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How to remove the creosote smell

Updated February 21, 2017

Creosote, a carbon that builds up in fireplaces, is flammable, and if it builds up enough, it can cause a chimney fire that can destroy your home. Avoid this risk by regularly cleaning your chimney and ensuring it is vented properly. Creosote also emits a strong smell that many associate with a wood-burning fire. The smell may remain even after you've removed dangerous build-up from your chimney. Fortunately, you can remove this smell from your home.

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Remove smell from fireplace

  1. Place an old sheet around the fireplace so the ash from it does not damage your flooring.

  2. Sweep up as much of the ash as possible and discard.

  3. Put on gloves and goggles to protect yourself from the cleaning solution. Trisodium phosphate may irritate some individuals.

  4. Dilute trisodium phosphate with water according to the manufacturer's instructions. Mix the solution until all of the trisodium phosphate has dissolved.

  5. Pour the solution into a spray bottle. Spray until you've soaked the fireplace floor and walls and all of the remaining ash.

  6. Scrub the fireplace floor and walls with a medium-bristle brush to loosen the creosote and ash.

  7. Wipe up the creosote and cleaning solution with clean cloths.

  8. Dampen a clean cloth with clear water and run it over the entire surface to rinse away as much of the cleaning solution as possible.

Remove smell from room

  1. Fill a bowl full of distilled white vinegar.

  2. Put the bowl in the centre of the room. The white vinegar will neutralise the smell in the room.

  3. Leave the bowl alone for at least 24 hours.

  4. Repeat the process if the smell still remains. If the room is large, use two bowls and place them on opposite ends of the room.

Furniture and carpets

  1. Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda over the affected piece of furniture or carpet.

  2. Let the bicarbonate of soda sit for at least two hours. The bicarbonate of soda will absorb the creosote smell from the item.

  3. Vacuum up the bicarbonate of soda. Repeat the process if the smell remains.

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Things You'll Need

  • Dust sheets
  • Broom
  • Dustpan
  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Cloths
  • Brush
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Bowl
  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Vacuum

About the Author

Kaye Wagner has been working in the fields of journalism and public relations since 2006 and is a recipient of a National Hearst Award. She is particularly interested in home-and-garden projects, as well as beauty and fashion writing. An avid traveler, she also writes travel reviews and guides. Wagner earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brigham Young University.

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