralize the smell, put pots of vinegar or lemon juice around your home. If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, you might try soaking cotton balls in vanilla oils and leaving them around your home. However, this won’t be enough. You’ll need to clean your furniture, fabrics, and carpets. The smell of burnt food is carried in smoke, and if you don’t clean up properly it will linger for eternity.

A Different Kind of Lemon-Aid

While a burnt odor is unpleasant, walking into a room with a fresh lemon scent is refreshing. Bring a pot containing 1 1/2 cups of water with several chopped lemons and your favorite fragrant spices to a boil. Let it steep for up to 30 minutes for the scent to penetrate the surrounding air.

Fighting The Fire​

We don’t recommend fighting fires. Call your local emergency services (such as 9-1-1) in the event of a fire.

If a small flame appears in your pot or pan, turn off all heat sources and smother the fire with a lid or baking soda. Fire cannot exist without oxygen, so cover the container and leave it covered.

Do not try to move anything until it has cooled. Never add water to smoking or burning grease!

If things are getting out of hand, you may need to use a chemical fire extinguisher, but be aware that these can cause a lot of splatter because of the force of the spray. Once the fire is out, open your house up to get fresh air moving in, and follow the advice listed above.​

Are Burnt Smells Harmful?

The smoke has serious health consequences as it contains nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde, hydrochloric acid, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and various toxic pollutants.

These pollutants can worsen cardiovascular and respiratory problems, leading to cancer, lung disease, and asthma.

Healthline highlights that burning plastic is dangerous for our respiratory system and lungs. The release of toxic carcinogens threatens the quality of life and health.

According to Health.NY.gov, people exposed to strong smells may experience lung, throat, eye, or nose irritation.

Furthermore, several people feel burning sensations that lead to breathing problems, wheezing, or coughing. Plus, many individuals suffer from dizziness, nausea, or headaches.

In short, besides burning dust, all other burnt odors are potentially hazardous to your health!

How to Prevent Burning Furnace Smell

The best ways to avoid experiencing a burning furnace smell include following a routine cleaning and maintenance schedule per your furnace manufacturer’s recommendations. One of the easiest furnace maintenance tasks you can perform yourself is checking and/or replacing your furnace air filter every 30 – 90 days. Cleaning a furnace regularly will help it operate more efficiently, last longer, and help improve overall indoor air quality. You can also remove your floor vents and check for dirt buildup and foreign objects in your ductwork. You can vacuum the dirty ductwork, but for a more thorough cleaning, hire a professional duct cleaning service.

Be Vigilant

The easiest way to not have to clean up a smoky mess is not to start one. Microwave popcorn generally takes less than five minutes, but clearing up a scorched and stained microwave can take hours, and the stink can linger in your exhaust mechanism for weeks.

Monitor what you have in the microwave.

Protect your home and yourself from accidents with dedicated, focused cooking time.​

Additionally, if you’re prone to distractions when cooking, make your kitchen a book, tablet or smartphone-free zone.

One boiling pot of potatoes can make a disastrous mess on your stovetop while you’re finishing one more chapter or sending one more text.

Step 4 Repaint the Walls

The last thing you’ll need to do to get smoke odors out of your house is to repaint the walls. You may not know it, but paint absorbs odors. If it’s the paint that retains the smoke odor, repainting the walls is the best course of action.

  • Wash your walls with a cleaning solution that has ammonia or glycol. Both of these substances are great at neutralizing odors. After cleaning, make sure you rinse the walls thoroughly and let them dry before proceeding to the next step.
  • Apply an odor-locking primer to the wall. You can find these at any home improvement store. These kinds of primers have a unique formula that kills difficult odors (not just fire smoke but also pet urine, food, and cigarette and cigar smoke). Allow the primer to dry before the next step.
  • Paint over the primer with latex paint to seal everything. Allow drying entirely before hanging anything on the wall or putting furniture back into place.

Fire may be a devastating event to happen to your home, but cleaning up and repainting your walls can remove smoke odors and restore a sense of control.

 

Step 2 Air Out the House

The first thing you should do to eliminate the smoke smell after a house fire is to circulate fresh air. Turn off your air conditioning to prevent the same smokey air from circulating throughout the house. You also want to gather several fans to place strategically in doors and windows. Open every door and window you can, and let the house air out for a few hours. 

If the smell of the smoke is overpowering and persistent, you can blow out each room of the house with some positive pressure. Follow these steps:

  • Open the front door to let in the fresh air and set up a large fan facing into the house.
  • Close all but one window or door in the room where you are working.
  • Turn on the fan to the highest speed to force the smokey air out the door. This method will force fresh air into the room through the window via an exhaust fan.
  • Blow the area for at least fifteen minutes.
  • When you’ve finished, close the window and door to that room and repeat the process for each additional room until you have adequately aired the house.

This process will likely help the odor start to dissipate, but it will not remove smoke smell altogether. The only way to remove smoke smell entirely is to clean every item and household surface in the home.

 

Clean Whatever You Cooked It In

RELATEDHow to Clean Your Microwave

If you scorched your meal in the microwave, give the microwave a quick wipe down inside to get rid of the residual smell.

If you burned your meal in a pot or pan, get it soaked and cleaned as soon as possible. The stinky smell is already in the air, but those dirty dishes aren’t helping any.

Carpets, curtains, and clothes

Now for fabrics and soft furnishings. They all need to be cleaned. Curtains will need to be removed and sent to dry cleaners. To clean smoke smell from carpets, you may find that sprinkling them with baking soda and leaving overnight before vacuuming, then placing pots of vinegar around your home for at least three days does the trick. The best course of action is, of course, to use a professional carpet clean on location.

All soft furnishings will need to be deodorized, as will any clothes that have been contaminated with the burnt smell – after you have spent the whole weekend with your washing machine running 24/7.

Key products you need in your smoke-removing arsenal

"Some key products I keep in my arsenal are carpet deodorizer and liquid or powder carpet cleaner, which do a great job of making carpets smell fresh and clean again," says Fiona. Baking soda is also a must, she says. It can be mixed with essential oils or distilled white vinegar.

Tip: Vinegar cuts through odors naturally and can also be mixed with essential oils, making it another great tool when it comes to smoke removal. Ammonia is also a powerful odor eliminator, but just make sure you're being careful when using it. Always dilute ammonia with water and never mix ammonia with other cleaners or chemicals, especially bleach, as this combination creates a deadly gas. Ammonia is a powerful chemical agent that can be quite toxic, so if you're unsure how to use it safely, consult a professional.

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