How to Clean Smoke Damage From Wood

Wooden furniture and floors can often be stained and damaged by cigarette smoke, cigars, or a fire. Smoke leaves an oily residue on the wood that is difficult to remove. If you’ve ever had a fire in your home, you know the importance of smoke damage cleanup. Smoke can cause a lot of damage to wood furniture and flooring, but it’s not difficult to clean up if you know what to do.

In this post, we will show you how to clean smoke damage from wood using simple household products. Then, follow these steps to restore your wooden furniture and floors to their original condition.

Summary: If your home has been damaged by smoke, there are a few things you can do to clean up the mess. First, use a vacuum cleaner to remove all the debris. Second, use a wet cleaning solution to clean the wood. Finally, use a wood polish to restore the wood’s shine.

How to Clean Smoke Damage From Wood

Why is Wood Damaged Because of Smoke?

Smoke is made up of tiny particles that can penetrate deep into wood pores. This causes the wood to change color and smell bad. Smoke damage is hard to clean and often requires special cleaners and treatments. And also, it may be necessary to refinish the wood to restore its original beauty. Otherwise, you may be left with a permanent reminder of the fire.

10 Simple Methods on How to Clean Smoke Damage From Wood

As anyone who has experienced a house fire knows, the smoke damage can be just as devastating as the fire itself. Not only is it unsightly and unappealing, but it can also be dangerous to your health.

The good news is that there are a number of methods to clean smoke damage from wood, and we’ve compiled a list of the most effective methods below.

Method 1: Use Vinegar

This is a particularly effective method for removing soot and other residues left behind by smoke damage. Simply mix vinegar with one part water and use a clean cloth to wipe down the affected surfaces. Next, use a clean, dry cloth to buff the area until it shines. No need to rinse!

Method 2: Use Baking Soda

Another great way to clean wood smoke damage is using baking soda. First, create a paste using equal parts baking soda and water, then use a clean cloth to apply it to the affected surfaces. Gently rub the area in a circular motion until the residue comes off, then wipe away with a damp cloth.

Using Baking Soda

Method 3: Use Denatured Alcohol

Denatured alcohol is a powerful cleaning agent that can be used to remove smoke damage from wood. Simply apply it to a clean cloth and wipe down the affected surfaces. However, you need to be very careful when using this method, as it can easily damage the wood if misused.

If you’re dealing with a large amount of smoke damage, you may need to use a power washer to remove all debris. This should only be done as a last resort, as it can damage the wood if not done correctly. Always test a small area first to ensure the power washer won’t damage the wood.

Method 4: Use a Store-Bought Cleaner

There are a number of store-bought cleaners that are specifically designed to remove smoke damage from wood. Follow the instructions on the product and apply it to the affected surfaces. Wipe away with a clean cloth and rinse with water if necessary. Ensure every nook and cranny is free of smoke residue before moving on to the next step.

Method 5: Use a Sander

This method should only be used as a last resort, as it can damage the wood if not done correctly. If you have experience sanding wood, you can use a sander to remove the damaged layer of wood. This will expose fresh, unblemished wood beneath. Once you’ve sanded down, With careful sanding, you can remove most of the smoke damage from the wood. Be sure to sand with the grain to avoid damaging the wood further.

You Can Use a Sander

Method 6: Use a Painting Technique

If you want to cover up the smoke damage without sanding or refinishing the wood, you can use a painting technique. This is a good option if the smoke damage is minor and you don’t want to go through the hassle of refinishing the wood.

To do this, first, you need to sand down the wood to create a smooth surface. Then, apply a primer designed for smoke-damaged surfaces. Once the primer is dry, you can paint the wood with a color of your choice. Then you have the option of sealing the paint with a clear sealant.

Method 7: Refinish the Wood

This is the most time-consuming and complicated method, but it will give you the best results. If the smoke damage is extensive, you may need to refinish the wood to restore its original beauty.

To do this, You need to look for any signs of soot or charring. If the damage is minimal, you can lightly sand the surface with a fine steel wool. For more extensive damage, you will need to use a power sander.

Once you have sanded the surface, you need to apply a stain-blocking primer before repainting or staining the wood. This will help to ensure that the smoke damage does not come back.

Method 8: Use a Dehumidifier

If the smoke damage is caused by fire, you will also need to deal with the moisture in the air. This can be done by using a dehumidifier to remove the excess moisture from the air.

This will help to prevent the growth of mold and mildew and will also help to stop the specific types of damage that can be caused by moisture.

Using a Dehumidifier

Method 9: Use an Air Purifier

An air purifier will help remove any lingering smoke odor from your home. First, choose an air purifier specifically designed to remove smoke odors. Then, follow the manufacturer’s directions on how to operate the purifier. Also, this is very helpful if you have asthma or are sensitive to smoke.

Method 10: Try a Natural Deodorizer

If you want to avoid using chemicals, some natural options can help remove the smoke smell from your home. Purchase some activated charcoal. Then fill several bowls with charcoal and place them around the room. Leave the bowls in the room for at least 24 hours.

Repeat as necessary until the smoke smell is gone.

Smoke damage can be a hassle, but it can be removed relatively easily with the right methods. So start with the easiest method and work up to the more difficult ones if necessary. And always remember to take precautions to prevent the damage from happening in the first place.

You Can Check It Out to Keep Vinyl From Peeling Off Wood

Safety Precautions You Need to Know Before Cleaning Smoke Damage From Wood

  1. Always wear proper safety gear when cleaning smoke damage from wood. This includes gloves, a mask, and eye protection.
  2. Ventilate the area well before starting to clean. Open windows and doors to let fresh air in and use fans to circulate the air.
  3. Never try to clean smoke damage from wood without first testing a small, inconspicuous area. Some cleaners or methods may damage the wood.
  4. If the wood is varnished or painted, be extra careful when cleaning. Varnish and paint can act as a barrier and make it more difficult to clean the smoke damage.
  5. Always use the gentlest method possible when cleaning smoke damage from wood. Harsh cleaners or scrubbing too vigorously can damage the wood.
  6. Be careful not to soak the wood when cleaning. Too much water can cause the wood to warp or crack.
  7. After cleaning, permanently seal the wood to protect it from further damage.
  8. If the smoke damage is extensive, you may need to sand the wood before cleaning and sealing it.
  9. Always dispose of rags or cleaners used to clean smoke damage from wood properly. Soaked rags can spontaneously combust, so never leave them lying around.
  10. Never use a power washer to clean smoke damage from wood. The high-pressure water can damage the wood.
Never Use a Power Washer

If you’re not sure how to clean smoke damage from wood, always err on the side of caution and consult a professional. Smoke damage can be tricky to clean, and you don’t want to worsen things.

What’s the Best Cleaner for Smoke Damage?

If you’ve recently had a fire in your home, you may wonder how to clean smoke damage from wood. While the process can be daunting, it’s important to start cleaning as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

There are a couple of different cleaners that you can use to remove smoke damage from wood. One option is to use a mixture of vinegar and water. Simply mix equal parts vinegar and water in a bowl and use a clean cloth to wipe down the affected area. If the smoke damage is particularly stubborn, you may need to scrub the area with a soft brush.

Another option for cleaning smoke damage from wood is to use a commercial cleaner specifically designed for the job. These cleaners can be found at most hardware stores and usually come with detailed instructions on how to use them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Borax Get Rid of Smoke Smell?
Borax is a naturally occurring mineral that is known for its ability to get rid of smoke smell. It can be used in the form of a powder, liquid, or even a gel. All of these forms of borax can be mixed with water and placed in areas where the smoke smell is present. Borax will then start to break down the odor molecules and will eventually eliminate the smoky smell.
Does Vinegar Help Remove Smoke Smell?
Yes, vinegar can help remove smoke smell. Vinegar is a naturally-occurring chemical that has antifungal and antibacterial properties. When you spray or sprinkle vinegar on the area where the smoke odor is strongest, it helps to break down the chemicals that cause the odor. Additionally, vinegar has a acidic pH which can also neutralize odors in porous surfaces like wood furniture or floors.

Vinegar Can Help Remove Smoke Smell

Does Vinegar Clean Smoke Damage?
There are a variety of factors that affect how vinegar reacts with smoke. However, if you’re worried about potential damage to your home or belongings, it might be wise to take precautions. Vinegar can help to neutralize the acidity and odors created by smoke, which may make it easier for you and your family to breathe. Additionally, vinegar can reduce the amount of tar that accumulates on surfaces. If this isn’t enough reassurance for you, then consider trying an all-natural do-it-yourself cleaner designed specifically for cleaning up after fires.
What Can Be Salvaged After Smoke Damage?
After smoke damage, there is often a lot of debris and burnt material that needs to be cleaned up. This includes furniture, insulation, ceilings, walls and even floors. You may also need to deal with the smell of smoke and fire residue.
The first step is to start by removing any flammable materials like furniture or curtains from the area. Next, use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to remove all the dust and dirt from surfaces. Use detergents specifically designed for cleaning up after fires if necessary. Make sure to wear protective gear like masks and gloves when cleaning so you don’t inhale potential toxic fumes associated with smoke damage cleanup work.


Cleaning smoke damage from wood can be time-consuming and frustrating, but getting started as soon as possible is essential. With a bit of patience and the right cleaner, you’ll be able to remove the damage and restore your wood to its original condition.

Whichever cleaner you choose, test it in an inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t damage the finish on your wood. Once you’ve determined that the cleaner is safe to use, start working on the areas with the most smoke damage.

Ensure It Doesn't Damage the Finish on Your Wood

If you read the article on how to clean smoke damage from wood, you will better understand the topic. This would help you immensely in taking care of your wood and ensuring that it is clean and free from any damage that might have been caused by smoke.

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Adrian Green

Adrian has been interested in woodworking since he was a child. His father had a woodworking shop, and Adrian would help him out and learn from him. He gained basic carpentry knowledge as well as an understanding of how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others. So he started this blog to spread his passion and knowledge to those interested in DIY wood-working projects. He knows that with a little guidance and practice, anyone can create beautiful pieces of furniture or décor from scratch.

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