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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Smoke Odor Factors

3/16/2021 (Permalink)

Fires can cause extensive damage throughout your home or property which requires the help of professionals to restore. Items can be burnt, soot-covered or damaged by water from firefighting efforts. The smell of soot and smoke can linger for a long time after a fire.


Removing smoke odors from your home or place of business can seem pretty straightforward. However, the amount of time needed to remove the smoke odor will depend on a variety of factors. These include:

  • Types of materials burned: Materials throughout your home react differently to soot and smoke molecules. Porous hard surfaces such as wallpaper, wood, drywall, and paint can become permanently stained or discolored unless treated quickly. Metallic surfaces may begin to rust and corrode with acidic soot. Cleaning chemicals may seep into your carpet as it dries, carrying with it soot and smoke molecules that can cause stains.
  • Type of soot: Dry soot is easier to clean and can be dealt with by using a sponge and a low-alkaline detergent. Oily soot requires the use of special techniques and equipment to be safely removed from your home. SERVPRO has a host of products for every time of soot imaginable.
  • Size of the fire-damaged area: The square footage of a fire loss area usually determines how hard it will be to get clean.
  • Size of the fire: A larger fire can cause more damage, which will in turn lead to more potential for smoke odor throughout your property.
  • Time delay after fire: The longer you wait, the worse the smoke damage will get. Even if the damage seems minimal, most types of materials at home can start to yellow, discolor, rust, or corrode due to the impact of acidic soot or smoke particles. 

Smoke from a fire infiltrates all areas of a home. It can seep into carpeting, furniture, clothing, draperies, books and even woodwork. Often homeowners attempt to dissipate smoke smell with spray deodorizers and scented candles. These tactics only mask the odor of smoke and won't remove it from the home. Smoke particles bury themselves into fabrics, fibers, and other porous surfaces. In order to remove smoke smell completely, items need to be deeply cleaned.


Essentially everything in a home affected by fire smoke needs to be cleaned. Some items may only require thorough airing to remove smoke smell, but most items like carpeting, rugs, curtains, upholstery, and clothing will need a thorough cleaning and possible sanitization.

SERVPRO of Pike / NE Monroe Counties has access to several proprietary deodorizers and cleaning products that help make fire damage and smoke odor "Like it never even happened."

--Michael Smitchel

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