GOOD Home is a biweekly column published in partnership with PuroClean of Wilton and Ridgefield about home safety, maintenance, weather preparedness, and damage prevention, with the goal to save homeowners from the hassle and headaches of severe property damage. Located in south Wilton (24 Danbury Rd., Suite 204), PuroClean provides 24/7 water damage remediation, fire and smoke restoration, and mold and biohazard removal services to the Fairfield County community and across southwest CT and Northeastern Westchester County.
If you’ve ever burned something, you may realize that the odor of smoke can quickly fill a house. Consider the last time you burned some popcorn or overcooked a dish in the oven. The lingering smells lasted for hours, maybe even days. Smoke residue sticks around long after a fire is out. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to remove smoke odor from house.
Removing smoke odor from a house following a fire is difficult and requires more than just some fresh air or scented candles. To guarantee the smoke smells are truly gone, the cleanup procedure must be carried out with specialized equipment and techniques that only a professional disaster restoration company can provide. As a result, we do not recommend that homeowners attempt to perform this task themselves. The steps involved in smoke damage repair are shown below.
Different Types of Smoke Odor
Smoke results from incomplete combustion and consists of persistent smoke particles (soot), oils, and gases. The pungent smoke odors come from volatile molecules that materials release when burning.
Smoke odors can result from burning protein (meat), natural materials (wood, cotton, etc.), synthetic materials (e.g., plastic, nylon), and more. With so many flammable substances, the restoration process requires technical knowledge and complex procedures. There are three types of smoke that can cause odor damage in a home:
- Wet Smoke: This type of smoke is heavy and sticky, and it’s often caused by burning rubber or plastic. The remediation process for wet smoke typically includes using air movers and dehumidifiers to remove the moisture from the affected area, followed by thorough cleaning and disinfecting.
- Dry Smoke: This type of smoke is usually caused by burning paper or wood. It’s lighter than wet smoke and not as difficult to remove. The remediation process for dry smoke usually includes thorough cleaning and the use of air purifiers to remove the tiny smoke particles from the air.
- Protein Smoke: This type of smoke is caused by burning food or other organic materials. It’s very difficult to remove and usually requires professional ozone treatment or thermal fogging to completely eliminate the odor.
Health Issues Caused by Smoke Odor
Inhaling smoke particles can cause a number of health problems, including respiratory irritation, coughing, and difficulty breathing. The particles can also aggravate existing conditions, such as asthma and emphysema.
If you or anyone in your home is experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to leave the house immediately and seek medical attention.
How to Remove Smoke Odor From House After a Fire
The smoke smell after a fire can be overwhelming and nauseating. It can also create health hazards, so it’s important to take steps to eliminate smoke smells as soon as possible. Here are some tips to remove smoke smell after a fire:
Removing the source of the problem: The first and most important step in smoke odor removal is to remove the source of the odor. This involves removing burnt items, such as cabinets, furniture, drywall, and non-salvageable contents. The items can be either discarded or restored, depending on the amount of fire damage.
Cleaning the salvageable contents: Technicians clean the salvageable items with appropriate products. They pressure wash, scrub, and disinfect exterior surfaces like walls, windows, and decks. Interior walls and hard surfaces can be cleaned with mild soap and then rinsed thoroughly. Inside affected cabinets, drawers, and closets can also be professionally cleaned, and household items washed, too. Carpets, furniture, and upholstery are usually cleaned off-site. Check out how to clean fabrics after a home fire.
Cleaning the air ducts: Smoke, soot, and odors from a fire will penetrate the duct system and any dust or other particles inside of that system. Thus, cleaning the ducts early in the smoke smell removal process is essential to prevent the HVAC system from recontaminating areas that have been cleaned. Of course, only professionals should clean the ductwork, as it involves specialized equipment and procedures.
Removing the smoke smell: The final stage is removing those lingering odors. Although baking soda might help in small areas, a lot more is needed to complete this job fully. To thoroughly accomplish this task, a variety of techniques can be utilized, which all share a common goal: complete smoke odor removal. Here are some examples of proven methods:
- Air Scrubbing: A technician will use high-efficiency particulate arrestor (HEPA) air scrubbers, which can remove 99.97% of particulates from the air. Eliminating these airborne particulates can also remove additional source materials for odors, improving your air quality.
- Thermal Fogging: Fogging uses a petroleum-based deodorizer emitted via a thermal fogging unit. It fills the affected area with a mist-like deodorizer. Fogging counteracts odorous molecules by using fragrance modification for permanent odor neutralization. Before fogging, technicians put out any smoldering flames. Everyone in the treatment area must wear respiratory protection equipment or leave the area.
- Vapor Modification: This method uses an aromatic compound vaporized from a sealed plastic container that’s then dispersed into the air by a fan or blower. The mineral oils used in this process are non-toxic, non-oily, non-flammable, and non-explosive. Therefore, customers can choose to remain in or near an area during the smoke smell removal process. The deodorizer also penetrates affected porous contents like upholstery and drapery.
- Ozone Generation: This is one of the most popular and familiar processes for removing airborne smoke odor molecules, including hard-to-neutralize protein smoke. Ozone is a powerful oxidizer that neutralizes odorous molecules by releasing additional oxygen into the air. Ozone, while an effective odor remover, is not an “air purifier.” Customers should not be present when an ozone generator is in operation. Personnel should enter the treatment area only briefly to turn the ozone generator on or off. Ozone works best in a controlled environment, such as an ozone chamber. Within the contained chamber, odorous contents can be subjected to 24-48 hours of ozone gas.
Need Smoke Odor Removal? Call Your Local PuroClean 24/7!
The process of smoke smell removal is a complex one that must be done efficiently to be successful. Call your local PuroClean office for professional smoke damage restoration. From cigarette smoke to stubborn smoke odor after a fire, we have the necessary training, equipment, and experience to rescue and restore your home after smoke damage. To connect with your local PuroClean office today, look us up on Linkedin, Facebook or Instagram; call us at 475.277.2400; or email us.