How to Extinguish Fireplace Odors

Fire in a fireplace, photo by Hayden Scott on Unsplash
A warm fire adds ambiance to any home. The lingering smell of soot and ashes, however, does not. Fireplace odor is especially prominent when a dirty flue combines with moisture, making the smoky smell most noticeable during humid months and on rainy days.

What can homeowners do to treat a smelly fireplace? Whether your goal is to mask the smell, eliminate it or prevent it altogether, you have several options to extinguish fireplace odors.

Clean and Repair the Chimney

Prevent odors from forming altogether by keeping your fireplace and chimney clean. After extinguishing each fire, clean up dirt and ash remains. Then in the spring or summer, clean the chimney to remove creosote buildup, the source of unwanted fireplace odors. If you don’t have the time or resources to complete this task yourself, schedule a visit from Molly Maid to clean your chimney for you.

It’s also a good idea to install a chimney cap to help keep moisture out. If moisture doesn’t reach the creosote in the chimney, you shouldn’t have an odor problem. If you still have trouble with moisture in your fireplace despite having a chimney cap, you may need to fix cracks in the chimney brick or replace the cap.

Use Fireplace Deodorant

Once you’ve taken steps to eliminate the root cause of fireplace odors, the soot and ash smell may still linger if it has soaked into the porous brick and mortar. This means it’s time to use a fireplace deodorant. Simply place the bottle on the smoke shelf and pull up the wick for two to three months of freshness.

Deodorize with Vinegar

A powerful deodorizer, vinegar is a natural way to eliminate the strong soot smell surrounding your fireplace. Try a few methods and see which one works best for you:

  • Place vinegar in a few shallow bowls around the room to absorb any smells that pass by
  • Mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz the fireplace area to deodorize at the source
  • Spray a towel with vinegar and wave it around the room to absorb the fireplace odor. You can also use this tip to eliminate cigarette smell in your home

If you decide to deodorize with vinegar, be sure to never combine it with bleach or ammonia. The poisonous gas resulting from this combination could be harmful or even deadly.

Absorb the Smell with Charcoal

Capable of soaking up the odors around it, charcoal is an effective way to treat a smelly fireplace. Set a bucket with charcoal briquettes and damp pieces of old newspaper near the fireplace and let the charcoal go to work.

Run an Air Purifier

Portable air purifiers are designed to remove odors from the air. Run one near the fireplace and let it do its job! Make sure you find a model that doesn’t produce ozone as a byproduct. This known lung irritant could be harmful to people with respiratory problems.

Have Your Fireplace Inspected

If odors persist despite following all these tips, you could have an airflow issue. For example, if exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom depressurize your home, air could flow in through the chimney, bringing odors with it. A fireplace inspection can reveal potential problems so you can have them repaired.

Call Molly Maid for Help

We’ve been providing professional home cleaning services to busy families for over 30 years. If you need our help cleaning the chimney or implementing other tips to eliminate fireplace odor, please contact your local Molly Maid to set up cleaning services today.