Cleaning Tips, Guides & Resources

How to Rid Your Home of a Smoke Smell Once and for All!

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Even when the smoke clears (literally), the smell lingers on! This is true even outdoors when clouds of smoke get carried with the wind and leave a trail of odour which can be smelled from miles away. On a small scale, on the other hand, there may be a smoke smell polluting the air in your home that you can’t seem to get rid of. Well, no one wants the unpleasantness of that, or the health risks that come with inhaling it. So, how do you rid your home of a smoke smell? Let’s find out!

There are A LOT of things you can and probably will have to do in order to eliminate a lingering smoke smell in your house. These include some basic, daily practices along with some deep cleaning methods for a thorough smoke-odour cleanse of your home! 

With that, MaidForYou has put together a complete guide of tried and tested ways to rid your house of smoke odour. 

Top Tips to Eliminate Smoke Smell From Your House

visible smoke inside a house next to a large window

Before we get to the rest of the tips, we feel the need to state the obvious first steps one should take to remove a smoke smell from a house. It begins with opening up windows and doors to maximise ventilation in the home while also allowing in as much natural light as possible. Getting in fresh air and sunlight every day helps in removing lingering odours and killing bacteria in your home.

It should be noted that porous materials and surfaces absorb smokey odours and largely contribute to a lingering smoke smell in the house. Therefore, one must tackle these different household areas to truly eliminate the smoke smell as opposed to masking it with fragrances and air fresheners.

Take a look at the tips below to rid your house of smoke odours once and for all!

Increase ventilation in your home with fans

To help increase ventilation, run ceiling fans and pedestal fans (if you have any). The latter can be used to pull out the smoke smell from your house by standing them in front of a window, facing outside. This works in the same way as exhaust fans do; speaking of which, these should also be turned on in bathrooms and kitchens while airing out the house.

Give your carpets and upholstery a thorough vacuum

Vacuum and deodorise carpets and upholstery thoroughly. This includes curtains, rugs, doormats, upholstered chairs/furniture, etc. Be sure to wash/replace your vacuum filters as and when needed, and empty the bag/canister routinely for a better performance from your vacuum cleaner.

Sprinkle baking soda on carpets

Remove stubborn smoke odours from your carpet by sprinkling a generous amount of baking soda over it. Leave it to absorb the lingering smell overnight, and vacuum it thoroughly the next morning. Repeat the process one or more times if needed.

Clean hard surfaces with ammonia-based cleaning products

Use ammonia (as directed on the label) to clean hard surfaces in your home. Make sure that you are wearing gloves, and that all the windows are open for maximum ventilation when using the product. It should also be noted that ammonia can damage sealed or finished surfaces such as hardwood, kitchen cabinets, and painted surfaces; therefore, it is best you steer clear of them when cleaning with ammonia.

Get rid of soot and tar on glass surfaces

Large amounts of smoke can leave tar and soot on glass surfaces and mirrors which add to the smell and therefore, must be removed. The best way to do this is with a solution of equal parts white vinegar and warm water. Simply spray the surface with the DIY glass cleaner, and wipe it with a soft cloth. If you find streaks left on the surface, use regular glass cleaner and crushed newspaper to remove them.

Reduce your home's humidity levels

Humidity doesn’t help when trying to eliminate bad odours from a house and, in fact, gives germs and bacteria a more favourable environment to breed in. To reduce humidity in your home, it is advisable to set up a reliable dehumidifier that can be moved from one room to another.

Use activated charcoal

Activated charcoal is known to absorb odours, as is baking soda, cat litter, and coffee grinds. Filling up bowls with these various products and placing them around your house will aid in getting rid of the smoke smell once and for all.

Wash all your linen and cushions

Launder linens and removable cushion covers. While you are doing this, it’s a good idea to deep clean mattresses, pillows, and couch cushions, or, at the very least, freshen them up with baking soda (to absorb the smoke smell), and then vacuum after 6-8 hours using appropriate attachments.

Use a nice smelling floor cleaner

Vacuum/sweep floors, and then mop with a pleasant-smelling floor cleaner. If white vinegar is safe to use on your type of home flooring, mix the ingredient with water (1:10 ratio), and mop the floor with this solution first. It will help neutralise the smoke smell before doing a once-over with your commercial floor cleaning product.

Use a homemade air freshener

Instead of using air freshener, add lemon or orange peels to a pot of water and allow it to simmer on the stove until the fragrance is released into the air. This works as a natural deodoriser for your kitchen and surrounding areas.

For fabrics or upholstery that cannot be washed, use specially formulated products (as per the material) to clean them. You can even spray them with a light mist of product-specific fresheners to help remove smoke odours.

Buy an air purifier

Consider investing in a quality air purifier for your home. Not only will this help remove a smoke smell from your house but it will also aid in keeping germs, bacteria, and viruses at bay.

Wash or replace your aircon filters

Ash or other particles that contain smokey odours can get trapped in the filters of air conditioners and heating systems which are then circulated in your home, thus contributing to the smoke smell in the air. It is advisable to wash or replace these air filters to help eliminate the odour, as well as increase the airflow from these systems.

While these tips are effective in removing a smoke smell from a house, for a property that has encountered an unfortunate fire which has caused the odour, or if the property's occupant was a heavy cigarette smoker it is advisable to opt for a professional deep cleaning service to do the needful. With the help of professional equipment and products, an experienced house cleaning service will use the best cleaning solutions to rid your home of lingering smoke odours!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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