The smell of smoke can be an extremely invasive and unpleasant odor that lingers in your home or office building. Removing the smell requires processes that deal directly with the source of the problem. In the information below, we’re going to help you understand why smoke odors have such a lasting presence in indoor environments. In addition, we’ll outline eight of the most effective methods to remove the smell of smoke from your indoor spaces.
Why Does the Smell of Smoke Linger in Your Home or Place of Business?
The smell of smoke can come from a variety of different sources. One of the most common sources comes from cigarette smoke, which can result in odors that linger on clothing, furniture, curtains, books, floors, and walls. This lingering effect also applies to smoke odors that come from nearby fires or cooking accidents.
You may be wondering why the smell of smoke festers in indoor environments. This lasting effect is caused by microscopic molecules of oil and tar that are produced with the smoke. These particles have the ability to cling to surfaces and materials that they land on. These bits of oil and tar allow the smell to persist long after the smoke has left.
While most commercial air fresheners can offer temporary relief from smoke odors, they do not present an effective solution for removing the pollutants that cause the smell in the first place. They simply mask the smell. To permanently remove the smell of smoke from your home or indoor space, you have to remove and neutralize the source of the odor. Here are eight methods of removing smoke and its lingering smell.
1. Fresh Air
One of the most immediate ways that you can reduce and remove the smell of smoke from your home or office space is by opening up windows. By placing a box fan in each window facing outward, you can forcefully pull the smoky air out of your interior space and into the outdoor environment. In addition, utilizing the UV rays of the sun helps remove the smell of smoke from furniture, books, and clothing. If your furniture or clothing contains delicate fabrics or dyes, the best course of action is to air out these materials in an area with a lot of shade.
White vinegar offers a very effective option for neutralizing the smell of smoke at its source. Because vinegar is very acidic, it helps alter the smoke molecules in a way that substantially reduces their odor. While you may worry about the pungent odor that vinegar presents, the smell leaves when you wipe it away or when it dries.
You can use vinegar in a few different ways to remove smoke odors. Leaving several bowls of white vinegar in the room overnight can substantially reduce the smell in that space. By simmering vinegar in a pot or saucepan for about an hour or two, the neutralization process can become more powerful. The resulting steam will allow the vinegar vapors to travel more quickly through the room and neutralize them more effectively.
Replacing laundry detergent with a half cup of vinegar can safely remove the smell of smoke from tainted clothing and bedding materials without harming fabrics. Since commercial laundry detergent is alkaline, it doesn’t remove the smell of smoke as effectively as acidic vinegar.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a non-toxic product that can effectively deodorize the smell of smoke in your indoor space. Its ability to absorb odor-causing molecules allows it to neutralize pollutants such as smoke.
Just like vinegar, leaving several bowls of baking soda in a room for 24 hours can effectively absorb any present odor-causing particles. If you have a carpet or rugs in the home, consider sprinkling baking soda on them and letting them sit for a minimum of two hours before vacuuming them up. A large garbage bag with half a cup of baking soda can help neutralize smoke odors on smaller items such as books, clothing, and decorations. Simply place the items in the garbage bag, tightly closing the bag. Let everything sit in the bag overnight before removing it.
4. Activated Charcoal
The carbon molecules in non-ignited charcoal trap the molecules that cause smoke odors. Activated charcoal is the best option for neutralizing smoke odors. When applying activated charcoal, it’s important to store it in porous or open bags. Directly applying activated charcoal to furniture or carpets can lead to considerable stains on your materials.
Concentrated heat can melt the oil and tar particles that produce smoke odors. As such, steam cleaning your walls, floors, and upholstery can effectively neutralize the smell of smoke. Once the steaming process is complete, the odor-causing particles can be easily removed with a cloth or sponge. When applying steam, it’s important to constantly move the steamer to avoid saturation. Saturation can damage delicate materials, and over-saturation can even melt drywall if you aren’t careful. It’s a good idea to spot-test a small area before applying steam to the whole space.
6. Air Purifiers
Unfortunately, a lot of air purification devices and filters can be somewhat ineffective at removing gaseous pollutants like cigarette smoke. However, air filters that utilize activated charcoal filters can provide an effective means of removing smoke odors caused by cigarette smoke. You can even purchase these filters for your HVAC system.
7. HVAC Air Filter Replacement
Even though your HVAC air filters may not remove all of the smoke odors that are present, updating your filters is an important aspect of removing the smell. Updated filters not only ensure that you have optimal ventilation to remove the smell, but old and dirty filters have the potential to retain any odor-causing pollutants.
Replacing your HVAC filters is a top priority if you want to remove the pollutants that cause smoke odors. Some HVAC systems can utilize HEPA filters, which can be very helpful in removing smoke odors from your indoor environment. Consulting a specialist can help you figure out if your HVAC unit is compatible with HEPA filters.
8. Smoke Remediation Specialists
Sometimes severe smoke damage requires methods and materials that the general public doesn’t have access to. If you attempt to remove the smell of smoke on your own, you may not have the expertise to utilize the above methods in an effective manner. You also want to make sure that you’re keeping yourself and your family safe during the cleanup process. Smoke remediation specialists can guarantee that the smell of smoke is removed from your home or place of business in a safe and effective manner.
At Pur360, we provide extensive odor removal services in Chicago and the neighboring areas. Our specialists work with the most effective odor-removing agents to ensure that all traces of smoke odor are eliminated. If you are struggling with the smell of smoke in your home, we invite you to contact our team at Pur360 by phone or through our online contact form. Other services we provide include drywall removal and repair, carpet removal and disposal, and attic stain removal.