Is The Smell Of Smoke Harmful?

Thursday 15th December 2022

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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cigarette stubbed out on wall CONTENTS

Smoke odour tends to linger long after a fire or cigarette has been put out. But the aroma is not just unpleasant, it could also be dangerous, and risk you and your loved ones’ health. Worse still, it is a difficult smell to remove.

Here at ICE Cleaning, our odour removal specialists can get rid of fire smoke odour and cigarette smoke smells. They can efficiently tackle the cause and restore your property to a safe, clean, and fresh home.

Keep reading to find out why a smoke smell in your home is hazardous, and how to get rid of it.

Cigarette smoke odour

What causes it?

The effects of inhaling second-hand smoke are well known. But third-hand smoke – where the residue sticks to surfaces, like upholstery, clothes, walls, and ceilings – can be just as damaging to your health. This is what makes smokers’ homes smell like cigarettes.

Is it harmful?

Third-hand smoke can easily be inhaled, absorbed through the skin, or even ingested through hand-to-mouth contact. It might damage DNA, increase the risk of cancer, and cause respiratory conditions, like asthma. It is especially dangerous for children who are more likely to ingest it.

Unlike second-hand smoke, which eventually dissipates, it will continue to give off chemicals and cancer-causing gases. You are, therefore, putting yourself and others in danger for a long period of time.

Fire smoke odour

What causes it?

When a fire breaks out in your home, tiny smoke particles fill your home and settle into the surfaces, just like third-hand smoke. Even after the fire and smoke damage has been cleaned up by professionals, these particles can remain in your home and continue to make it smell.

Is it dangerous?

Smoke contains toxic chemicals and can cause asphyxiation and chemical irritation when inhaled. Prolonged exposure to the tiny smoke particles it leaves behind might still damage your health, such as triggering respiratory problems, and irritating your eyes and skin.

Children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems, in particular, are at risk of developing health conditions.

The smell might also be a sign that smoke has spread through your home and has not been cleaned up properly. It can pass through vents and walls, and could end up in hard to reach places. Every trace must be removed to keep you safe.

How long does the smell of smoke last?

The odour can last several months, or even years in extreme cases. This is because those microscopic particles start off as airborne before they settle so they can get into every crack and crevice.

They cannot be removed by airing out the property or wiping down surfaces as they are embedded deep in the materials. The particles themselves need to be removed.

How to remove the odour

There are lots of home remedies and household products that promise to get rid of lingering smoke smells, like using activated charcoal, or spraying air freshener. But these will only mask the scent, so it will quickly return.

To remove those microscopic particles from every surface in your property, you will require specialist products and equipment. Professional cleaners already have the gear and experience to do this efficiently, and can then neutralise the odour. This will chemically deactivate it, not just cover it.

You can find out more about how they neutralise smells here.

ICE Cleaning’s technicians can eliminate all of the particles in your home, and clean up any traces of soot and ash left behind by the damage. 

What can you do to minimise the smoke odour?

It is not recommended that you attempt smoke odour removal yourself as you probably will not be able to eliminate it. But there are things you can do to improve the air quality in your home and lower the risks to your health.

  • To stop tobacco smoke from settling on the surfaces in your property, smoke outside.
  • Increase ventilation after a fire by opening windows and doors to improve airflow. Fans should also help get rid of residual fumes and bring in fresh air.
  • Change the filters in your HVAC to improve airflow and ensure you are not circulating the odour around your home.
  • If there is any smoke or fire damage still in your property, make sure it is removed by professional cleaners as it could give off smells.

Contact us today

Our technicians are available 365 days a year, 24/7, and can be on site in an hour in an emergency.

Get in touch on 0208 066 0360 or at enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk to find out more about our cigarette smoke and fire smoke odour neutralisation service. 

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