How Long Do Smoke Odours Linger After A Fire?

Wednesday 24th November 2021

Charley Rad

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A house fire is a traumatic event for everyone involved – even if your family is unharmed and your home remains structurally sound.

But did you know that the smell of smoke can hang around for a long time after the flames have been extinguished – even after the property has changed hands? Are you also aware that inhaling soot can damage your family’s health?

Fortunately, it’s possible to neutralise odours by getting your home professionally cleaned. At ICE Cleaning, we’re experts in fire damage cleaning and fire smoke odour removal, and have teams around the country waiting to restore your family home to a safe, pristine condition.

How to identify the smell of smoke

Before your house fire, you probably associated the smell of smoke with happy times around a bonfire. But when the odour is lingering in your home after a blaze, it’s an altogether less pleasant aroma – and a reminder of a deeply traumatic event.

Alternatively, you might have bought a house that smelled of fresh paint and varnish, only for the smoke odours to emerge over time. It can take a while before you recognise what they are: the smell of smoke and soot will be mixed with other odours, depending on what was burned.

Or perhaps you knew the issue when you bought it: auctions of fire-damaged properties at discount prices are common.

If the cause of the fire was electric, you might notice an acrid smell lingering in your home. According to the charity Electrical Safety First, there are more than 20,000 accidental domestic fires of electrical origin in the UK each year, accounting for just over half the total number of house fires.

Burned synthetic fibres, plastic materials and rubber items all have their own distinctive and pungent odours, too.

These odours are likely to be soaked into soft furnishings and textiles, so take a sniff of these to find the chief source of any nasty smell. Soot can get trapped in places you’d never think to look, too: light fittings, for example. You might also find the odour is stronger when you’ve got the heating on or the windows closed.

Professional fire damage cleaning teams are experts in ensuring that every last trace of soot is cleaned up, so your home starts to smell pleasant once more.

The effects of fire smoke on your health

Essentially, smoke contains minuscule particles of soot which will be deposited all over your home in a fire. Breathing in these particles can irritate your airways and lungs, especially if you suffer from an underlying condition such as asthma.

Depending on what was burned, smoke could contain other chemicals, too, which might be toxic. These can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin into your bloodstream, potentially causing health problems immediately or further down the line. Some are even known to be carcinogenic, or cancer-causing.

In the short term, you might find yourself coughing a lot, or growing hoarse or short of breath. You could notice your skin or eyes becoming dry or irritated. You could also develop headaches or feel nauseous.

For more information on the effects of smoke inhalation on your health, please click here.

Who to call for help

If a fire breaks out in your home, your first call should of course be to the emergency services. They’ll fight the flames, check your building is safe, and provide medical attention to your family.

But once the emergency is under control, you need to tackle the fire smoke odours as quickly as possible.

The longer you leave smoke and soot, the more they will spread over your entire home. They will seep into soft furnishings and textiles within hours, and become harder to shift. In time, they can penetrate hard surfaces, too, and affect the very fabric of your building.

Don’t despair – they can be removed!

As well as soot, fires leave behind ash. This comprises larger particles, so they don’t spread around your home, but stay where the burning took place. However, they can still present a health hazard, particularly for people with existing respiratory issues.

So even if you don’t think there’s a problem, you need to hire fire smoke odour removal experts who can deep clean your home from top to bottom, making sure it’s safe for you and your family to return. Our teams have the personal protective equipment, specialist tools, in-depth training and experience needed to clean your home while keeping everyone safe.

The process of fire smoke odour removal

The first step is to ventilate the house: opening doors and windows. You can do this while you wait for our team to arrive.

You could also start to remove any soft furnishings and textiles. They’ll need professional cleaning later on, but getting them away from the soot and smoke is a good start.

Our team can arrive at your home within an hour of your call, ready to take over. We’ll deep clean from top to bottom, paying attention to areas you hadn’t even thought of.

We’ll mop all floors and wipe down all hard services – we may need to do so several times to neutralise all odours.

While it’s best to get started on fire smoke odour removal work straight away, we can still help even if you call us well after the event. The cleaning operation might take longer, but your home will soon smell fresh and clean again.

Get in touch

Contact the team today on enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk or [PHONE] to see how we can help with your fire smoke odour removal needs.

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Zoe Dunning

Zoe Dunning

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