Smoke Smell: Best Ways To Get It Out???

lynninnewmexicoJanuary 17, 2014

As many of you already know, my daughter's sorority house caught fire late this past Tuesday night. (My thread on that is on the Conversations side). Thankfully, all 80 girls and their house mom made it out safely.
DD is taking her down comforter, curtains, coat and jackets, good dresses, sweaters and slacks, etc. to a dry cleaners recommended by the university to clean and remove the smoke smell.
But, do you have any recommendations for getting the smoke smell out of fabric sided luggage? Shoes and boots? Leather purses? Plastic storage bins? Lamp shades? Etc.?
Thanks!
Lynn

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1929Spanish

You want to contact a restoration company. The insurance adjuster can recommend one. They will place the items in a "treatment" room. I don't know the process, but its probably your best bet. Glad everyone is okay!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 8:06PM
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hhireno

When my sister had a house fire, everything, and I mean everything, that could be removed and cleaned was sent out for special cleaning. Mattresses had to be replaced, anything plastic (in the kitchen where the fire originated) had to be thrown out, every piece of fabric (clothes, drapes, sheets) was sent out to a special cleaner.

Your homeowners insurance should cover cleaning and replacement costs. I don't know if she'll be able to clean things herself as thoroughly the smoke cleaning businesses offer. Depending on how much smoky smell is involved, some things probably can't be cleaned but I'd let an expert make that decision.

You should contact your insurance agent for help.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 8:16PM
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maddielee

When our office had a fire, everthing went to Servicemaster and was treated in a "Ozone room". Surprised us how all the smoke smell really was gone.

Good luck.

ML

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 9:48PM
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ILoveRed

It's impossible to get that smell out of most things despite what the insurance company and restoration company tell you. Don't believe it for a minute. (Glass might be the exception, but can actually get etched).

Even if it smells ok, when the object hits humidity the disgusting smell wafts out. There is no way you could sleep with any of the bedding. Leather-impossible.

When we had our house fire several years ago, we refused almost everything. The insurance company wanted everything cleaned, laundered, or ozoned. It's much cheaper for them to do that than replace those objects.

The few things we did keep out of sentimental value still occasionally remind me of that time, when I open a drawer and that smell wafts out at me.

If you can make your insurance company (renters?) replace this stuff....please do it.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 1:58PM
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patricianat

Put a bowl of vinegar in your microwave. Take a big pan and fill it with vinegar, soak towels in it, swing them around in every room several times. Replace vinegar in microwave with baking soda. DO NOT turn microwave on. Add baking soda in little plastic containers here and there in your house. In 24 hours, you should be smell-free and won't have to put up with those lying, pesty people who claim it costs 10s of thousands of dollars to remove the odor.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 3:33PM
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lazy_gardens

Disgusting smell isn't it. Worse in it's own way than cigarette smoke.
Here's my hints, based on what worked for eBay items I was selling:

Airing out ... lots of airing.

Leather things - thoroughly clean and polish the shoes and purses. Stuff the insides with newspaper and change it a few times. Filling them with dust-free clay kitty litter and letting it stand for a couple of weeks also works.

Other items have to be de-stinked with a gas that chemically degrades the compounds that are causing the odor. It's toxic and needs a restoration company.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 6:57PM
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littlebug5

I read this thread with interest. Four months ago I bought a really nice solid wood rocker at an auction. Reasonably-priced, I thought. When I got home and brought it in the house, I found out why. Some granny must have sat in this chair and smoked 24-7.

The chair has been out on my screened-in porch ever since. In the sun. I washed it down with a weak Murphy's oil and water solution right away and threw away the cushions immediately. But the smoke smell STILL comes out of the wood. I can put my nose to the armrest and smell the smoke clearly. Is there anything else I can do?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 8:59PM
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lynninnewmexico

Thank you for all your ideas. I've passed them onto DD who is trying them out.
Her clothes that can take repeated washings are getting just that. Thankfully, their new apartment has a washer and dryer right there in their kitchen.
Her purses, shoes, coats, good dresses. slacks, sweaters, down comforter, blanket, throw, etc. are at the dry cleaners. They are being dry cleaned . . . and ozoned at another facility. Shoes are being cleaned by hand and then ozoned. The bill for these items is just over $620.
Her painted furniture (lt. green nightstand, white shelf unit and white desktop shelf unit are now light brown-gray and smell badly of smoke. Washing and soaking have not helped. As per your recommendations, she is taking photos of them and the damage and throwing them away. We will add them to our insurance claim.
The idea of stuffing her purses with newspaper is one she will do when she gets them back from the dry cleaners, as an added precaution. I hear you when you tell me the smoke smell can raise it's ugly head later.
Thank you again for these ideas. DD will definitely be using them.
Lynn

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 3:12PM
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ILoveRed

Don't let her throw anything away. That will give the insurance company a reason to refuse to pay for replacement. They will want to inspect everything.

If they say you can discard these items without inspection...get it in writing.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 3:00PM
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lynninnewmexico

Thanks for that suggestion, Red. I've been on the phone with USAA, our insurance company for everything, today and will talk with the person managing our claim about that tomorrow. We sure do love USAA, though. 30+ years with them and can't imagine ever changing.
Lynn

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 7:49PM
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ILoveRed

Sorry to be so cynical. Our fire was caused by contractors working on our home. So we had several insurance companys involved. It was a long, protracted fight which involved litigation.

So it's hard for me to put the words love and insurance in the same sentence. I'm sure you won't have the same experience :-)

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 10:10PM
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