Does Air Duct Cleaning help with smoke smell?

Does Air Duct Cleaning help with smoke smell?

A dirty vent
If you are reading this, chances are you are dealing with a smoke-smell problem in your home. If you have had smoke inside your home, you know how difficult it can be to get rid of that lingering smell. It's a common issue that many of us face, especially if you or someone in your household smokes cigarettes or cigars. Smoke penetrates deep into fabrics, furniture, and even the walls. The smell can be pretty stubborn and linger for what seems like forever. You might be wondering if air duct cleaning can help get rid of that smoky odor.

In this blog post, we will explore what causes smoke smells to stick around, how air duct cleaning works, if it’s effective for smoke removal, and some other odor elimination tips. Keep reading to learn if calling a duct cleaning company is worth it after you have had smoke damage in your home.

What Causes Smoke Smell to Linger?

There are a few reasons why smoke odors stubbornly remain long after visible signs of smoke have been cleaned up. When you smoke or have a fire going, tiny particles from the smoke can get trapped in all sorts of places in your home. We are talking furniture, curtains, carpets, and even your air ducts. These particles are super small, so they can get in there and stay put.

The particles then continue to release fumes, which our noses detect. Smoke can also adhere in sticky tar-like creosote along air duct walls and vents. With central heating and cooling, air constantly circulates through the duct system, carrying the smoked smell into living spaces. These odors tend to seep back out over time, meaning traces still linger if not adequately removed from the ductwork.

How Air Duct Cleaning Works

Professional air duct cleaning utilizes powerful equipment to dislodge and extract contaminants trapped within the ductwork. First, specialized, high-powered vacuums remove loose debris and residue from duct surfaces via fixed hoses snaked throughout the network. Pneumatic tools are further used to scrub the duct walls to lift stuck-on gunk. Finally, powerful fans pull any freed contaminants toward the vacuum unit and into waste collection bags for disposal.

Professional duct cleaners use truck-mounted vacuums, which have very strong suction power. They also take safety steps. This ensures that no loosened debris gets back into the home’s air. Using all these methods, the ducts get deep cleaned. Most particles that cause odors are captured. So duct cleaning can reduce smoke smells blowing into rooms later. But it may only remove some of the odor if the residue is deep in other places, too. Additional treatments may be needed to get rid of the smell fully.

Can Air Duct Cleaning Help with the Smoke Smell?

Since ducts can hold onto smoke smells, having them cleaned may help reduce some of the odor. Any sticky smoke residue stuck on the duct walls and vents gets sucked up and scrubbed away. The powerful vacuuming and scrubbing removes traces of smoke from the duct surfaces. So duct cleaning can lessen smoke fumes from your HVAC system later on. But cleaning the ducts alone won’t eliminate all smoky odors for good. That’s because, over time, smoke particles often sink deeper into porous walls, floors, furniture, and fabrics. Even if duct residues get removed, smelly residues soaked into other household materials can keep releasing fumes.

So, even after air ducts are cleaned, some lingering smoke odors unrelated to the duct system may remain. You will likely need extra deodorizing treatments on those smoke-absorbing surfaces throughout the home to get rid of all stubborn smells fully. You will likely require additional deodorizing treatments on those household surfaces to get rid of lingering odors that aren’t air duct related.

A man covering his nose from the smell

Other Ways to Get Rid of Smoke Smell

If you’re serious about getting rid of that smoke smell, there are a few other things you can try in addition to air duct cleaning. One option is to use an air purifier with a HEPA filter. These filters are designed to trap even the smallest particles, including smoke, so they can be a big help in clearing the air. You can also try using natural deodorizers like baking soda or white vinegar. Just leave a bowl of either one out in the room with the smoke smell, which can help absorb some of the odor.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you or someone in your home is a smoker, the best way to prevent smoke smell is to smoke outside. I know, I know – easier said than done. But the truth is, smoking indoors is always going to lead to that lingering odor. If you can make the switch to smoking outside, you’ll be doing your home (and your lungs) a big favor in the long run.

Along with ductwork cleaning, try these extra tips for tackling lingering smoke fumes:

  • Shampoo carpets/rugs and vacuum upholstered furniture
  • Steam clean fabrics on mattresses, pillows, and drapes
  • Fill permeable spaces with activated charcoal to trap smells
  • Use an ozone machine treatment in unoccupied areas
  • Repaint walls with odor blocking sealant primer
  • Increase home ventilation and run air purifiers

Implementing a few of these with professional duct cleaning may finally blast that pesky smoke smell for good.



Smoke smell stubbornly sticks around long after the smoke is gone. Smelly residues get trapped in household materials and then keep slowly letting off fumes over time. Air ducts easily become contaminated, too, and collect smoke particles. Later, when the HVAC runs, these smell circulate through the home again. Cleaning ducts can help lessen one source of lingering stinky air.

But to fully get rid of smoke odors, you usually need to treat other smoke-absorbing surfaces for best results. Still, having your duct system professionally cleaned is a smart first step toward fresh indoor air again. Our highly trained experts at Got Dust Duct Cleaning can thoroughly clean your home’s ducts while removing stuck-on smoke smells.

Call us for effective duct cleaning for healthier indoor air for you and your family.

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