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.

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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

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Have you cleaned your furniture? Upholstered furniture and mattresses will hold on to that smoke smell. Even wooden furniture (be sure to clean the sides, not just the top) and cabinets need to be cleaned well to remove the tar and nicotine residue. You might not be able to see it, but it's there.

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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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Everything will need to be cleaned; smoking gets residue even inside your lights, TV, and other appliances. Clean your furniture, pillows I would toss and replace. Have you also wiped down mirrors pictures, and glass? Change your vacuum bag and air filters for your a/c and heat. It will be in your blankets, clothing, luggage, towels - everything.

It may take several years for it to totally go away. A friend of mine had her home professionally cleaned by a special smoke removal company after she quit smoking, and on damp days the smell still came out 2 years later.

Good luck!

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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

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I've never lived with a smoker and won't let anyone smoke in my home or in my car. That said, I'd beg, plead and cry if I had to in order to try to get him to smoke outside. I have a couple friends who smoke and they are very considerate. My sister whom I haven't seen in years burned a hole in my living room carpet and one in my car. I know this doesn't answer your question which I don't have an answer for but if it bothers you as much as it seems to I'd probably get away from him every time he lights up by going outside. Maybe he'd see how much it bothers you.

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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

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I would certainly complain to the manager, even if it is not a smoke free building. Also, you should check your state or province laws, as there may be regulations against smoking. There are so few places that people can smoke nowadays, and most of the smokers I know DON'T smoke in their own homes! If the manager will do nothing, and there is no other recourse, make arrangements to move out. If you threaten to leave (and, of course, mean it) the manager may rethink his position of doing nothing.

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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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    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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    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

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    Fill a spray bottle 3/4 full with cold water. Pour in 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar. Every time your husband lights up, spray him down with this solution.

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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

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    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-http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-l ... 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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    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

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    There is a tried and true product easily found at Lowe's, Home Depot etc. It is called TSP my friend smoked like a fiend and never would open windows to air out! When she would move we would go tet TSP and scrub the walls with it, I helped just to see the clean walls.

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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

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    I used Murphy's Oil Soap to clean my walls for the same reason. It worked well. Good Luck.

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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

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    white vinegar white vinegar baking soda baking soda i'm a smoker

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    I acquired a relatively new refrigerator from a house where someone smoked. The refrigerator has the smell of stale smoke inside. How do I get rid of this odor?

    Gretchen from Cincinnati, OH

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    Have tried all of the above and now have a combo odor of vinegar and smoke. My grandson thought it was awful! I'm thinking the smoke odor must be coming from within the frig; I'm about ready to just give it away. Lesson learned; never purchase any appliance from a smoking family!

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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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    I heard cut a green apple in half and lay around,, not too long -per fruit flies. Google this to get proper instructions.. Ciao!

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    My grandbaby is visiting soon and I have been doing everything I know to rid the house of cigarette smoke. I have gotten the carpets cleaned. I am also washing draperies and steaming my tile floors. But I still can smell a stale odor even though I haven't smoked in the house in over a year. I'm thinking the walls and my plastic blinds are holding the odor. I heard vinegar and water may work, but I'm afraid the strong smell of vinegar will run everybody out of the house. Suggestions?

    By Molly

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    White vinegar is a great deodorant if allowed to dry completely, mix with water, not full strength.

    But I would use dawn [blue] and a tablespoon of bleach in a bucket of water. Cigarette smoke contains tar, which is sticky so that's for the Dawn, and bleach will deodorize. The walls need that treatment and it will help. Much of the smell will be gone in few hours. Don't overdo the bleach.

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    I was given a raincoat which is a plastic material on the outside and a silky fabric on the inside. The previous owner was a cigarette smoker, and the coat stinks like cigarette smoke. The coat cannot be placed in the washer. I have hung it outside to air for over a week, placed it in the bathtub with Dawn dish soap and cleaned it with a rag, and I have sprayed it with Febreeze. All to no avail. Does anyone have a secret to getting this horrible smell out of the coat so that it can be saved?

    By Joce141 from Pittsburgh, PA

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    You can put it in the washer just put on gentle cycle and hang on a hanger some where in the house or outside until dried

    I wash my vinyl table cloths that way and my tennis shoes just do not throw into dryer

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    How do you get rid of cigarette smell in your home?

    By Linda

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    I also use bread and vinegar. I put a piece of bread on a small plate and saturate it with vinegar, then set it out in the rooms. Seems to work.

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    I live in an apartment in a non-smoking building, but my upstairs neighbors were smoking like chimneys. The landlord told them they had to stop and only smoke outside. Though they are no longer smoking indoors, the cigarette smell is still coming out of my heating vents. Is there any way to get rid of this? I hate the smell and it wreaks havoc on my sinuses.

    By Maggie

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    About the only way to get rid of the odour is to have a professional company clean the ductwork. Perhaps the landlord can charge the upstairs tenant for the cost of having their mess cleaned up!

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    My mom is a smoker. I'm 13. I have been asking her to stop smoking around me because she won't wash all of my clothes in my room even though they smell like smoke because of her.

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    I have been given a brand new wheelchair (electric) which I needed badly, but the lady who had it smoked a lot and it smells of strong cigarette smoke. Anyone have a good suggestion on how to remove the scent from the chair?

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