Are Smoke Odours Dangerous In A Commercial Kitchen?

Tuesday 14th November 2023

Ellen Warren

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Kitchen staff next to a pot producing smoke


If you have noticed a lingering smell of smoke in your kitchen long after cooking, you may be exposed to dangerous particles. Smoke odours can continue to linger, seeping into walls, fabrics, and cooking ware. This smell is potentially harmful to both you and your workplace.

At ICE Cleaning, we offer smoke odour removal services with commercial kitchen cleaning. Our technicians can deep clean your restaurant, café, pub, or bar, removing lingering smoke odours from cigarettes, kitchen fires, or cooking incidents.

Read on to learn more about preventing smoke damage in kitchens and how you should tackle it.

Understanding smoke odours

Smoke odours are complex. They are a blend of countless compounds released when things burn but linger due to certain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that cling to surfaces and remain in the air.

The specific scent depends on what is burning and how it burns. For instance, wood smoke smells different from plastic because each material produces distinct VOCs.

This stubborn smell is unpleasant and can be harmful with prolonged exposure, causing headaches or respiratory issues. So, understanding its nature helps us fix this problem effectively.

Types of smoke damage in kitchens

Kitchen smoke damage often presents itself in three forms: surface, structural, and odour-related. Surface damage is visible to the naked eye; it is a grimy layer that taints walls, appliances, and countertops.

Structural damage affects the kitchen’s infrastructure - damaging cabinets, melting plastic materials, and even causing harm to electrical systems. It requires expert attention for proper restoration.

Lastly, odours caused by burnt food or plastics linger long afterwards. These smoke smells seep into fabrics like clothing or dishrags and wall surfaces, making them challenging to eliminate without professional help.

The danger of smoke in commercial kitchens

Commercial kitchens face the persistent threat of smoke due to the cooking and equipment. Smoke carries substantial risks to both staff and their personal belongings. If left unchecked, it could lead to a fire.

Beyond visible damage, smoke infiltrates everything – from kitchen utensils to ventilation systems. Extraction fans or kitchen vents can build up grease and smoke, leading to a failure to remove smoke and posing a fire hazard. Over time, this results in costly repairs or replacements.

Prolonged exposure may cause respiratory issues among staff members due to respiratory tract infections, leading to low staff attendance and potentially increasing the risk of workplace accidents.

How smoke damages a commercial kitchen

Smoke damage in a kitchen goes beyond mere surface discolouration. It leaves behind unsightly marks on your walls and ceilings and causes hidden structural harm that could compromise workplace safety.

The heat from smoke can warp or melt plastic appliances, crack tiles, and cause cabinets to expand or shrink.

Professional kitchen vents and fans can also become damaged, reducing their capacity and posing a health hazard. This type of structural damage is not always visible at first glance but is nonetheless severe.

In addition to physical degradation, smoke leaves behind persistent odours that permeate every surface. These smells indicate toxic residues lurking within surfaces, requiring expert removal methods from a professional cleaning company.

Health risks associated with inhaling smoke

Inhaling smoke presents a host of health risks. Breathing in smoke can cause a range of short-term issues, including eye and throat irritation, coughing, and difficulty breathing.

Long-term exposure can lead to more serious problems such as chronic respiratory disease, lung cancer, or heart conditions. Smoke in cooking areas leads to property damage due to its caustic nature and may cause considerable destruction over time. 

Therefore, getting professional help for smoke odour removal is vital both for preserving good health and maintaining kitchen conditions. Experts can scrub the air in your commercial kitchen and clean all areas to ensure all smoke odours are removed.

Preventing smoke damage in your commercial kitchen

Preventing smoke damage in your kitchen is integral to maintaining its aesthetic and functionality. Keeping the kitchen looking nice is only part of it - ensuring that everyone who uses it remains safe and healthy is also a must. Some tips to remember include:

  • Regular cleaning helps to minimise smoke residue build-up
  • Clean your oven regularly 
  • Always use extractor fans when cooking to help disperse smoke
  • Avoid overheating food
  • Keep an eye on heat levels while cooking, especially when using oil or frying foods
  • Have smoke alarms fitted

Frequently asked questions

What neutralises the smell of smoke?

Air purifiers and good ventilation can remove the smell, but it will require professional air quality cleaning.

Can smoke smells be removed?

Deep cleaning conducted by professionals can sanitise surfaces and fabrics. Combined with good ventilation, you can help remove the smell of smoke.

Will odour sprays remove the smoke smell?

Odour sprays like Febreze can mask smoke odours for a short time, but these do not eliminate the smoke particles or VOCs.

Get in touch

If your commercial kitchen has a lingering smell of smoke or fire, get in touch with our team today at ICE Cleaning. Our experts conduct smoke odour removal services using industrial-grade solutions and innovative technology to remove smoke particles from the air and porous surfaces.

Our support team are available 24/7, 365 days a year, and can deploy emergency cleaning teams to your location within a few hours. If you would like to book a site survey or inquire about a no-obligation quote, contact us at 0208 066 0360 or

Reilly Peters

Reilly Peters

Business Development Manager

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