Smoke odors linger long after the initial cause is gone. The particles from the smoke adhere to both hard and soft surfaces and sometimes penetrate deeply. Whether you are combating tobacco smoke or smoke from a fire, the entire home requires a deep cleaning to remove all residue. In extreme cases carpets, padding, drapes and upholstery may require replacing, but in most cases thorough cleaning combined with odor neutralizing strategies eliminates the smoky smell.
Things You'll Need
Fabric softener sheets
Open all windows in the home. Turn on ventilation fans in the bathroom and kitchen. Fresh air clears out some of the smoke odor.
Spray all hard surfaces, including walls, ceilings and countertops, with an all-purpose ammonia-based cleaner. Wipe the surfaces down with a clean rag to remove smoke residue and minimize the smell. Use a cleaner formulated for wood when cleaning woodwork or wood furniture.
Remove light bulbs from their fixtures. Wipe the bulbs with a damp cloth and clean the fixture covers with a damp cloth or the all-purpose cleaner. Dry completely before reinstalling and using the bulb. Smoke residue on light bulbs is released when the bulbs heat up.
Replace the air and furnace filters in the home. Old filters recirculate the smoke odors they collected.
Wash curtains and slipcovers to remove smoke residue. Verify cleaning instructions on the care label; some curtains may require dry cleaning.
Shampoo the carpet and upholstery to remove deeply embedded smoke odors. Refer to the upholstery care label for proper cleaning.
Place small items or washed clothing that still smells of smoke in a sealed bag with one or two scented dryer sheets. The dryer sheets absorb the odors over a two- or three-day period.
Fill bowls with white vinegar. Place the bowls in the corners of the room to absorb the remaining odors. Replace the vinegar every two or three days until the odor is gone.
A HEPA filter can further help remove smoke odors. Ozone generators also remove smoke odors, but these can be dangerous unless all safety precautions are followed.