Step 1 Assess the Damage

Before attempting to remove smoke smell from your house, you’ll need to assess the fire and smoke damage. Even if it were just a small grease fire, the smoke smell would linger because smoke particles get absorbed into porous materials and objects. 

When assessing the potential damage caused by the fire, consider the following:

  • How big was the fire? A more significant fire will burn more materials and create a more substantial amount of smoke.
  • How long did the fire last before being extinguished? More prolonged exposure means that the smoke had more time to absorb deeply into furniture and surfaces.
  • How big was the room/house where the fire occurred? Small homes will retain more smoke smell due to the small area; the odor will be in higher concentrations in smaller rooms or homes.
  • What materials did the fire damage and burn? The kind of material burned in the fire can affect the smell.

Once you’ve assessed the fire’s damage and ensured you have the appropriate materials to proceed, you can start tackling the process of odor removal.



5. Wash Windows and Window Coverings

Moving on, window coverings are also great absorbers of cigarette smoke. You will definitely need to remove all window coverings in order to clean them, whether they’re blinds, shades, curtains, or drapes.

Soak non-wooden blinds in a bathtub full of all-purpose cleaner mixed with water and a cup of vinegar. Let blinds soak for 10-15 minutes, then scrub thoroughly and hang to dry. For curtains and drapes, you can take them to a dry cleaner or replace them. If your drapes are washable, wash them in the hottest setting allowed. Clean windows thoroughly by spraying vinegar onto the window surface and wipe it with a microfiber cloth. Repeat 2-3 times, then wipe with a clean cloth.

3. Repaint Ceilings Walls

Ready to get down to business? Let’s start with the biggest chunk of the job – ceilings and walls. This part may not sound like your idea of fun, but it’s necessary, and the reward is huge.

First, you will need to wash the surface. Mix a cup of white vinegar with 2 cups of warm water and ½ cup of baking soda. Dip a sponge in the mix and start wiping down the ceilings and the walls. Washing the ceilings and walls with vinegar can both deodorize and clean the surface. Wipe with a clean sponge after. Repeat 2-3 times.

Next, repaint the ceilings and walls with multiple coats of paint, depending on how stained the walls are. It is crucial to wash and dry the surface first, as simply repainting the wall might not stop the nicotine stains from seeping through. Also, paint sticks better to a cleaner surface. Again, if you’re willing go that extra mile, you can apply a layer of odor-blocking primer before regular paint. Odor-blocking primers are very effective at preventing odor molecules and stains from penetrating the new paint.

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Removing cigarette smell from your hair

If you’ve ever left a smoky environment only to revisit the stale smell of cigarettes once your head hits the pillow, you know how much smoke hair can absorb.

  • Rinse and repeat. Shampooing and conditioning your hair is the best way to remove cigarette smell. That goes for beards and mustaches, too.
  • Spray on some dry shampoo. If you can’t wash your hair, dry shampooing can help reduce cigarette odor.
  • Grab a dryer sheet. You can also try rubbing a dryer sheet all over your hair. Make sure to rub your entire head of hair, including the underneath layers.

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.


Gear Up Before You Enter

Before starting the analysis process on your home, make sure that you are taking 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.

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 the steps you take, and how diligent you are 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.

The bottom line on how to get smoke smell out of your house

Start by airing out the house in general. Then use robust cleaning products to clean all hard surfaces. Then wash all carpets and any fabric-covered areas. Clean all air ducts and replace air filters. To finish the job, you can follow up with an air purifier and an ozone generator.

Frequently Asked Questions

What percentage of tobacco residue stays in people’s homes?

Research has found that 70%-90% of nicotine and chemicals can remain as residue inside people’s homes.

Does painting a property get rid of the smoke smell?

Because paint is porous, it is tough to get rid of the smoke smell completely from a wall. It’s best to re-paint. Clean the wall first, then use an odor-sealant primer before you start painting.


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