Almost had a housefire a few weeks back. We left a Lasko box fan (that we use for white noise while sleeping) on during the day and when we went to go to bed there was a horrible burning smell coming from it and the motor was groaning and the blades were not turning. Clearly the motor died or botched somehow but since it was left on it was overheating (the fan was hot to the touch!) and spewing a burning plastic smell all over the house.

Obviously I threw the fan away, but weeks later the burning plastic smell remains. Health considerations aside, is there anything we can do to get rid of this smell? Leaving the windows open and running fans to air out the upstairs isn't really an option because we're heading into winter, the price of heating oil is high and its been in the low 40s consistently for the last week or so.

  • you could try using an electrostatic air cleaner ..... regular filter air cleaner would probably not work because of the size of the particles .... otherwise, open all the windows
    – jsotola
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 17:52

2 Answers 2


Time is the only real cure. Air out the house with the heaters off whenever the temperature is tolerable. Run the fans, not the heat and change your air filters a few times. You can also spray Febreze or other odor eliminators where appropriate (i.e. not on bed sheets, garments, food surfaces etc.), especially any carpets or rugs because fabric traps and holds smells like that. I like to use the unscented version but it's harder to find. These are not perfumes, they actually chemically neutralize odors and are basically temporary so if the smell is embedded in the paint on your walls or the carpet, it may return. But the odor eliminator will make it tolerable to live there. Also wash ALL of your sheets and garments that were exposed to it.

Article on how odor eliniators work.


One of the best things to do is to get carpet cleaning done from someone who provides those services. The carpets especially trap those kinds of smells in them, sometimes cloth sofa's and things of that nature. If the smell is strong and it's been weeks or months and the smell isn't gone, then you should get carpet cleaning done in the particular area or the whole house and the smell should go away.

We went to my cousins house and they got a new but it wasn't new, someone else lived in it before them. The house had a very bad cigarette smell in it and they said for the past 2 months they tried to spray things and the smell wouldn't go away. I told them to get carpet cleaning done in the whole entire house as well as to clean the walls and even the roof.

The thing with the smoke is that it gets trapped in the carpets, and there can even be an unseeable layer of it on the roof especially and the walls. Anyways, they did all that, we came back a few weeks later and their house smelled very fresh and clean and they had gotten new furniture. I hope this helps :)

  • 1
    Why are you assuming there is carpet in there? The OP doesn't mention that. Maybe this should be a comment.
    – JACK
    Commented Dec 26, 2020 at 3:01

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