Cleaning up a smoke affected home after a fire

My home smells of smoke. What should I do?

If your home has been damaged by fire or smells of smoke from bushfires you should follow these instructions.

Ventilate your home

  • open the doors and windows, sunlight and fresh air will help remove the odour
  • wash hard surfaces (furniture, walls and floors)
  • wash indoor surfaces with mild soap or detergent and water
  • cooking utensils can be washed with detergent and hot water and polished with a suitable polishing agent to remove discolouration
  • wash soft furnishings (upholstered furniture and bedding)
  • air soft furnishings outside in the sunshine and wind, mattresses may be able to be cleaned by a specialist upholstery cleaner, it is almost impossible to get the smell of smoke out of feather pillows or foam.

For persistent smoke and soot, wear rubber gloves and wash with the following: 4-6 teaspoons of washing powder and 1 cup of household chlorine bleach added to 4 litres of water. Remember to always follow the safety directions on the bleach container


  • air clothing outside in the sunshine and wind
  • wash any affected clothing normally

For persistent stains and smoke odour can sometimes be washed from clothing using 4-6 teaspoons of washing powder and cup of household chlorine bleach added to four litres of water. After washing, rinse the clothes with clean water and dry them well. Remember to wear gloves and follow the safety directions on the bleach container. Care should be taken as this mix will bleach clothes.

Clothes left on the clothes line

These should be rewashed as wind might have removed some smoke odour; however, soot, particles and ash may still be on them.

Rewashing ensures sensitive skin (for example, a baby’s skin) is protected from possible irritants.

Health effects from ash and soot in the home

Low levels of ash on household surfaces are unlikely to harm your health.

For further information

Call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) at any time.

Contact 13 QGOV (13 74 68) for your nearest Public Health Unit .

Your doctor

If you or anyone in your household is experiencing any health effects from the smoky conditions seek medical advice from your doctor.