A fire is a devastating event. 

It leaves a lot of destruction in its wake.

And recovering can be even more challenging than you’d expect.

Besides replacing items lost in the fire, there’s the aftermath of …

  • Water damage
  • Dangerous soot pollution
  • Harmful smoke levels; and
  • Stubborn smoke odor

… to face.

Whether you were confronted with a blazing fire or just burned the Thanksgiving turkey to a char, don’t underestimate the tiny smoke particles that have bonded to every surface.  

The odor and residue left behind can be an unpleasant reminder that you just can’t seem to get rid of.

The good news is –– with a lot of elbow grease, you can eliminate the pesky odor. 

Keep reading to learn the best tips on how to get rid of fire smoke smell from your home or business.

Table of Contents

how to remove fire smoke smell

Does After Fire Smoke Smell Removal Require a Professional?

Have you ever sat around a campfire and smelled it on your clothes or hair long after you’ve left?

Smoke odor and residue can be difficult to remove no matter how big or small the fire.

It can continue to threaten the air quality and health of everyone in the building long after the fire has been extinguished.

Make no mistake, this is not an odor that a wipe down with regular cleaning products and a scented candle can fix. 

Even if there’s not a lot of visible damage, the smallest kitchen fire can trigger enough smoke to seep into every corner of your home.

Depending on the severity of the fire and your ability to do a thorough deep clean of your space, you may opt to call for professional help.

Professionals –– like the odor pros at Pure Environmental –– use specialized equipment to remove the smoke odor from your home or business quickly and efficiently.

Even Small Fires Can Permeate Your Home or Workplace With Smoke Smell

We’ve all burnt a bag or two of popcorn.

And when we did, everyone in the home or office knew it.

The smell is so terrible and lasts so long that you probably didn’t want to confess to the offense.

The stench of even the smallest fire can permeate every room.

Thanks to an efficient HVAC system, smoke can travel easily and affect every part of your home or workplace.

how to get rid of fire smoke smell

Determining How to Remove Fire Smoke Smell Depends on the Type of Damage

Before you can begin the process of removing the smoke smell after a fire, you need to know what type of fire you had and assess the damage.

A proper assessment will help you determine the appropriate materials and approach necessary.

Here are a few important questions to ask as you evaluate the potential smoke and fire damage:

  • What was the size of the fire? A bigger fire that likely burned many materials can produce a considerable amount of smoke.
  • What is the size of the room/area where the fire occurred? The smaller the space — the more concentrated the smoke smell. Small spaces tend to retain more smoke smell, longer.
  • How long did the fire burn before it was extinguished? A prolonged fire has more smoke and the smell has more time to penetrate:
    • Furniture
    • Carpets; and
    • Other surfaces

Were any materials burned in the fire? Depending on what was burned, it can affect the severity of the smoke smell. Damage to structural materials can also affect the odor differently than non-structural materials.

Non-Structural Incidences

Just as it sounds, non-structural incidences are fires that did not damage the structural components of a …

  • Residential
  • Commercial; or 
  • Industrial 

… building.  

Typically, non-structural fires occur within a type of container where household materials were not severely damaged.

Non-structural fires can include: 

  • Stovetop fires
  • Microwave fires 
  • Fireplace blowback 
  • Chimney smoke backdrafts; and
  • Wood-burning oven fires

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that cooking fires were largely the leading cause of home fires in the United States between 2015 and 2019, resulting in nearly half of all accidental house fires.

If you’ve blackened your blackened chicken dish to an inedible solid, you may not have had actual flames but you can smell the foul smoke odor everywhere.

The aerosolized burnt protein coats the entire home in an invisible residue leaving a stench much stronger than regular smoke.

Even though there may not be any soot or visual impact, smoke from a protein fire can easily spread to nearby rooms or the entire home.

Fires That Have Caused Combustion of Materials

If you’ve experienced the terror and devastation of a house fire that has damaged the structure of your home or furnishings, you’re not alone.

According to a report from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), there were over 350,000 residential fires in 2019.

When assessing structural fires that have destroyed the physical structure of a …

  • Residential
  • Commercial; or 
  • Industrial  

… building or room-and-contents fires involving the combustion of materials, you should take a slightly different approach. 

If your structural fire filled the room with flames scouring the walls and billowy dark smoke, you also need to consider the repairs necessary in addition to the after-fire smoke smell removal.

after fire smoke smell removal

How to Get Rid of Fire Smoke Smell After a Non-Structural Smoke Incident

Step #1: Air Out the Entire Space

The first step to getting rid of the fire-smoke smell after a house fire is to turn off your air conditioning and circulate fresh air. 

Your HVAC system will only re-circulate the same smokey air throughout the house. 

The best way to air out the entire home is to:

  • Open every door and window
  • Place several fans strategically in front of the doors and windows
  • Let the fans air out the house as long as possible.

You can blow out individual rooms by:

  • Opening the door and setting up a large fan facing toward the rest of the home
  • Close all but one window in the room
  • Turn the fan on the highest speed
  • Let this blow for at least 15 minutes
  • Close the window and door to that room 
  • Repeat the process in each room 

This process will force fresh air in and the smokey air out.

The odor will likely soon begin to dissipate but to remove the smoke smell entirely you need to perform a deep clean of every surface in the home.

Step #2: Complete a Deep Clean

After airing out the house, you may notice an improvement in the smoke odor.

However, if you skip the important step of deep-cleaning, the smoke smell will undoubtedly return.

Begin by focusing on the areas of direct impact. 

If you’ve had a cooking fire, you’ll want to …

  • Degrease
  • Clean; and
  • Remove 

… the range hood. 

Wash all solid surfaces like …

  • Ceilings
  • Walls
  • Cabinets
  • Shelves
  • Light fixtures

… with a cleaning solution mixture of dish soap, white vinegar, and water. 

You can see the same solution to mop …

  • Wood
  • Tile; or 
  • Vinyl 

… flooring. 

Don’t forget to rinse the mop with fresh water each time to keep the smoke particles from spoiling the cleaning solution.

Next, turn your attention to the textiles in your home.

Remove and wash any …

  • Curtains
  • Area rugs 
  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • Furniture covers; and
  • Other fabric or upholstery

… and store the items outside of the home until the odor is completely gone to keep them from re-absorbing the smell again.

​​Baking soda absorbs odors.

You can use it to clean your carpets and furniture by sprinkling it on, then letting it sit for a while. 

After about 24 hours, vacuum the leftover powder. 

For even better results, you can steam clean your carpets.

Contact a professional cleaning service to take care of any delicate materials like leather or silk.

Use a solution of white vinegar and warm water to wash away any soot and ash from surfaces like:

  • Windows
  • Screens 
  • Shades; and 
  • Blinds

Invisible smoke residue tends to stick to blinds more easily than glass, so give your blinds an extra scrub. 

Don’t forget to wash your window screens too.

It’s important to clean your HVAC system to remove the smoke particles circulating in the ventilation system. 

Change all air and furnace filters and contact your HVAC professional to check for damage from the fire.

Items like …

  • Furniture
  • Carpet; and
  • Blinds

… can be stubborn holding on to smoke odors.

So if you still smell smoke after deep-cleaning, it may be necessary to identify and replace the item causing the smell.

Step #3: Perform an Advanced Oxidation Process

An advanced oxidation process (AOP) is an efficient method of removing organic contaminants like … 

  • Odors
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • Viruses
  • Bacteria; and
  • Other biological contaminants

… from water, air, and soil.

AOP technology can:

  • Rapidly oxidize and neutralize air and surface impurities
  • Eliminate odors
  • Improve indoor air quality; and 
  • Pinpoint the source of odors

This residue-free, environmentally sound process can clean the air and deodorize materials and contents without causing damage to sensitive items, including:

  • Electronics
  • Leather; and 
  • Antiques

Operating these powerful air and surface contamination tools is best left to the professionals.

The experienced professionals at PURE Environmental utilize cutting-edge AOP technology called PurAyrTM. This powerful air and surface decontamination tool is designed to rapidly oxidize and neutralize air and surface contaminants to have your home or office smelling great again.  This process should not be used in occupied spaces, however, the treatment area can be safely entered immediately after our technicians have flushed and neutralized the work area.

fire smoke removal from house

How to Get Rid of Fire Smoke Smell After a Combustion Fire

Step #1: Assess Damage

Before attempting to remove the smoke smell you always need to assess the fire and smoke damage, especially with a larger scale fire.

Again, ask yourself:

  • What was the size of the fire?
  • What is the size of the room/area where the fire occurred? 
  • How long did the fire burn before it was extinguished? 
  • What type of materials burned in the fire?

Step #2: Repair Structural Damage

Your first concern should always be to repair any structural damage to the building.  Effected materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed and replaced.   

Once you have a structurally sound space, you can begin the process of cleaning and deodorizing prior to completing the repairs.

Step #3: Complete the Same Steps Used for Non-Structural Incidences

Since the damage is more severe, there may be a lot more in-depth cleaning involved with combustion fires. 

Some items may also need to be removed from the premises and cleaned off-site.

However, the same if not more diligence and attention to detail should be paid to get rid of the persistent fire smoke smell.

The clean-up may be so extensive that you decide to let the experts tackle the task. 

You may need to vacate the premises, but most insurance companies will cover your living expenses during this time.

How Long Does it Take for Smoke Smell to Go Away?

How long it takes to get rid of the smoke smell after a fire depends on the severity of the smoke damage and how proactive you are about tackling the issue.

If you had a minor cooking fire, you may be successful in eliminating the smoke smell in your own time.

However, the best way to eradicate the odor quickly and completely is to call a professional.

If you’re looking for the fastest, most efficient way to remove the smoke smell from your home, contact the team of experts at Pure Environmental and you’ll be back to roasting your turkey in no time.

how to get rid of fire smoke smell

Is it Necessary to Re-Paint Walls to Get Rid of Fire Smoke Smell?

If there was physical damage to the walls from flames, they will need to be rebuilt and repainted.

However, you may or may not need to re-paint your walls to get rid of the odor depending on how much soot damage there is and if the walls can be cleaned thoroughly.

Paint can hold onto many odors, especially smoke. 

So be sure to air the premises and clean the walls using ammonia or glycol-based cleaning products.

You may just save yourself from embarking on a huge painting project.

Contact Pure Environmental for Fire Smoke Removal From Your House or Business

In the unfortunate event that you would need our services, Pure Environmental is dedicated to top-quality indoor air quality restoration and odor removal.

So whether you’re suffering from …

  • A devastating home or office fire
  • Fire or smoke damage from a wildfire; or
  • An embarrassing accident in the kitchen

… the team of experts at Pure Environmental is standing by to assist you.

how to get rid of fire smoke smell