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How to Remove Heavy Smoke Odors

 The characteristic of heavy smoke odor are:

  • Soot residue appears on horizontal as well as vertical surfaces
  • Cleaning and redecorating of the area where the fire took place and surrounding areas will be required
  • Structural damage will be visible
  • Soot damage will be found outside the room in which the fire took place
  • A high probability of HVAC contamination
  • Soot will be deposited over a wide area



  1. Remove the source of the odor if possible.

  2. If an investigation needs to be completed, cover the source with plastic to limit further off gassing of odor-causing vapors.

  3. Do one of the following:
    1. Exhaust air outside using air movers.
    2. Place HEPA air scrubbers with carbon filters into area to start absorbing odors while work is ongoing. If your air scrubber does not have a carbon/charcoal filter available, do one of the following:
      • Place a hydroxyl generator in the area to start controlling odors.
      • Use OdorX Crystal Odor Counteractant (C.O.C.) placed on the pre-filters of your air scrubber.
      • Place a FreshWave IAQ Gel in front of an air mover.

    3. Prepare deodorizing polymer pre-sealer as follows and apply to all charred areas and attic spaces as needed
      1. Five-Gallon Bucket
      2. One Gallon of UnSoot # 1
      3. One qt (32 oz) of OdorX 9-D-9
      4. Five oz of OdorX Last Resort
      5. Add ingredients 2, 3, and 4 to the 5-gallon bucket and fill the rest of the bucket with water.
        Each gallon will cover about 500 square feet of surface area.

    4. Remove all attic insulation.

    5. Have ducts professionally cleaned and sealed.

    6. Clean or remove and replace all horizontal and vertical surfaces.

    7. Thermal fog the area, for most heavy fires Thermo-55 Cherry is recommended.

    8. Seal all areas that were not replaced with a shellac-based primer.


Note: This procedure guide is just for the odor removal, not the cleaning of the area.

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  1. Sale
    ODORx Tabac‑Attack Tobacco Odor Decontaminant
    ODORx Tabac‑Attack Tobacco Odor Decontaminant

    Tabac-Attack works at the molecular level to neutralize and permanently deodorize materials affected by tobacco odors. Tabac-Attack can be used on hard or soft surfaces.

    • Dilutes 1 to 2 ounces per gallon of water
    • pH: 5.2
    • Remove tobacco odors permanently
    • Additive to wall, upholstery, and carpet cleaning solutions

    Starting at $35.33

  2. Vaportek S.O.S. Smoke Odor Solution Cartridge, Stand Alone
    Vaportek S.O.S. Smoke Odor Solution Cartridge, Stand Alone

    Vaportek S.O.S. (Smoke Odor Solution) is specifically designed to tackle the worst smoke and soot odors that accompany fire and smoke damage restoration. The stand-alone cartridge can be placed in an air duct of the HVAC system or in front of your air mover to disburse the odor-neutralizing compounds quickly.

    • Can handle up to 20,000 cubic feet
    • Penetrating vapor quickly controls and eliminates odors
    • Cartridge provides up to 90 days of use
    • Completely safe—requires no evacuation of treatment area
    • Will not harm fabric, rubber, adhesives, or electrical components
  3. Sale
    ODORx 9‑D‑9 Smoke Odor Counteractant
    ODORx 9‑D‑9 Smoke Odor Counteractant

    9-D-9 is a general-purpose smoke odor counteractant specially formulated to manage fire, smoke, and other strong odors. Blended with the finest-quality ingredients, 9-D-9 helps to detoxify and knock down malodors quickly and efficiently.

    • Dilutes 1 to 3 ounces per gallon of water
    • pH: 7.7
    • General-purpose smoke odor counteractant
    • Additive to wall, upholstery, and carpet cleaning solutions
    • NOT for use with thermal foggers

    Starting at $104.66

  4. ODORx Thermo‑55 Cherry Scent
    ODORx Thermo‑55 Cherry Scent

    Thermo-55 is a solvent-based, heat-activated odor counteractant specially formulated for application using a thermal fogging apparatus.

    • Ideal for aggressive odors
    • Ready-to-use, solvent-based formula
    • VOC compliant
    • Treats 128,000 cubic feet
    • Not for use in Electro-Gen 2000

    Starting at $98.09

  5. ODORx C.O.C. Commercial Granular Odor Absorbent
    ODORx C.O.C. Commercial Granular Odor Absorbent

    On tough restoration jobs with heavy sewage, smoke, decay, and putrefaction odors, turn to ODORx C.O.C. (Crystal Odor Counteractant). This commercial formulation is designed to fight more aggressive odors and can be used in wall cavities, ceiling voids, and hard-to-reach areas.

    • Designed to fight severe odors on restoration jobs
    • Ideal for furnace plenum, attics, voids, and devastated areas
    • Coverage is 2 oz per 100 sq ft of floor area
    • Time release formula; can be placed on foil or in glass dishes
    • Cherry scent

    Starting at $55.79

  6. Fiberlock RECON Smoke Odor Sealer, White
    Fiberlock RECON Smoke Odor Sealer, White

    RECON Smoke Odor Sealer is designed to quickly encapsulate offending malodors and block the toughest stains. Completely solvent-free, this water-based, low-VOC, and low-odor formula bonds to nearly any surface, including wood, brick, concrete, plaster, plastic, and metal.

    • White
    • Permanently encapsulates smoke odors
    • Bonds to nearly any substrate
    • Water-based, non-flammable, low VOCs
    • Easily top-coated

    Starting at $75.30

  7. Unsmoke Unsoot #1 Encapsulant
    Unsmoke Unsoot #1 Encapsulant

    Unsoot #1 helps to improve indoor air quality, particularly in structures affected by fire or smoke damage, including "puff backs" and furnace malfunctions. This product creates a long-lasting barrier that helps prevent the release of particulates, which can irritate breathing and carry strong odors.

    • Great on unlined ductwork
    • Dilutes 4:1 (makes 5 gallons)
    • Coverage: 500-1,000 sq ft per diluted gallon
    • Pale opaque coating
    • pH: 4.9

    Starting at $62.65

  8. Zinsser B‑I‑N® Shellac Sealer, Clear (5 GL)
    Zinsser B‑I‑N® Shellac Sealer, Clear (5 GL)

    Fire damage restoration pros love B-I-N because it seals in the acrid smell of fire, as well as sealing in water, soot, and grease stains that plague such jobs.

    • For interior use only
    • Seals pet, smoke, and musty odors
    • Drys clear
    • Covers up to 600 sq ft per gallon+
    • Lightning fast dry times - recoat in 45 minute
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