How to Get Rid of a Fire Smoke Smell in the Walls


Smells from a fire usually enter the house in one of three ways; fireplaces, outside fires that enter the home through open windows and doors, or a house fire. Smoke caused by house fires and fireplaces are more difficult to remove than a smoke smell from outside sources. The internal temperature within the home increases, which causes the pores in the walls to open. When the walls cool, the pores close, trapping the smoke odor within the walls.

Things You'll Need

  • Fans
  • Mild dish-washing detergent
  • Vinegar

Externally Introduced Smoke Smell

  • Place fans throughout the home to create strong ventilation throughout the house. Open windows and doors if the external source of the smoke has died out.

  • Pour 1 tbsp. of mild liquid dish-washing detergent into a bowl with 1 qt. of water.

  • Place a dish cloth into the soapy water, and use it to wash the walls. The smoke smell most likely isn't trapped in the walls, so a simple cleaning should get rid of the smell.

  • Allow the walls to air dry.

Fireplace Smoke Smell

  • Wait until summertime or turn up the heat in the home. The purpose of either of these methods is to increase the temperature within the home. Since the fireplace is the cause of the smell, don't use the fireplace to warm the home. Heating the home will cause the pores within the walls to open, and allow you to remove the smoke odor effectively.

  • Place fans throughout the home to create strong ventilation throughout the house. This alone can remove a lot of the smoke odor as it's released by the increased temperature within.

  • Pour 1 cup of vinegar in a bowl with 1 gallon of water.

  • Dip a wash cloth into the vinegar mixture and wipe down the walls. Scrubbing isn't necessary unless there's soot or other dirt particles on the walls. A simple wipe down will allow the vinegar into the pores to eliminate the smoke odors.

  • Allow the walls to air dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your home was subjected to a house fire, then consider calling in professionals. They use a process called thermal fogging. A machine produces fine smoke particles that penetrates surfaces in which odor molecules are hiding. This process allows for a finer cleaning within the wall’s pores.

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