How can I get the smell of wood smoke out of my house?

The odour of wood smoke is evident in homes after a fire dies out. This is because the powerful updraft caused by the fire reverses in the flue, and allows the odour and air to flow down into the home interior when the fire is out. This wood smoke odour is offensive to many people. Hiring the services of a chimney sweep may not rid the home of the odour since soaked-in creosote and soot still remain in the chimney. Taking steps to reduce the downdraft in the flue is an effective way to get rid of the odour and prevent it from recurring.

Shut the fireplace damper just as soon as the fire dies down. This helps prevent the down draft.

Purchase a glass firescreen that fits tightly around your fireplace opening. This helps reduce airflow coming down the flue.

Inspect your oil or gas furnace, wood stove or water heater to ensure they are not allowing excess air out of your home. If so, this causes a demand for replacement air inside the flue.

Burn only hardwood in your fireplace. It burns more slowly and produces less wood smoke than softwood because it is denser. The hardwoods also create more heat energy.

Place bowls of distilled white vinegar or baking soda around your home to help neutralise and absorb the odour of wood smoke or other offensive smells. Or pour 2 to 3 inches of activated charcoal into empty cardboard boxes set throughout the room or home. Leave the bowls or boxes out overnight for the best results.


Top-sealing dampers close at the top of your chimney instead of directly above the fireplace. Consider buying one of these to prevent the downdraft in your flue when no fire is burning. Have your fireplace inspected annually and cleaned. This ensures the safety of your family and helps the wood to burn cleaner. Activated charcoal powder is available at hardware, pet or discount stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Tight-fitting glass firescreen
  • Hardwood firewood
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Small bowls
  • Activated charcoal powder
  • Empty cardboard boxes
  • Top-sealing damper (optional)
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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.