How To Get Rid Of Fireplace Smoke Smell In House

No matter how well you take care of your fireplace, it is likely you will start to smell something musty at one or another, especially during those mid-summer rainstorms! This musty smell is entirely normal but should certainly be taken care of.  

Vinegar is an excellent odor neutralizer that can help eliminate the putrid odor of an unclean fireplace. Spread a few bowls full of vinegar around the room (enough to have decent coverage) or spray a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water lightly around the room. 

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be dangerous, which can be caused by immense exposure to wood fires, so keeping a clean fireplace is so important. Be sure to clean your fireplace after every use and have your chimney cleaned regularly inspected to ensure your fireplace does not collect creosote and start smoking abnormally. 

Why is my Fireplace Smelling Up the House?

When your fireplace starts smoking up the house, this might be an indication that you need a cleaning. An unclean chimney is noticeable in appearances like piles of ash and half-burnt wood, but it is also noticeable by the smoke which billows from it.  

If the smoke from your fireplace is dark and cloudy, that is a sign you may have creosote buildup and may need to clean your chimney. You can do it yourself, or you can call a trained professional to come to do it for you. 

Another reason your chimney might be giving off a smokey smell in your house is because of the weather outside. Water seeping into your chimney or negative air pressure in the home causes smells to enter rather than leave. 

So, when it starts to storm outside, moisture causes humidity in your chimney. Air becomes trapped inside your chimney with no way to escape, and as your chimney takes in moisture through its flue, you will begin to smell (what is most of the time) built-up creosote. 

Remember, you are obligated to maintain your fireplace and hold inspections at least once per year on your fireplace. Anything less puts you and the people around you in danger. When your fireplace starts smelling, that is a sign that something may be wrong with the cleanliness of your fireplace or even the design of it. 

Chimneys that breathe their smell tend to do so when water-logged during rainstorms, and this can be a sign that there is a need for replacement. 

Is the Smoke from a Fireplace Bad for you?

Once you start smelling the smoke from your fireplace, that means you are already breathing it. That is, according to We Love Fire explains the importance of keeping your flue clear and unclogged.

It could be seriously dangerous for your health if you do not, especially if you are an at-risk person like someone with a pre-existing health condition, elderly, or a young child.  

Smoke wood contains carbon monoxide (CO), which becomes poisonous when inhaled in too large quantities. That means, if your home is overrun with the smell of fireplace smoke, you are likely breathing in large amounts of carbon monoxide. That is a strong indication that your flue is not working properly, and you may want to get it checked out by a professional. 

How To Get Rid Of Fireplace Smoke Smell In House

Let me begin by saying, air fresheners and candles will never get rid of that nasty fireplace smell in your house. Instead, you should try other methods like using vinegar or baking soda to neutralize the odor. If you are looking for a more straightforward method, plenty of commercial fireplace deodorizers are available. 

Additionally, tossing coffee grounds and kitty litter on top of ashes come cleaning time to reduce odor and refresh the air (it might even smell like fresh coffee too, yum!). Even better, the added density helps ashes from blowing away as you clean them, according to North Carolina State University

Instead of ashes blowing everywhere in the air, cleaning is even easier, which is a bonus. Still, while this makes cleaning easier and can neutralize the odor of a fresh fire, it is not as reliable as vinegar or baking soda for eliminating an entire room’s worth of odor. 

1. Vinegar 

Vinegar is probably the most well-recognized method for getting rid of the fireplace smell in your home because of the variety of ways you can do so. First, you can create a 1:1 solution of water and vinegar, spritz it around the smelly room using a spray bottle. This will help seal the odor and eliminate it where it stands before it spreads any further in the house. 

Another option when using vinegar is to cover the room with bowls full of vinegar. You should let at least three bowls sit for twenty-four hours or more while it neutralizes odors overnight. If the smoky odor inside your house is very intense or you need to remove the smell quickly, you may need to up the odor control. 

Boil a pot of vinegar on your stove before letting it come to a gentle simmer. Leave it simmering for an hour or two while gently wafting the steam in the direction of your fireplace. The vinegary steam will help isolate the odor and remove the smokey smell. Within a few hours, your house should no longer smell like a fire pit! 

2. Baking soda 

Baking soda is a deodorizer that can neutralize odors and trap bad odors. It has been well-known for decades to take away musty fireplace odors and may be the key to getting your home smelling nice again. This is especially true when it comes to smoke-covered cloth and items. 

Sprinkle a fair layer of baking soda over any cloth goods. Let it stand for an hour or two before coming back and vacuuming it away using a cloth vacuum hose attachment. This should eradicate any smoky odors.  

Baking soda can be a very helpful addition to your wash cycle. Add this to help remove musty odors and pull out any additional, gross smells from your clothing. All you need to do is sprinkle a little extra baking soda on top of your clothes when you put them into the washer! 

Similarly, you can also use baking soda to remove the musty smell from non-washable items like books or toys. Just add a generous amount of baking soda into a bag (enough to create a relatively even ratio) before placing your smoke-smelling items inside. Seal the bag shut and shake the items around gently. 

After letting all your items “soak” in the bag of baking soda, remove them from the bag and gently brush off the baking soda using a towel, gentle brush, or your hand. Once they are clean, you can sit back and enjoy the neutral odor! 

3. Air Out the Smoky Smell

Airing out the room with a few fans blowing outward can significantly help with getting rid of the fireplace smoke smell in your house. Keep it up for a day or two and place smokey furniture outside in a winy, sunny area. 

Any items that may blow away should be secured down, and aby dyed fabrics or sensitive papers should be left under the sun with caution. 

4. Steam Clean your Smoky House

Use a steam cleaner to remove the smokey smell from smoky walls, floors, and upholstery. Mist the surface with the lightly heated vapor, lightly wipe away the heated tar and soils of the smoke molecules with a microfiber cloth or sponge.

5.Replace your Chimney

In the worst-case scenario, a new chimney cap may need to be installed. This would likely require a professional service, so you should talk to a local fire inspector and ask about your options if you think this is the case! 

Preventing a Smelly Fireplace

Inhaling smoke from your fireplace can be lethal, which is why you must take the best care of your fireplace possible, so you are never faced with the dire consequences of burning with a dirty flue. 

After each use, you should take the time to clean your fireplace. This means you are sweeping away any remaining ash and burnt wood and removing any creosote residue left behind. Doing these little things will not only prolong the life of your fireplace but may also prolong your own life. 

Instead of waiting until the last minute, it may be worth considering taking preventative measures instead like using active charcoal. Placing this in your fireplace will help lock in odors. The absorbent charcoal is chemically built to trap smells and rid them from the air. 

Although activated charcoal is an excellent option for someone familiar with a smokey smell, if you are experiencing an intense smokey smell every time you light your fire, you may want to have a professional come and look at your fireplace. This is especially true if you have already gone through all our suggestions and tried refreshing your air to no avail!