Do Bathroom Fans Remove Smoke, Smell, & Odors?

Modern houses are popping up with this little addition to the bathroom. Bathroom fans are quickly becoming the new norm in bathroom designs.

With the frequency this new trend is rising, it has a lot of people thinking, is it really necessary? 

A bathroom fan eliminates smoke, odors, and smells. The idea of a bathroom fan is to expel certain foul smells out of the bathroom and house. Although smoke wasn’t in the initial idea, it also serves to remove smoke from the bathroom. And it is quickly becoming an essential part of a bathroom.

Does a Bathroom Fan Get Rid of Smoke, Odors, and Smells?

Do Bathroom Fans Remove Smoke, Smell, & Odors

The working mechanism behind a bathroom fan is it pulls smoke, odors, smells, and moisture out of the air and expels it.

The moisture from your daily showers can condense and accumulate on the floor, making it extremely slippery and dangerous. 

Smoke, odor, and other smells can make the bathroom environment uncomfortable when you shower or use the toilet.

Moisture could build up on walls and floors daily, leading to mold development on and behind floor tiles

How Do You Get Rid of the Smoke Smell In the Bathroom?

There are many ways of getting rid of smoke from your bathroom. Before starting any smoke-removing process, you must identify the origin of the smoke.

And if the source is indeed from the bathroom. Identifying the region from which this smell is coming can help any fix you will be applying.

If you know the source of the smoke, you can concentrate on getting the source neutralized to prevent more smoke production. 

If you can’t find the source of the smoke, or it is coming from elsewhere, the easiest and most effective way to get rid of it is by airing the bathroom.

You can start by opening up all the windows in the bathroom to allow fresh neutral air to do the work. 

If you don’t have a window in your bathroom, then a bathroom fan is the only fix that will properly expel all the smoke from your bathroom.

A bathroom fan will do more than get rid of the smoke. If there’s any bathroom odor, it will expel this as well. A bathroom fan will leave your bathroom with a refreshing neutral smell.

However, if the smoke is intense, the bathroom fan may only expel the smoke, but there may be traces of smoke smell left.

In such a case, you may have to do a deep cleaning of the bathroom and turn on the fan for a couple more days to eliminate the smell. 

The process of eliminating the smoke smell might not be so quick. If the smoke is intense, it may take some time for the air inside the bathroom to be expelled and exchanged with fresh smoke-less air from outside. 

How To Get the Best Ventilation Using a Bathroom Fan?

Remember to leave the bathroom fan on as you leave the bathroom after a shower. The fan needs to change the bathroom air completely, which will take some time.

Effective removal of smell, moisture, and smoke may take a while. However, so you don’t leave the bathroom fan on and forget, I suggest you replace the on and off switch with a timer switch.

Leaving the fan running shouldn’t bother you if you install a quiet fan. If you live in an apartment, it is common for smoke to make its way into your apartment.

For the living area, it is easy to get the smoke out. But when it gets to the bathrooms, that can be a problem. Bathrooms usually have small windows and don’t have proper ventilation like the rooms. 

You can switch on your bathroom vent and let it do all the work. After a while, you can check to see if the air has purified. 

Methods Of Venting Bathrooms

Bathroom fans are one essential component every bathroom should have, but people don’t pay any attention to this detail.

Siting your bathroom fan in a good location can tell on its overall output. However, some bathrooms can be limited if the building doesn’t support a bathroom vent. 

There are three major ways you can vent your bathroom; through the roof, into the house’s eaves, or out through a side wall.

You rarely have all three options on the table. Only two methods can fit into a house in most cases. 

Each of these methods has its merits and demerits. And I will be explaining each of these methods to help you best select the method you want to install if your bathroom doesn’t have a fan already.

If you don’t already have a bathroom fan, installing one could save you and your house. 

#1. Venting a Bathroom Fan Through Roof

Venting your bathroom fan through the roof is a viable option. This option is the most difficult to install, and I don’t advise you to go for this unless the house design isn’t suitable or it’s what you prefer. 

This method is a last resort for most construction workers due to the difficulty of installing the unit. This method is your only option if the bathroom is in the middle of the house. 

#2. Venting a Bathroom Fan Through the Eave

Venting a bathroom fan through the eaves is also an option and has the simplest installation method compared to the three.

It is mostly preferred because it is easy but effective. Venting through the eave has more advantages than opting for the roof or sidewall.

It would take a professional to notice the vent. The vent isn’t visible to the untrained eye.

#3. Venting a Bathroom Fan Through a Side Wall

Venting through the side wall is usually the last option because professionals prefer going for either the roof or eaves.

However, it does have its advantages over the other two methods. If your vent duct ever has a problem, this venting method is more easily accessible than both the roof and eaves methods. 

Below is a table highlighting a few features that evaluate the potential of each venting method so you can choose the best method that suits you and your house best.

Where Does Smoke Go From the Bathroom Exhaust Fan? 

The location of the exhaust fan determines the destination of the smoke. The smoke is directed outside the bathroom and house if the fan is on a wall.

However, if it is on the ceiling, it is either expelled outside the house or redirected to the attic. Directing to the attic is prohibited under many modern building codes. 

A metal ventilation duct should lead directly to a roof vent if the bathroom fan is properly installed.

In this case, it doesn’t matter the position of the bathroom fan; the fan will expel the smoke outside the house through the metal vent. This method is the modern way of installing bathroom fans. 

The metal vent should be as short and straight as possible to get the best possible ventilation.

It should exchange one cubic foot of air every minute for the best possible output from your bathroom fan. 

Hence, you must install the right fan size for the bathroom to get top-notch performance from the bathroom fan. 

What Absorbs the Smell of Smoke In the Bathroom?

If you don’t have the resources or don’t want a bathroom fan, there are a few ways to eliminate the stubborn smoke smell in your bathroom. 

Smoke has the annoying attribute of sticking around and even to the bathroom walls, but these methods should give you the fresh neutral air you want.

Baking soda has shown considerable potential in absorbing smoking smells. Baking soda contains sodium bicarbonate which is a strong deodorizer.

Sodium bicarbonate is so potent in this aspect because it absorbs smoke instead of masking it. Hence, since baking soda has this compound, it will absorb the smoky smell. 

White vinegar is also another excellent option. White vinegar neutralizes bad or smoky odor by attacking the individual molecules, which reduces their strong smell.

A commercial air freshener can go a long way in subduing unwanted smoke smells in the bathroom. This fix, however, will only subdue the smoke, not get rid of it. But it is also a good option. 


It is common for odor and smoke to linger due to the poor ventilation of bathrooms. Having a bathroom fan can go a long way in reducing and eliminating the odor that lingers in bathrooms.

However, if your bathroom has no fan but has an odor, you can use baking soda or white vinegar to eliminate the smell.

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