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Removing Cigarette Smoke Odors From a House

The smell of cigarette smoke is strong, pervasive, and often lingers in a home. This guide is about removing cigarette smoke ordors from a house.

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Cigarette Smoke Odors
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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

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April 5, 20121 found this helpful
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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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April 5, 20120 found this helpful
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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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April 8, 20120 found this helpful
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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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June 17, 2016 Flag
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The woman who lived in the apartment before me was a chain smoker. The walls were prepped and painted. The smell seeped through after a month. The super in the building used something to bomb out the apt. and then put pellets in the vents and after that used an ionizer to clean the air. Well that didn't work either. I had to have the pellets removed because of the chemical smell. I even had to be on an inhaler for a while because of my breathing. It's hard to live here with a constant sore throat and smell. I want to wash down the walls and clean the rugs again myself. I don't want to have to paint the walls. I heard vinegar and water should do the trick.

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    June 17, 20160 found this helpful

    Cigarette smoke settles everywhere, changing from second hand smoke in the air to third hand smoke, which consists of old cigarette particles that cling to literally everything. You must thoroughly clean literally everything from the ceiling down-lights, wall switches, etc. and replace rugs and wall coverings. This is why the smell lingers for years or more. In addition to the constant smoke smell, you are also constantly breathing in third hand smoke, the cigarette particles. They are as cancerous as the original cigarette and second hand smoke.

    Unfortunately, the best plan for you is quickly to move out of the apartment and be certain that your next apartment has always been smoke free.

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    February 17, 2011 Flag
    0 found this helpful

    We bought a house that had smokers living in it. We have stripped up all carpet and had the wood floors refinished. We have stripped and refinished the woodwork and painted everything else, but in the spring in the time between using the furnace and the air conditioner, we can still smell the odor. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    By Betty

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    February 18, 20110 found this helpful
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    Did you use Kilz primer with an odor blocker before painting? Most smokers occupy kitchen, livingroom and bedroom where smoke is more prevalent. Have you scrubbed closets, cabinets, appliances that went with the home? If you use a strong fragrance when cleaning like PineSol or a citrus scent and air the house this Spring that should help in time. Does the house have floor vents? Use the long hose on your vac or shop vac and get as far into the duct as possible moving it back and forth. This will get loose debris/dust that odors cling to and then you can scrub the interior so far back with a strong disinfectant cleaner (I like Lysol in brown bottle) and set a bowl of vinegar water or crushed/bruised lemon or orange peelings on a saucer inside the vent duct.

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    February 18, 20111 found this helpful
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    An ozone generator will do the trick. I had a bad cooking incident in my home. I was told that I would have to repaint the whole house to remove the smell. I researched smoke removal and subsequently purchased an ozone generator from eBay for about $150. It was well worth it. I had tried everything to remove horrible smoke smell and nothing else worked. You can rent them, but I used it for several days to totally eliminate the odor, so purchasing the unit made sense. Good luck!

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    February 22, 20110 found this helpful
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    Before you go through the expense of having your ducts cleaned, get the furnace professionally cleaned first. Your ducts get dirty from the furnace. And, it takes more than just changing the furnace filters to clean a furnace and get it tuned up. Something the manufacturers recommend you have done once a year anyway. Then after the furnace is professionally cleaned, look at getting the ducts cleaned. Smoking and having pets all go through the furnace cycle and into the duct work. On average you will pay about $89 for a good reputable company to come out and professionally clean and tune up the furnace.

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    October 16, 2010 Flag
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    My roommate and I have been heavy smokers for years. I want to clean my entire house, walls, rugs, appliances, furniture, etc. to remove all nicotine from my home. This is why we do not have very much company at all family or friends. I need to change my lifestyle so I can also start breathing properly. Basically, I need help with everything that has to do with nicotine cleaning from my home and body. Is there any help out there?

    By Sherri from Boston, MA

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    October 16, 20100 found this helpful
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    You didn't state if you were giving up smoking or not, but there are e-cigs that operate as a mist and you can buy vials of flavored non nicotine liquids to refill the ecigs. It's better healthwise for you than smoking cigarettes if you want to try giving them up and the best thing about ecigs is it's odorless and no nicotine building up in lungs, clothing, and home, etc.

    In the future anyone who smokes should do it outdoors, so your home remains odor free of cigarette smoke and remove all temptation by getting rid of the ashtrays. To clean a lot of your heavily coated household items like sofa, chair, carpet, drapes or anything else fabric, is not going to be easy. You may look on the internet for commercial cleaning products that get down deeper than what you can get in the supermarkets.

    If you can afford to replace upholstered seating, I'd do that to save a lot of effort and time. You can buy almost new sofa/chair if you look around in newspaper ads or on the 'net if you can't buy new. I feel the same way about your carpet; years of smoke buildup and nicotine stains present in fabric won't all come out.

    If you need to go cheaper on cleaners w/o replacing a lot of furnishings, use these two products but not together: PineSol and Lysol in brown bottle and wear gloves as too much on hands feels like they are burning a little. You'll have to go over and over everything to totally notice a big difference. The carpet padding may also have the odor in it and that's why you may not totally remove all odors especially noticeable on rainy days.

    For walls if painted, scrub thoroughly to remove buildup and then repaint using a primer that deals with odors first. The primer will state it takes care of odors.

    For woodwork, wash with PineSol and a lot will lift out and change the water frequently. Try a degreaser spray too. This may help lift some of that stubborn nicotine. You can use Scots Liquid Gold or a good wood polish afterward to bring back that newer look.

    Sorry there's no EZ fix getting the job done, but it'll be cleaner and you'll be in a healthier lifestyle.

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    October 18, 20100 found this helpful
    Best Answer

    TriSodiumPhosphate or TSP is a powder you mix in water. It is the best thing for all walls, cabinets, paneling, etc.

    Baking soda just in tubs or in the boxes around the house will help, as will the plants. Your body will detox on it's own. Lots of water in your system will help with the sallow look and the yellow fingers. You are a champion if you are giving up smoking. If you are not, then look around your home and imagine that the inside of your body.

    Good luck.

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    October 19, 20100 found this helpful

    Bentonite clay will pull the nicotine and tobacco toxins from your body I would recommend taking capsules and drinking A lot of water, drink a lot of fresh juices veggie and fruit. As to cleaning walls I have had good success with a good microfiber cloth like the purple ones available from Flylady (google it) dawn and some water followed by spraying a solution of half white vinegar half water and scrubbing until everything comes clean. Have removed some nasty nicotine stains this way.

    I would find a cleaner that has an ozone room for your furniture to put it in there after cleaning. You can get bentonite clay and capsules to put it in from www.thebulkherbstore.com

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    December 4, 2015 Flag
    0 found this helpful

    How do you get cigarette smoke out of your apartment?

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      December 5, 20150 found this helpful

      This works on so many surfaces like walls, ceilings and floors. Replace or have the carpet professionally cleaned. Very good stuff!

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      July 15, 2015 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      We painted the yellow nicotine stained walls. To take the smell away do I have to clean and repaint again?

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        July 16, 20150 found this helpful

        When we moved into our house, one bedroom had been used by a smoker. We had to rip out and replace the carpet, clean the walls and ceilings with Mean Green (straight), and apply two coats of Kilz. Then we painted and laid new carpet, and finally the room was inhabitable.

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        April 29, 20160 found this helpful

        Need to resolve the nicotine problem first, paint will not adhere to the surface.

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        March 11, 2008 Flag
        0 found this helpful

        We just had a family member move into an apartment. The person who lived there before was a heavy smoker. Does anyone have ideas on how to get the smell of smoke out of the apartment? The carpets have been shampooed and the landlord painted, but the scent is still there. Any idea would be great. Thank you!

        Stacy from El Paso, IL

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        March 17, 20080 found this helpful

        We went through a similar isssue. We used most of the other suggestions posted and all seemed to help but did not completely eliminate the smell. Finally, a friend suggested we cut apples in half and place them all over the apartment. Apples aren't cheap, but it worked.

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        March 20, 20080 found this helpful

        We had a purchased trailer that smelled like smoke and rotten seafood - Ugh! We painted the walls, but used a primer called Bin (probably purchased at Home Depot) - the stuff seals stains and smells. It worked wonders. We did also remove all the upholstery and I'm sure this helped too.

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        October 10, 20080 found this helpful

        We had a house fire a few months ago, the home were re-build - I managed to save my brand new curtains never been used, but the smell of smoke is so deep in the fabric, we've tried dry cleaning, soak in vinegar, air outside, but to no avail! The minute we iron/press the curtains you get that horrible smell again. Who can help!

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        June 7, 2015 Flag
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        How can I eleminate cigarette smoke smells from my home when someone smokes in his room daily?

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          June 7, 20150 found this helpful

          There is no way to remove cigarette smell/smoke from your home if someone smokes inside as the smoke permeates the entire house. You can use very powerful (smelly) room fresheners but they do not remove the smell; they provide a different smell that only lasts a certain period of time. The smell can last for years even though the house may be repainted, curtains and carpet replaced, etc.

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          August 7, 2001 Flag
          0 found this helpful

          I'm moving into a house where a smoker has lived for 30 years. It smells like it, too. Any suggestions to get that deep down smoky smell out?

          By Angela

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          August 12, 20010 found this helpful
          Best Answer

          If the walls are sheet rock, wash them down with

          baking soda and water, then paint with a stain blocker mildew inhibitor, I used Kilz, Kmart and Walmart have it, there are other brands available. Make sure you do it on a day that is OK to keep your windows open because it's pretty stinky stuff. Then paint the walls with paint. Kilz is also great for water stains on walls and ceilings.

          Regular barbeque charcoal is good to put around too for smells.

          - Liz

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          March 21, 20050 found this helpful

          We ordered some T-2 to test for our readers and it is very pricey. They double charged us for our order and what we got was a tiny little 2 oz spray bottle (supposed to be 19.95 but was charged 39.95) I've written to them about it to see. Frankly the little bottle could be water. It is odorless. It says to use it with sunlight putting the item in the sun for 2 hours because it is activated by light. Two hours of sunshine will remove the odors from many things just by itself. At present, I would not recommend this.

          Susan from ThriftyFun

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          September 8, 20070 found this helpful

          I burnt the pot of soup to charcoal and the house smelled really bad. I sprayed the walls with fabreez and kept the windows open and sprayed all fabrics curtains and boiled cinnamon and orange slices for the smell.

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          May 15, 2013 Flag
          0 found this helpful

          I have an apartment rental where the previous renters were chain smokers. The walls were dripping with nicotine residue. My handyman completely repainted the entire apartment from floor to ceiling...

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          February 28, 2012 Flag
          4 found this helpful

          To rid your house of cigarette smoke smells, place little bowls of vinegar through out the house. It works!

          By Patricia from Copperas Cove, TX

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