The smell of smoke lingers not just in the air but on walls, in fabric, upholstery and curtains. This guide shows you how to remove smoke smell from a home, including how to get rid of the smell after a fire.
This is a reasonably common occurrence in the Cape, where there are seasonal wild fires. We also explain how to eliminate the persistent smell of cigarette smoke.
Removing the smell of smoke after a fire
A nearby veld fire or a fire in the home can leave property with an unpleasant burnt, smoky smell.
Even a controlled backyard bonfire can create enough smoke to infiltrate a house and leave a smell on upholstery and soft furnishings.
These are our tips for removing the smell of smoke from a home.
Remove the source
Remove any burnt items, bits of wood or ash from the house and garden.
If you use your vacuum cleaner to suck up ash or soot, it’s essential to clean the bag and filter before continuing.
Air out the house
Once the source of the smoke has gone, air out the house. Open all windows and doors for as long as possible.
Have air conditioners and vents cleaned
If you have air conditioning units and vents, have them cleaned and serviced. Smells can linger in the filters.
Professionally clean all soft furnishings
Have all curtains, carpets, upholstered furniture and mattresses professionally cleaned.
Steam cleaning works well to remove smells without relying too heavily on harsh chemicals.
Wash hard surfaces
Clean down all furniture, counter tops, walls and uncarpeted floors with a white vinegar and warm water mixture. Vinegar is a natural odour neutraliser.
Air out and clean cupboards and drawers
Open all cupboards and drawers to air out. If there’s any smoke smell, remove everything and clean out with a vinegar mixture.
Have all clothing laundered
If the smell has infiltrated your cupboards, wash all your clothing.
Use odour neutralisers
Odour neutralisers help remove lingering smell from the air after everything has been cleaned.
Buy commercial products or use a few bowls of bicarb or cat litter.
Removing the smell of cigarette smoke
If you’re a non-smoker and have a smoking guest to stay – or if you run an Airbnb – it can be useful to follow some basic tips for eliminating the smell of cigarette smoke.
Unfortunately, cigarette smoke clings to carpets and upholstery, including curtains.
Remove any cigarette butts and ashtrays
Throw away leftover cigarette butts and clean ashtrays thoroughly. If they aren’t going to be used again, get rid of the ashtrays.
Air out the house
Open all doors and windows to air out the house for as long as possible.
Have curtains, carpets and upholstery cleaned
Cigarette smoke contains tar that likes to cling to fabric and porous surfaces. Clean all the curtains, carpets and upholstery, preferably using a professional service or a steam cleaner.
Have air conditioners and air filters cleaned
Air conditioners and air filters might have picked up cigarette smoke, so have them cleaned out or serviced.
Use an air purifier
Cigarette smoke is carcinogenic, so an air purifier can help remove the smell and eliminate any harmful odours.
Clean the walls
If the smoking was prolonged and in a closed space, you may need to clean the walls.
Use a detergent to eliminate the tar and then a vinegar mix for the smell.
Use odour absorbers
Odour absorbers like bicarbonate of soda, kitty litter and activated charcoal can help clear the air, especially in closed spaces like cupboards and drawers.
Use air fresheners or scent diffuser
Once all smells are neutralised, an air freshener or scent diffuser can help make the space smell fresh again.
Professional cleaning of carpets, curtains and mattresses
Chelsea Cleaning can help you remove smoke smell from a home. We offer professional cleaning of carpets, curtains, upholstery and mattresses.
Our deep cleaning methods can remove the smell of smoke from soft furnishings and any ash, dirt and dust, stains and common allergens.