If you find yourself living in California, it's safe to say you've probably been affected by a fire at some point this year. It seems our state has been living in a smoky haze, only venturing outside when we have to (and not just because of COVID). We've also found ourselves exchanging our COVID cloth masks for N95 masks.
While protecting ourselves from breathing in smoke is a health priority right now, the affects of wildfire smoke can stick around in your apartment long after the flames are extinguished, resulting in ash and soot buildup and the smoke odor being absorbed by household objects and materials. So, what can you do to get that smoky smell out and feel like you're living in clean air again?
We found a great article that gives odor removal tips specifically for wildfire smoke, read below!
Posted by: ServiceMaster Restore
There are some actions you can take to start the deodorization of your home:
- Fill some bowls with baking soda and place them around your home so the baking soda can absorb the smell. You can also use activated charcoal the same way to absorb smoke odors.
- If your clothing is affected by the smoke odor, try washing them in the washing machine with one cup of vinegar in addition to the normal laundry detergent. Repeat the process immediately if your clothing still smells like smoke after one wash. It may take more than one wash to completely remove the smell. Do not dry your clothing until the smell is removed because drying clothes that still have the odor can make the odor worse.
- Power wash the outside surfaces of your home, such as the siding, windows, deck, driveways, and sidewalks, and make sure they are disinfected.
- Thoroughly clean and disinfect all surfaces and walls inside your home using mild soap and cleaning products.
- Clean all items in your home including your personal belongings and various knickknacks.
- If you have access to the right equipment, clean the carpeting, upholstery, mattresses, and other fabrics. It might be best to have a professional clean and deodorize these materials.
- Call a professional to clean the air ducts, furnace, and air conditioning units and change the filters once the cleaning is complete.
- Do not use over the counter air fresheners and sprays to try and mask the odor.
If the recent wildfires have you thinking more long-term about the air you live in, consider monitoring the Air Quality Index each day to assess what the air will be like. You can also purchase an air purifier for inside your apartment, avoid vacuuming and burning candles or incense during periods of poor air quality, staying inside as much as possible, and leaving windows and doors closed. Taking action to protect yourself against the effects of wildfire smoke will help you live healthier and breathe easier in your apartment.
Fire season in California is a guarantee, something Californians have always known but have really come to grips with even more over the last several years. It's smart to have a fire emergency kit and evacuation plan for anyone living with you or friends and family who live near by. Even if you live in an area that hasn't been affected by a fire, it's a good idea to think ahead and make a plan.