Removing Cigarette Smoke Odors

The odor from cigarette smoke is strong, pervasive, and often difficult to remove. This is a guide about removing cigarette smoke odors.


April 4, 2012 Flag
1 found this helpful

I use to smoke in my house and company did as well. I have cleaned all my walls, curtains, and carpets, and I still smell cigarette smoke. I use wall deodorant plugs, and wall sprays and candles. I also got a crock pot and put hot water and potpourri oils in it. I still smell it, but no really heavy smell. My house smells.

By Bobbie A from Jeffersonville, IN

April 5, 20121 found this helpful
Best Answer

Place some pans of heated vinegar around the house for a few days. You can also place pans of charcoal (activated, if available). The vinegar smell will linger, but is very short lived. The smoke odor in fabrics might be reduced by spraying with Febreze?

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April 8, 20120 found this helpful
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August 25, 2016 Flag
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This is a guide about cleaning cigarette smoke odors on stuffed animals. Cigarette smoke is so pervasive. It clings to everything including a child's stuffies.

Child sniffing and hugging large stuffed bear

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June 3, 2011 Flag
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My husband smokes cigarettes in the bedroom, but the whole house smells like an ashtray. I've tried to get him to smoke outside but to no avail. Is there anything I can do to get rid of the "ashtray" smell in my house? Thanks.

By Pamela

June 7, 20110 found this helpful

For cleaning the walls befoe painting, you should use a solution of TriSodium Phosphate [aka: TSP] and luke warm water. follow the directions on the container; available at good Paint Stores.

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February 7, 2007 Flag
1 found this helpful

I need to know how to get rid of cigarette smoke in my house. My husband smokes. I have used all kinds of spray. Burned candles, still I can smell the smoke. What can I use? I have a small poodle, so I would need something that wouldn't hurt my dog.


Shonda from Grand Rivers, KY

January 29, 20090 found this helpful

I will try the vinegar and water or is it just vinegar? Any suggestions on how to approach the subject of smoking oustide (my husband and guest's) without hurt feelings? We liven in an apartment and when we can (weather permiting) we will open the sliding door but we live in west texas and the dirt blows a lot over here,, some advise please. FYI husband is a sensitive person.

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April 4, 20100 found this helpful

February 8, 2015 Flag
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I have asthma really bad and get headaches when I smell cigarette smoke coming into my bedroom, even with my bedroom door closed. The AC/heat vents are blocked. I have used candles, and spray alot of air fresheners. Nothing is working. I have an air cleaner and that's not helping either? What can I used that might help keep the smells away from my room?

By Jonathan J R from Philadelphia PA

February 9, 20150 found this helpful

If the cigarette smoke is coming into your room from smokers in other parts of your home, there is really not much you can do. It is impossible to completely prevent smoke from entering your room 24/7; a fan, filter and stuffing towels around the door might help some. Unfortunately, you are exposed to smoke when you leave your room so you essentially have exposure to cigarette smoke all the time.

Aside from the actual smoke itself, you are also exposed to second and third hand cigarette smoke problems-smoke particles and gases in the air that you inhale as you walk through and exposure to smoke residual matter that is in the air and then lands on furniture, carpets, etc., such as nicotine, chemicals added to the cigarette etc. The particulate matter is then blown into the air again when one sits on a couch, vacuums (no vacuum cleaner filters the air completely), dusts furniture, etc.

(Mayo Clinic- ... nswers/third-hand-smoke/faq-20057791).

Candles and air fresheners do not help very much. Candles produce their own smoke and perfume in the air and air fresheners contain ingredients that bind some smells chemically (and temporarily) and also have perfume to scent the air. So you may be exposing yourself to other problem products in addition to cigarette smoke.

You can try simple and cheap to very expensive face masks that filter the air to various degrees. Obviously, the best plan would be to move to a better situation, if you can.

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Anonymous Flag
February 6, 20160 found this helpful

December 23, 2014 Flag
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Is there some legal action I can take about the smoke getting in my apartment from my neighbor downstairs? We are getting sick as if we ourselves smoked. I have a 9 years old affected by the contaminated air too. What can I do to make the air cleaner?

By Marina R

December 24, 20140 found this helpful

If it is not a NO Smoking building there is little you can do, but move to a Non-smoking apartment building.

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December 24, 20140 found this helpful

July 26, 2011 Flag
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I have a room attached to my garage that is sheetrocked and insulated, but is not painted or primed. My renters smoke very heavily in this room and now that room and the garage smells. When they took down the pictures that they had hanging up there is a brown tint around where the picture was hanging.

We have had the windows open but this does not help. What is the best way to get the smell out. Also, is priming it now just going to make the smell stick into the walls.

Please help with any ideas!

By Sue

July 28, 20110 found this helpful

Use kilz paint it goes over stains and kills the odors. You can buy it at a paint dept of a store.

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July 1, 2013 Flag
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I just bought my new mobile (double-wide) home. New to me, but owned by a smoker. When I first viewed the home I did not smell smoke at all and I am a real shark for smoke smell (I hate it). I viewed the home 2xs in 2 weeks. No odor. My offer is accepted and I return for home inspection - smoke! I ask. Told it was the AC - deceased husband smoked just under the built-in AC. Hmmmm....OK. Returned for a gab and buy/sell with owner (real nice woman) barely a whiff. OK. Walk-thru gets put smack up to closing and at walk-thru I could hardly breath. I opened all windows for 2 days - still stinks to high heaven!

Question - and thanks for excellent tips here - I could never wash walls by hand (disabled) so I wondered if I might use a thick painting roller and roll the residue off? Even the ceilings could be done this way. I couldn't do that, friends will help, but I could roll the walls. What do you think of this as a method? Seeing as how I wasn't able to smell anything at viewings (I'm sure her realtor put the fear of god into her that buyers would flee if she didn't smoke outside, but once she had a P & S Agreement she slipped back and by move out time it was packs and packs galore). I'm hoping a wash with water and vinegar or TSP (but don't you have to also rinse TSP?). I sure could not do the cleaning 2xs) prior to KILZ primer and paint will do the job. I will also, of course, wash all shelves, cupboards, etc. What do you think? And sorry for the long (...)s, I know they make the reading harder. Bad habit. Thanks.

By Sue B

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July 2, 20130 found this helpful

Whenever I've had to rid a house of heavy cigarette smoke I've had to really scrub with the vinegar and water so I'm not sure the roller would have the same cleaning ability but hey, give it a try-you may discover it works nicely!

One thing, if the house has central AC you will probably need to have the ducts cleaned too as the residue will have been circulated through the ducts, sad to say. Also a good flushing will clean the condenser and rid the unit of any accumulated residue.

If the AC is a wall or window unit you can use vinegar and water to clean all the parts you can get to (Q-Tips, wetted fin combs or gently scrubbing the fins with a wetted soft bristle toothbrush; soak the washable filter and grill in dishwashing liquid followed by a vinegar and water soak followed by a cold water rinse).

Central or wall, if the AC doesn't have a washable filter, replacing it will go a long ways towards clearing the air:)

Good luck, please update if the roller idea works because that would really be a great bit of info re the cleaning up after a heavy smoker.

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September 22, 2015 Flag
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My sister-in-law gave us a microfiber couch. It's in great shape except they are smokers. Is there anything that will get this cigarette smell out of it?

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October 4, 20150 found this helpful

You can use 1 part white vinegar diluted in 2 parts water and keep wiping it over the sofa making sure not to soak it. It will take a lot of swipes before odor has diminished. Let dry and repeat. You'll see the cloth and water turning color; keep it changed while doing this. You may not get ALL of it lifted, but a majority will certainly help. If the armrests have zip off coverings, you can launder those and let air dry. Sitting it outdoors out of sunlight would probably help some while cleaning the fabric as it will dry faster and sofa can air out. That's the least expensive way to deal with this, but a carpet/furniture cleaner could probably do more for the sofa quicker. I'd probably contact a pro after I've done all I could to hopefully have remaining odor lifted.

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May 22, 2011 Flag
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My house smells of cigarette smoke, thanks to the people who lived in it before me. I was told to bleach the walls to get out the smell, but was wondering if there were any other ways to get out that nasty smell. Thanks.

By Deborah A

May 23, 20110 found this helpful

I can understand your problem with the awful odor of cigarette smoke. I would call your local fire department and ask them what you can do to rid your home of the smell. They should be able to assist you. I, too, wanted to purchase a house that I really liked but backed off because the cigarette smoke was just too strong and I could not breathe in the house. The owners were smokers for years and the odor was in the carpets, the fabrics, the walls, the floors, the wallpaper and even the wood. The odor was too extensive and so I passed on it. I wish you well and do try the fire department.

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May 24, 20110 found this helpful

January 7, 2008 Flag
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We are moving into a lower level duplex, the upstairs tenants are heavy smokers and moved out from the lower level a few days ago. I will deep clean the carpets and walls to get the smell out of the lower level, but am concerned about the continuing tobacco smoke from above, or the air ducts.

I am not sure how to clean. Will my cleaning will be null and void because of the continuous smoking from up above?

Anya from MN

January 14, 20080 found this helpful

Thanks for all the feedback, We are here and are "smoked out" regularly!

The Landlord knows, don't think he would want to change anything, he knows the people upstairs are "smokers" they were down here smokers first.

We bought 3 Windchaser Ionic Air Purifiers and some electrostatic duct filters, the purifies seem to clean out the air throughout the night and during the day when there is no active smoke coming through. When they are home and smoking, the residual smell still comes through the air ducts. The duct work is connected in this home. So I close the vents, then its really cold. So we will buy some type of room heater.

We are also going to try the Hepa filter in the duct work,

but there is no way to stop the smoke from coming in when the heat blows.

Also looking into a bigger better more powerful ion air purifier when we have the funds.

My lips tingle when the smoke starts to come, so I know to close the vents! fun!

Its a nice home, except for the smoke. I will never again

rent a duplex with a smoker or move into a place that had

smokers. This place will just be for a time.

Thanks again! for all your suggestions here and on all the other smoking threads.


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January 15, 20080 found this helpful
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