September 08, 2023

How to Get Cigarette Smell Out of Your House

Cigarette smoke is one of the trickiest smells to get rid of — but it's not impossible. On a molecular level, cigarette smoke is attached to tiny pieces of oily tar that stick to surfaces. To eliminate the smoky smell, you have to target the sticky tar and not just cover the smell.
Getting cigarette smoke out of your home is important to improve your home's air quality and protect your health. Whether you want to get the smell out before you move or are moving into a home where the cigarette smell is rampant, here's how to get the smell of smoke out of your house or apartment.

Tools to Remove the Smoke Smell From a Home

You probably have many of the right materials to remove cigarette smoke from your home already in your pantry. There are multiple ways to get the smoke smell out of a home, depending on the part of your house you’re trying to clean.

Here’s a quick list of materials that can help remove the smell of smoke:

Baking soda
Activated charcoal
Air purifier with charcoal
Steam cleaner
Cleaning rags
New HVAC filters
Also, take note of the supplies absent from this list — scented candles, sprays, essential oils and incense. Masking the smell of cigarette smoke in your home only works for so long, and it doesn’t improve air quality the way cleaning the source of the smell does.
Instead, you’ll want to tackle the root of the smell to effectively rid your home of residual cigarette particles.

Getting Cigarette Smell Out of the Air

Cigarettes leave a lasting smell, so most people think to treat the air first. There are several steps you can take to remove smoke molecules from the air, and most of them are inexpensive. Try combining several of these options for the best results:
Baking soda: Try setting bowls of baking soda around the house. Baking soda absorbs odors and can help soak the smoke smell out of the air. After a few days, throw the baking soda away and refill the bowl. You can also try this method with bags of activated charcoal.
Air circulation: Improve air circulation by opening windows and getting a cross breeze blowing through the house. This will catch any smoke molecules hanging in the air and sweep them outside, replacing them with fresh air. Try this for several days, leaving the windows open as long as possible.
Vinegar and lemon peels: Boil vinegar or lemon peels on the stove to create steam that helps to neutralize the smell of cigarette smoke inside. The sharp smell of vinegar will disappear on its own after a while, and you may find you actually love the citrusy smell of lemon peel.
Dehumidifier or air purifier: Although neither of these appliances is designed to clean up cigarette smoke, they can help. An air purifier will be much more effective against the smell of smoke if it has a charcoal filter. Dehumidifiers may be able to pull some smoke smell out of the air along with excess moisture.
If you have central air, another option is to replace all the HVAC filters inside your home. As your house automatically circulates the air inside, new filters can help with smoke smell removal. Of course, cleaning the air is only the first step. To get the cigarette smell out of your house or apartment, you need to address hard surfaces, too.

Getting Cigarette Smoke Out of the Walls, Floors, and Ceiling 

When people smoke indoors, the sticky smoke molecules adhere to every surface. To get the smoke smell out of your house, you’ll need to clean the walls, floors, and ceilings. Of course, the goal is to remove the smoky smell without damaging paint or any other surfaces. Steam cleaning is one of the best ways to get the smell of smoke out of your house. Heat from the steamer will melt the oil and tar so you can wipe the smoke smell away. The key to using a steamer effectively is to keep it moving so that it doesn’t heat any area for too long and cause damage. You’ll want to be especially careful using a steamer around wallpaper and drywall. Cleaning smoke out of carpet can be tricky. You can rent a carpet shampooer to deep clean the smell of cigarette smoke. Another more cost-effective method is to sprinkle baking soda on the carpet. Let it sit for a while before vacuuming it off. You may need to repeat this step multiple times, or you could consider replacing the carpet altogether.

Getting Rid of the Smoke Smell in Your Upholstery

Upholstery may seem difficult to clean, but it’s possible. The first step to getting the cigarette smell out of upholstery is to take your furniture outside and leave it in the sunlight. The UV rays can help to neutralize the smell of smoke. Don’t leave your furniture in the sun for too long, though, as this can cause fading.
Steam cleaners are also very effective for cleaning cigarette smoke out of furniture. The hot steam can melt the sticky tar and oil that’s causing the smell of smoke to cling to the fabric on your furniture. Steam cleaners can damage delicate fabric, so be sure to keep the steamer moving while you use it. Once you’ve steam-cleaned your furniture, wipe it down with vinegar and a wet rag.
To clean curtains, bedding, and clothing, run them through the washer with some vinegar. You can hang them in the sun to dry for additional help with the smell. Couches and mattresses can be improved by sprinkling baking soda over top. Allow the baking soda to soak up odors for a while before you clean it off.
Miscellaneous items like books and lamps should sit outside in the sun for a while. The best way to remove the smell of cigarette smoke from fabric items is to clean them without causing damage. You can stop once the smell of smoke is significantly reduced. Each item you clean will contribute to a smoke-free home with purer air.

Book a Deep Cleaning With Maid Bright Today!

Reducing the smell of cigarette smoke in your home takes time, effort, and patience. Want some help with the process? The cleaning professionals at Maid Bright can take care of everyday tasks so you get the deep cleaning your home deserves. Contact us today to book a deep cleaning for your home!
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