How to Get a Burned Smell Out of a House

By Gryphon Adams

Burned food is a common source of a lingering burned smell in your house, but anything that burns can leave a lasting odor. Because smoke clings to many surfaces, airing out the house or using cover-up fragrances may not be enough to quell the smell. To get rid of the odor for good, use household supplies to thoroughly clean the areas where smoke odor lingers.

Smoke stained cooker in kitchen after fire
credit: Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Smoke of any kind leaves lasting odors.

Banish Smoke Stink

Step 1

Open the windows and run fans to increase ventilation. Dispose of any burned food or other burned items in the outside garbage after they cool. Submerse the cooking container, if applicable, in warm water with a squirt of dish soap. If a container is too damaged to clean, throw it away in the outside garbage.

Step 2

Simmer 1 cup or more of undiluted vinegar in a pan on the stove to cut the odor. White vinegar is a good choice because it's colorless and tends to be inexpensive.

Step 3

Sprinkle table salt on any spills or boil-over of scorched or burned food. If the burned food is inside the oven, put on oven mitts before sprinkling salt on the spill to reduce the risk of burns.

Step 4

Scrub any burned residue or scorch marks on impermeable surfaces with warm water and full-strength dish soap on a scrub pad or scrub sponge. Dip the scrubber in baking soda to scour off tough baked-on or cooked-on spills. Soak any affected stove or oven parts, such as burner liners or broiler pans, in the sink in warm, soapy water.

Step 5

Wipe down moisture-tolerant surfaces near the original source of the burned smell, including cabinets and counters, with undiluted vinegar. Pat undiluted white vinegar lightly on drywall or other porous surfaces to get the smell off without causing moisture damage. Don't use colored vinegars such as wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar on painted walls or porous surfaces such as drywall or unfinished wood, as they may stain.

Step 6

Sprinkle baking soda on carpets or rugs that retain a burned smell. Leave the baking soda in place for half an hour and then vacuum. Alternatively, follow the manufacturer's instructions to apply a carpet deodorizer.

Step 7

Check textiles including curtains, drapes, pillows, and upholstery for any burned smell. Wash washable items and send others to the dry cleaners.

Step 8

Run an air purifier in the area of your home that has the strongest odor, if needed, to help remove any lingering burned smell.