How to Get Rid of Smoke Odor From Fire Damaged Homes

Being a victim of a fire is not only traumatising, the cleanup is messy, time consuming, hard work and you may need to clean more than once to be effective. Smoke odour may seep into the walls, into air ducts of your home and into the furnishings. These all require different methods to remove the odour. There are ways to remove and lessen the smoke odour, but it takes patience and hard work. The end result will be worth it.

Seek the advice of a professional restorer after a fire, or talk to your insurance adjuster about services or methods they have heard were successful in the past. According to the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, the only way to remove smoke odour from your air ducts may be to hire a professional. The professionals may use a chemical sealer to rid your air ducts of the obnoxious smell.

Use trisodium phosphate (TSP) to clean your ceilings and walls. You can buy it at a hardware or home improvement store. This is a harsh chemical so make sure you wear heavy-duty rubber cleaning gloves and protective eyewear. Mix 1 tbsp of the TSP with one gallon of warm water. Mix the solution and dampen the sponge. Scrub vigorously on one section at a time, and rinse it off with a cleaning rag and clean water. You may have to repeat this process a few times.

Open all the windows, and let the fresh air flow throughout the home. It is best to do this for at least a few days or longer. Eventually the smoke odour will dissipate with proper cleaning and airing.

Hasten the deodorising process by placing bowls of vinegar, baking soda or powdered activated charcoal throughout the house. These are all natural deodorisers and will help to absorb the odour as stated on the website. You can also buy an odour-reducing product such as Febreeze, but many items such as drapes and upholstered furniture will retain the odour unless you have them dry cleaned, or in the case of upholstered furniture, professionally cleaned.

Rent an ozone machine. These are pricey but can be effective in reducing or eliminating the smoke odour.


Contact the Red Cross, the fire brigade, the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the National Institute for Fire Restoration for further tips on how to rid your home of smoke odour.

Things You'll Need

  • Trisodium phosphate (TSP)
  • 2 plastic buckets
  • Large sponge
  • Heavy duty rubber cleaning gloves
  • Protective eye wear (goggles)
  • Cleaning rags
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Activated charcoal powder
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About the Author

Chelsea Fitzgerald covers topics related to family, health, green living and travel. Before her writing career, she worked in the medical field for 21 years. Fitzgerald studied education at the University of Arkansas and University of Memphis.