Removing Smoke Smell: How to Remove Soot Stains and Smoke Odors from Carpeting, Clothes, Upholstery, and Other Fabrics After a Fire
Fires often produce soot and smoke that can stain almost any surface in your property. Smoke smell can linger for weeks or months and may even permanently set into fabrics. It takes the right process to properly clean smoke damaged clothes, carpeting, and upholstery. In order to remove soot stains and smoke odors from fabric, you need to properly handle fire damaged fabrics and using the right detergents for the material. From removing soot stains to getting fire smoke out of clothes, learn how to clean clothes and other fabrics after a fire.
How to Remove Soot Stains and Smoke Smell From Fabric
Fires can cause a great deal of damage to your home or business and your first priority is usually securing and restoring structural elements. However, you are also likely to have smoke and soot strained fabrics that need to be cleaned as well.
While you may think vacuuming carpeting or washing clothes will remove smoke and soot, they may actually make the situation worse. Regular vacuums can push soot further into carpet fibers. A regular wash cycle may not remove stains and your dryer can actually lock in smoke smells and soot stains permanently.
How to Remove Soot From Clothes
Wash clothes using a cup of regular laundry detergent mixed with a cup of distilled white vinegar and half a cup of oxygen-based bleach. It may take several cycles to completely remove the stain. Avoid drying until the stain is gone. Take dry clean only items to a professional cleaner that specializes in fire-damaged items.
How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Clothes
Soak clothes in your washing machine with one cup of baking soda for several hours or even overnight, then wash as normal. Repeat as necessary. Avoid drying clothes until the smoke smell is completely gone.
How to Remove Soot From Carpeting
Vacuum soot up with a shop vacuum, then gently rub out stains using dish soap. Rinse with clean water and allow to air dry before vacuuming to restore your carpet pile.
How to Get Smoke Smell From Carpeting
Sprinkle dry, clean carpeting with baking soda and gently rub it into the carpet fibers. Allow the baking soda to work for up to 12 hours, then vacuum. Repeat as necessary.
How to Remove Soot From Upholstery
Like carpeting, begin by vacuuming up the soot with a shop vacuum. Use dish soap to gently rub out stains, rinse with clean water, and allow the fabric to air dry.
How to Get Smoke Smell From Upholstery
Sprinkle dry, clean upholstery with baking soda and gently rub it into the fabric. While you can vacuum the baking soda up, it isn’t required. Repeat as necessary.
Cleaning Soot and Smoke Odors from Carpet
Removing smoke odors and soot from carpeting is often the most challenging because of the size. In most cases, you won’t be able to remove the carpeting from the room, so you will need to clean and deodorize it in place.
Vacuum Soot Out of Carpeting
Begin by removing as much soot as possible using a shop vac with a hose attachment. Limit the foot traffic on carpeting while cleaning to prevent the stains from setting or spreading. Start vacuuming from an unstained area and move slowly across the stain.
Vacuum in multiple directions to collect as much soot as possible, but void rubbing the hose against the carpet to prevent pushing the soot in deeper. Depending on the extent of the soot damage to the carpeting, vacuuming alone may not remove soot stains.
Use Dish Soap to Remove Soot Stains
To remove soot stains from your carpeting, mix a tablespoon of dish soap with two cups of warm water. Starting from the outside of the stain and working in, use a soft-bristled brush to work the soap solution into the carpeting.
Use a clean, dry towel or cloth to soak up as much water as possible, then blot the stain with a damp towel. Allow your carpeting to air dry completely before using your vacuum cleaner to restore the carpet pile.
Remove Smoke Odors From Carpet With Baking Soda
To remove smoke odors from carpeting, sprinkle baking soda across the entire surface and gently rub it in. Do not rub baking soda into your carpet if you have not removed soot stains, as will cause them to spread and push stains deeper into your carpeting.
Allow the baking soda to sit in your carpeting for at least two hours, then vacuum it up. Depending on the severity of the smoke odors in your carpet, you may need to repeat the process several times.
Removing Soot and Smoke Odors From Upholstery
Removing soot stains and smoke odors from upholstery is basically the same process as with carpeting.
Cleaning Soot Stains From Upholstered Furniture
Begin by vacuuming with a shop vac, making sure to keep the hose above the surface of the upholstery. Then use a dish soap and water solution to gently remove soot stains. Instead of the soft-bristled brush, use a soft towel or sponge.
Allow the upholstery to dry thoroughly before attempting to remove smoke odors. While air drying outdoors is best, you can speed up the process with a fan. Avoid using heat, as it can make getting rid of smoke odors more difficult.
Eliminate Smoke Odors From Upholstery
To remove smoke odors from upholstered furniture, sprinkle with baking soda and gently rub in. While you can vacuum up the baking soda with a hand vac or hose attachment, it’s also okay to just leave it on the upholstery. Apply more baking soda as necessary to remove the smoke smell from the upholstery.
Cleaning Soot Stains and Smoke Smells from Clothing
Make sure you read the washing instructions thoroughly when trying to remove soot and smoke odors. Using the wrong method will not remove smoke odors and soot stains and may actually cause them to set in.
Removing Smoke Odors and Soot Stains From Clothing
For any clothing item that is machine washable, separate by like colors and washing methods first. In addition to your regular laundry detergent, add a cup of distilled white vinegar and half a cup of oxygen-based bleach.
In order to remove soot and smoke odors from clothing, it’s best to load the machine with only a few items at a time as well. Once the wash cycle finishes, check that the soot stain and smoke odor have been removed. If the clothing still shows signs of stains, repeat the wash cycle as outlined above.
However, if only the smoke odor remains, allow the washing machine to fill completely and dissolve one cup of baking soda in the water. Then completely submerge the smoky clothing and all them to soak for at least two hours or even overnight. Keep the washing machine lid open to prevent the cycle from running.
After allowing the clothes to soak, add regular laundry detergent and allow the wash cycle to resume. Add another cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle for added smoke smell removal. It may take as many as four additional wash cycles with baking soda to completely remove the smoke odor from your clothes.
Drying Clothes After Removing Smoke Odors and Soot Stains
Once you have gotten the soot stains and smoke odors out of your clothes, you can finally dry them. Ideally, you should hang them outside to dry. The fresh air and sunshine will help eliminate any trace of smoke odor and leave them smelling great.
However, you can also use the low setting on your dryer too. While you may be tempted to use scented dryer sheets, they aren’t designed to cover up smoke odors. In fact, they could actually combine with the smoke odor to create new, worse smells. Unscented or regular scent dryer sheets are your best option.
Handling Dry Clean Only Items
For dry clean only clothing items that have soot stains, your best option is to take them to a professional that specializes in removing fire and smoke damage. If the item only has a smoke smell, you can hang it outside or use a home dry cleaning product. However, you should avoid washing dry clean only clothing, as it may damage the garment and help set in the stain or odor.
Getting Smoke Smells and Soot Out of Other Washable Fabrics
Like your clothing, you can remove soot and smoke odors from any other washable fabric in the same way. Wash towels, sheets, table clothes, and even washable curtains and sheets that have smoke odors or soot stains in laundry detergent, white vinegar, and an oxygen-based bleach.
As necessary, soak fabrics with smoke odors in baking soda overnight before re-washing. Again, it’s best to hang dry items outside in the fresh air, but running on the low setting in your dryer will work too. Avoid putting fabrics in your dryer until after the smoke odor is completely removed.
Professional Soot and Smoke Removal Services
Unfortunately, even after repeated cleanings and deodorizing, some fabric may still have soot stains and smoke smells. The professional fire damage restoration companies in the Restoration Local network are experienced in removing soot and smoke after residential and commercial fires.
They have the equipment and knowledge to remove tough soot stains and stubborn smoke odors from fabrics, carpeting, and upholstery. Plus, they provide complete fire restoration services, including cleaning and reconstruction.
Whether you need fabrics cleaned or your kitchen remodeled after a fire, they can help. Locate a qualified fire damage restoration specialist near you or call 1-888-443-3110 to speak with the nearest on-call company now. All of our on-call fire restoration companies offer 24-hour emergency services, 30-minute response time, and a free, no-obligation estimate.