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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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How do you get cigarette smoke out of your apartment?

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

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

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      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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      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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      How can I eleminate cigarette smoke smells from my home when someone smokes in his room daily?

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        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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        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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        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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        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 with two coats of semi-gloss in the kitchen and bathrooms and then he did two coats of egg shell paint in the rest of the apartment. He also painted the cottage cheese ceilings. My problem is that he did not clean the walls before he started. He painted over the nicotine drenched walls. My question is will I ever get the horrible cigarette smoke smell out of this apartment? Would it do any good to wipe the walls with vinegar and water? All of the cabinets have been refinished; there is all new tile, blinds, and carpet.

        By Joyce

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        This product really works, we bought a home that had smokers, when we repainted and added the ionic paint additive to the paint, in about two days all smoking odor was gone. Vance Edwards

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        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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        How do you clean cigarette staining off kitchen worktops and cupboards?

        By Deborah from Northern Ireland

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        Distilled vinegar works like a charm (I would use it straight to remove nicotine) and the advantage of using it is that it is not harmful to your lungs or other organs and the odor goes away in a just a few minutes. Also, it is environmentally friendly and super inexpensive (a half gallon - 1.9 liters only costs about $2.00 USD - 1.49399 EUR) and you can use it to clean and sanitize everthing from windows and floors to sinks and toilets and in the rinse cycle of your washing machine as a fabric softener.

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        We have recently moved into an new house. The previous owners were smokers. We don't have the money to replace the carpets at this time. What would be the best and cheapest way to get the smoke smell out of the carpets?

        Thank you,
        Jennifer from Texas

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        I've been in a apartment for a month. The smoke smell is still there, even when you walk in you can smell a "hint" of smoke. I'm sick of my clothes smelling like that too! So I complained to the property manager, and they told me to wait and see if i can air it out. I'm just concerned it's a health issue since my son has asthma. I find myself spraying Febreeze everyday on my walls, carpet, etc.

        I guess TIME is of essence. the walls/ceilings i believe were not deodorized but painted over. so, what should I do? I guess I should invest money that I feel the property management should have taken care of in the first place and hire a professional cleaner?

        Lesson learned, the minute you smell smoke in a place you want to buy or rent, I would think twice before moving in! It will cost you in the long run.

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        Home and Garden Cleaning OdorsApril 14, 2013
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