Epic Housewife Fails: How To Clean Smoke Smell Out of a House

Housewife Fails
I was sort of hoping this would not become a series, but as it appears I have growing material it may inevitably become one. Epic Housewife Fails. The things I do around the house that make you slap your forehead and groan. Or at least it makes the cop do that. I first wrote about a few of my housewife mishaps here after a collection of epic fails had occurred over the span of a few weeks.
Well we seem to be headed that way again. This morning I sleepily put a pot of quinoa on the stove to make for my lunch – a silly attempt to be healthy since I despise quinoa. I should have known it would be a mistake to cook before coffee. I ran into the other room to put my shoes on and grab my phone and of course got distracted doing.. who knows what. Only to walk back into a living room and kitchen filling with smoke. My tiny pot of quinoa was boiling over and the contents of the pot were being seared to a blackened burnt crisp on the bottom. Now there was still water in the pot I assure you. Nothing was on fire. But holy hell… seared quinoa can make a lot of smoke. We’re talking fill the apartment from one end to the other smoke. Not exactly the way I had hoped to start my morning.
 How To Clean Smoke Smell | Rose Tinted Home
The cop, who was asleep in bed when all of this happened, woke up with a sleepy smile on his face only to ask me, “Did you burn something?“. Um yes hunny. I burnt the house to a crisp.
 How To Clean 2
And so comes the clean up. For all of you aspiring yet accident prone housewives out there: I hope this never happens to you. As I sit writing this, my hair smelling like a campfire, I feel for you in your moment of embarrassment. In the event you find yourself needing to clean away the smell of a burnt and blackened meal, here are my top 7 tips for How To Clean Smoke Smell Out of a House.

How To Clean Smoke Smell Out of the House | Rose Tinted Home

How To Clean Smoke Smell Out of a House

  1. Open All Windows and Turn on the Fans. This one is obvious. Throw open the windows. Turn on the fans. At first we pointed the fans blowing the smoke out. But after about 20 minutes we turned the fans to blow fresh air in. Immediately discard whatever you burnt. Take the trash outside – the lingering smell from the food and/or the pan will only make things worse. Keep any doors to other rooms closed if possible.
  2. Wipe Down All Surfaces. The cabinets in our kitchen really seemed to retain the smell of the smoke, so I removed all dishes and washed in the dishwasher. Then I took a solution of equal parts water and white distilled vinegar (or you can use undiluted vinegar on counters, etc.) and wiped down every last surface. Walls and floors can also absorb smells. Swifter your floors clean and wash walls if need be with a mixture of water and bleach. Don’t forget the fixtures in the room – wipe down blinds, light fixtures and ceiling fans with your water and vinegar mixture.
  3. Boil a Pot of Lemon Water on the Stove. Throw a large pot of water on the stove. Slice up a lemon or two and toss in. Boil the water for 10-30 minutes for a fresh smell throughout the kitchen. You can also boil a pot of white vinegar to absorb odors. Or a pot of orange rinds, cinnamon and cloves. Really anything to keep your house smelling fresh and chemical free. Repeat over the next few days as necessary.
  4. Set Out Natural Odor Eliminators. Soak slices of bread or crumpled newspaper in white vinegar and then place throughout the room (on plates) to soak up odor.
  5. Sprinkle Baking Soda on the Carpet. Leave the baking soda (or other store bought deodorizer) for 30 minutes, then vacuum it up. This should help remove any odors lingering in the carpet. Spray down carpet with Febreze odor eliminator after.
  6. Take Down any Drapes and Remove Pillow Cases. Wash if possible, or at least hang outside to air out. Add 1 cup distilled white vinegar to your laundry with the regular amount of detergent. Be sure to wash these items separately from non-smokey clothing. Spray pillows and linens that can’t be washed as well as upholstered furniture with Febreze fabric refresher. Wipe down any leather furniture with your water and vinegar mixture then rub down with leather cleaner.
  7. Replace Air Filters. Your filters may still have smoky air clinging to it, so it will help to replace with a fresh filter.


All in all, it may take a few days for the lingering smells to dissipate. In the meantime scrub away, look at this as a second spring cleaning. Pour your man a beer when he gets home and maybe have his favorite cookies baking in the oven (both to bribe him and to cover the smell of smoke from earlier). Mistakes certainly happen. We live and we learn. I know that in the future I need to make an effort to be much more careful! But in the present I am grateful for a man who loves me and doesn’t sweat the smokey stuff.


Have any of you had a similar experience? If you are willing to share your shame… please let me know if you have any additional tips and tricks! We hapless housewives need to stick together!

8 Comment

  1. I tried to cook burned food off a pan by putting a small amount of oil in the pan and turning the burner to a low setting. That’s how I found out that (1) this is an idiotic idea; (2) having a six pound bag of baking soda on hand is good for more than just cleaning purposes and (3) our security alarm company really does respond in less than two minutes, as advertised. No harm done but I could definitely have used these tips at the time.

    1. Oh my goodness! I’m glad everything was OK. I guess you live and learn right?

  2. I put my favorite pan in the oven to store it and forgot it was in there. A couple of days later i thought ” l will use the self-clean cycle on the oven” went for a walk. When I came back in house was full of smoke. Still smells days later.😜

    1. Oh no! I know the feeling! Good luck with cleanup!

  3. Thanks!, I left my wooden chopping board in the oven , the next day there was smoke everywhere, I’m just thankful we r ok. But my place stinks like smoke, I did use sugar soap to clean my kitchen walls, and spray eucalyptus around the house, still smells, but I’m gonna use some of your suggestions, thank you!!

    1. Eucalyptus was a great idea! I think after the initial clean up with items that really remove odors (I strongly advise the vinegar/water wash) spraying a natural scent will help balance things out. Good luck!

  4. Amanda Artigas says: Reply

    We just moved in to our newly remodeled house and I left the wooden cutting board on the stove, with a bunch of other things, while unpacking. Somehow the stove got turned on, maybe one if the cats!? Thankfully the smoke alarms went off at 6am I ran outside with my baby girl while my husband got the burning board under control! Now I need to run to the store and get all these items Thanks for the tips!

    1. Oh no! It is such a horrible feeling. I hope your cleaning went well 🙂 Be patient – it takes a bit of time.

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