After a fire, smoke particles settle on clothing and surfaces, lingering in the house. Masking this smell with Febreze or wall plug-ins is only a temporary fix.
To permanently eliminate the odor, you need to do a deep clean of all surfaces and personal items. Begin by opening all windows and doors and setting up fans to circulate fresh air throughout the property.
Air Out the House
If you have a minor fire that did not cause much smoke damage, it may be possible to remove the smell with home remedies such as vinegar water and coffee powder. However, if your home was involved in a significant fire or the smell has persisted for an extended period of time, it will likely require more intensive cleaning and sanitization.
Start by removing as many items holding the smoke smell as possible, including carpeting, wallpaper, and building materials. If items can be cleaned offsite (furniture, clothing, and linens), do so. The fewer objects there are in the home, the less work it will take to rid them of smoke smells.
Next, air out the house. Open all doors and windows and use fans to circulate the fresh air. This ventilation will decrease the odor and dry out any moisture damage caused by the fire. Be sure to wash any curtains, duvets, pillows and other fabric items that were exposed to the fire as well.
Remove All Personal Property
Unless it is salvageable, anything that smells of smoke should be removed and moved outside. This includes furniture, carpets and other items that can be cleaned, but also things like pots, pans and flatware, and clothing and toys. The best way to do this is to separate items into salvageable and unsalvageable piles, and then clean what can be saved.
To get the most out of your cleaning efforts, use baking soda to lift any lingering smoke odors from surfaces before moving on to other cleaners. Then, use a mixture of warm water and white vinegar to wash the items that you can, such as clothes and linens. If you can, hand wash and dry-clean more difficult items such as drapery and upholstery.
Finally, fire restorers often rely upon the process of “thermal fogging,” which uses pressurized force to disperse deodorizing deodorizer droplets throughout an area. This may be best left to professionals, but it is a good option for large spaces.
Clean All Surfaces
A fire is a catastrophic event, leaving not only physical damage and smoke residue but also an unwanted reminder in the form of pesky lingering smells. The key to eliminating these odors is to start restoration efforts immediately after the fire is extinguished. The longer the flat is left unattended, the more smoke particles will sink into furniture and textiles, where they can become stubbornly anchored.
Begin by cleaning all surfaces affected by the fire. This includes washing solid surfaces with a solution of water, white vinegar, and dish soap. For porous materials like drywall and wood, it is best to use alkaline cleaners with a pH value of 9 or higher. Finally, clean all fabrics affected by the fire, including carpeting, drapes, and curtains. If the odor is still present after this cleaning, professional odour remediation may be required. This involves deep cleaning with a disinfectant and/or odour neutraliser.
Repaint the Walls
If the walls are badly stained or smeared with smoke odours, it may be necessary to repaint them. It is important to consult with a professional painters who are familiar with fire and smoke damage restoration, as they can recommend the best paints for the job.
Before painting you will need to wash your walls and ceilings with a cleaning solution that contains ammonia or glycol, as these substances are effective at killing difficult odors. Mix 4 to 6 tablespoons of trisodium phosphate (TSP) with one cup household cleaner (such as dish soap or floor cleaner). Use a sponge and work in small sections; rinse and dry the walls as you go.
Once the soot has been removed and the surfaces are clean, apply an odor blocking primer sealer. You can purchase these at any home improvement store. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. This step is vital for keeping odors from returning, even if you repaint the walls.fire smoke odour removal