Getting rid of smoke smell

So … In case any of you were considering it, waking up at 6 am to your house on fire is NOT fun.

Everyone is alright, thankfully. The fire never got out of the walls, so none of our possessions were burned. We lost some books to water damage, but EVERYTHING smells like an ashtray. Luckily, we don’t have carpet, and don’t have a lot of “soft” furniture - only the couch and futon, I think. Our bedroom was on the far side of the house, so I think our mattress might be alright.

The couch cushion covers can be washed, but how do I get the smell out of the cushions themselves? What about hard things like figurines and books? Anyone have any other advice? Right now I feel like the smoke smell is still trapped in my nose because I’m at work, have showered twice and am in clean clothes and I still smell it.

Also, I believe the question has been asked here before:
Q: what do you grab when you only have a few seconds to get out of your house?
A: Cats and guitar.

I’m glad you’re OK.

I occasionally have the same problem, but with cigarette smoke, which is not nearly as bad.

Febreeze the soft furniture.

Febreeze Air Effects the air.

Clean the place. (Yes, really.)

Candles, candles, candles. Or not. Don’t set the place on fire again.

You can try a few rounds of baking soda on the furniture-- sprinkle it on, let it sit for a little bit, then vacuum it off. In fact, I’d probably alternate regular baking soda, then that sprinkly smelly stuff they sell for carpets (so it’ll add some perfume, too). If the smell is particularly strong, you may want to wet the cushions (LIGHTLY, like just a little bit), then do the baking soda-- that way it’ll stick better (once it dries, it’ll vacuum right off).

Even though your walls didn’t burn, they probably absorbed some of the funk. As such, a good wall washing will probably make a positive change for the smell of your house. A simple mixture of 1 gallon of warm water, 1/2 cup plain ammonia, 1/4 cup white vinegar, and 1/4 cup washing soda (which can be found in the laundry additives area of supermarkets) has worked for me in the past.

I’ve heard that coffee grounds can absorb smoke smell. Never tried it myself, though.

There are companies that specialize in this, if your insurance would cover the cost.

Febreeze them and let them sit outside in the sun for a day or two.

I have a stroller I’m trying to sell, and it was in my parents’ house for a couple months, sharing the air with my two-packs-a-day dad. Febreeze and 3 days in the sun (I brought it inside at night) did the trick.

When I quit smoking I just washed everything I could put in the washing machine. I hung my bed quilt out to dry. I bought some powdered carpet deoderizer and used that on the carpets and upholstery a few times. I washed my walls.

Eventually the smell went away. It was hard to tell exactly when, though, as my sense of smell was changing too.

This is what we did when we had a fire (small).
These guys are maniacs - they scrubbed the grout in the kitchen tile for hours, they sent all the window treatments to a special place to be cleaned, they repainted the entire interior of the house after putting on three coats of Kills, they emptied and scrubbed the interior and exterior of each and every kitchen cabinet, and on and on…

I told my wife we were gonna set fire to the house every three years from now on just for the hell of it.

Ozone generator. You can rent them

Thanks all. It was a rental, and we didn’t yet have insurance (just moved in last week), but we’re hoping the property owner’s insurance will provide for professional cleaners.

Thanks for the info on the wall-washing and possible painting.

We’re living in a hotel for the next few days, and I’m astounded at how much even plastic things have absorbed the smell. I assumed it would be in the fabrics, but even my shampoo bottle stinks.

Can I just add a little PSA here? If you have pets, especially cats, keep your carrier somewhere handy. We usually store ours in the basement or shed, but luckily I’d been too lazy to put it up after our move. It was literally less than two minutes from when I woke up to when I had to get out of the house because I couldn’t breathe. If the carrier hadn’t been there, I’d have had to leave one of our cats behind (they would have ended up being alright, but there’s never a guarantee).

I’ve never had a real house fire, but Febreezing the hell out of things and letting them get lots of sun worked for getting cigarette smell out of clothes I’d taken with me to visit my chain-smoking parents. The cats will generally de-smoke themselves. :slight_smile:

I know how you feel about the pets, though. The one time we thought something might have been on fire was when one of my roommates tried to sear some meat on a rusty cast iron griddle that had been covered with aluminum foil, and inadvertently discovered the recipe for Porkchops Thermite. The first thing I did when the cloud of smoke came roiling up and set off the alarm was grab the rat cage. Rats, it turns out, don’t give a fig where they are as long as they’re with Mommy, so he got to frolic on the picnic table on the courtyard while the other inhabitants of the apartment tried to work out why everything inside smelled like flash paper. :slight_smile: