How to Remove Smoke Smell from Carpet

Smoke odors, whether they be from cigarette smoke, burnt food, or fire damage, can seep into every area of your home, including your carpets. Once the smell from smoke gets into the fibers of your carpet, it can be very difficult to get out. There are techniques for removal of such odors but the specific methods depend upon the type of smoke odor you’re trying to eliminate.

Cigarette/Cigar/Pipe Smoke Removal

What you will need:

  • Large box of baking soda (depending on the size of the room)
  • Dried lavender (optional)
  • Vacuum Cleaners.

Steps to Remove the Odor:

  1. This method is generally safe for all carpet types.
  2. Sprinkle the entire carpet with the baking soda.
  3. If you prefer the room to have a pleasant light scent, mix the lavender with the baking soda before sprinkling.
  4. Let sit overnight (or at least 5 hours).
  5. Vacuum carpets.
  6. Repeat if necessary.
  7. If the above method does not eliminate the odor, you should call in a professional carpet cleaner who will have the cleaning chemicals necessary to eliminate stubborn odors.
  8. If all else fails, you may need to replace the carpet.

NOTE: There are various carpet and room deodorizers on the market designed to sprinkle on your carpets and vacuum. Unfortunately, many of these are ineffective in the long term against smoke odors because they do not neutralize the odor, but rather mask it with manufactured scents, which eventually fade, letting the original odor take over.

Removing Burnt Food Smoke

What you need:

  • Large box of baking soda (depending on the size of the room)
  • Dried lavender (optional)
  • Vacuum Cleaners.
  • Several bowls of distilled white vinegar.
  • Vanilla extract (optional)

Steps to Remove the Odor:

  1. Follow steps 1-5 above for cigarette/cigar/pipe smoke.
  2. Set several bowls of distilled white vinegar around the room, which will serve to absorb odors remaining in the air. Leave for 3-5 days.
  3. If you do not particularly care for the smell of vinegar, place a few drops of vanilla extract into each vinegar bowl to cut the scent of vinegar.

Removing Smoke Caused by a Fire

Smoke odors caused by fire are particularly difficult to remove and can effect your carpet and other areas of your house in different ways depending upon the source of the fire and the type of smoke it creates. Some particular types of smoke odors are as follows:

  • Wet Smoke – Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
  • Dry Smoke – Fast burning at high temperatures.
  • Protein – Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes. Extreme pungent odor.
  • Fuel Oil Soot – Furnace puff backs cause fuel oil soot.
  • Other Types – Tear gas, fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher residue are other types.

Generally it is best to call in a smoke damage professional. Check your local yellow pages, or check with your local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau for information regarding licensed professionals in your area.

There are products on the market known as Ozone generators that may help in reducing the smoke odor from your carpet. These products may be effective in reducing the odor, but unless the source of the odor (i.e. the carpet) is addressed, the odor will never be completely eliminated.

Many people hesitate to call in a smoke damage specialist because of the costly, sometimes dangerous and environmentally unfriendly nature of the process (i.e. the use of ozone neutralizers). However, there are companies out there who employ environmentally friendly smoke removal procedures. These services may present a viable alternative.

In sum, however, if your carpets have absorbed the smell caused by smoke damage, there is little that can be done without the services of a professional.


  1. Debbie says:

    How do I remove the smell of smoke from a mattress?

  2. Nikki says:

    For a mattress, cover it with baking soda and rub it in. Wait a few hours and use the hose attachment on a vacuum to vacuum up.

  3. Victoria says:

    I had forgot the stove in my house was on with eggs and water in a pot. We were gone for three hours. We came back home and the house was smoking. We aired the house out, but it still smells really bad. How do I get rid of the smell? I also noticed that my bedroom smells really bad, especially the mattress. I read that you can clean mattresses, but my mattress is a memory foam one. Will I have to replace my mattress?

  4. Laura says:

    Where can I find the answers to questions left here? I was looking for suggestions to Victoria’s question.

  5. Jamie says:

    My husband fell asleep while cooking mac & cheese. I was sleeping on the 2nd floor of our house and woke up b/c the entire house was filled with smoke. There is no physical damage but everything smells horrible. I’m not sure that we should even be breathing this in it’s so bad. Please HELP ME! Do I turn it into our homeowners insurance or is there a home remedy to fix this?

  6. Denise says:

    My situation is the same as Victoria, but I mistakenly put on my overhead microwave vent fan and all the smoke went into the microwave and now the whole house smells like smoke. I tried a product called Orange Magic today, which is a spray. I sprayed everything and even put the spray in my a/c filter to put the smell of oranges in my vents. So far so good. So, try this product.

  7. Kathy says:

    I was baking potatoes on the button for potatoes. Two were done and I shut the door and continued to cook the other two potatoes. We were in the other room & when I walked into the kitchen, which was just in time; there was a fire in the microwave. The potatoes were cinders. Now the house smells bad. We removed the microwave and put it in the garage. It does not work. We also have been airing the house out even though it is very cold. Now I sprayed the house with Febreze. I will scrub the walls and cupboards, but wondered what else to do. Thanks in advance.

  8. Kreg says:

    Cooking (large pot of water boiling on the stove and hamburger meat & sausage frying in a large pan) left the house full of smoke with a terrible, nasty smell. Walls, floors, countertops, everything is greasy-feeling and really stinks!!! HELP. What’s the best way to clean and restore my house???

  9. Nellie says:

    Baking soda has several uses. Removing unwanted smells from the house, as well as putting out grease fires on the stove. Nellie

  10. Daniel says:

    Our pellet stove backed up and burnt up into the hopper. It filled the entire basement and upstairs of nasty smoke, causing a terrible structure fire-like smell. How do I get that smell out of my house?

  11. Jackie says:

    We have a sealed wood-burning fireplace that had a bad gasket on the door. Our house had a negative pressure due to high winds (and other issues) and all the smoke from the smoldering fireplace filled our home. How do I get rid of the smell?

  12. Amy says:

    I had almost the exact same situation as Daniel. I light wonderful smelling candles but as time has passed the smell of smoke came back. I have no carpet and the children don’t really smell it so it’s the top half of the house. I have bowls of vinegar all over the house per a suggestion on another site.

  13. Ryan says:

    Put bowls of vinegar around the house. Boil the vinegar, then let it simmer for 30 minutes. Soak slices of white bread in the vinegar, then disperse the bread throughout house and the bread will soak in odor. Febreze works well also; so does boiled lemons. Lots to do…

  14. Greg says:

    I have the same problem as Kreg states above. My walls are greasy and the entire house smells of smoke. What do I do? Scrub all the walls? Have the drapes cleaned? Wash all the walls? What do I do? I need answers fast.

  15. Melanie says:

    Your plan is the right one: wash the walls. For the walls, this is the article that you need: How to Clean Smoke from Walls.
    If you have drapes, yes, clean them. Smoke odors can cling to fabrics. This article can help: How to Remove Smoke Smell from Fabrics.

  16. Sandra says:

    We left a pot on the stove by mistake; were out of the home for about 3 hours. Returned to the house full of smoke. We had been browning ground chicken. We did have the home professionally cleaned (out of our home over 2 months). The problem we have is the carpet. When they were cleaned, the fibers of the carpet were stiff, almost gummy. Having a hard time to explain what the smoke did to the fibers to our insurance in an effort to have it replaced. It has been a nightmare. All the ceilings had to be scraped. This happened the last week of June 2014; we now can smell smoke in our cushion on our sectional sofa. Very hard thing to go through. Would like advice on how to handle the carpet.

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