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 odors from a house.
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January 12, 2017 Flag

Vinegar, baking soda, airing things out all have some merit in removing smoke odor, but if the odor is bad this will only put a small dent in it.

Odor removal is what I do for a business, it takes two things, a very good enzyme product initially. I use a professional fogger to fog the home before I ozone the home or car. You can use a weed sprayer in place of a fogger

In a home, I will put multiple ozone machines (high powered) for multiple days. It takes both concentration of ozone and duration of time to remove the smoke odor (or whatever odors). You can buy high powered machines to do this job as well.

A car will take 2 to 3 days to remove smoke odor depending on the severity. The same process is repeated, but my high powered machine has a hose connection that goes into the car. Look for machines that have a hose connection.

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January 17, 20170 found this helpful

do you know of any professionals to remove cigarette smoke in South New Jersey?

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4 found this helpful
February 28, 2012 Flag

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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Anonymous Flag
January 6, 20160 found this helpful

It helped in my case when I scrubbed everything down with vinegar then placed bowls of it around but it did not get rid of it

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Questions

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December 4, 2016 Flag

My mother in law just recently gave my husband and I her house. She was a heavy smoker and the house smells pretty badly of smoke, among other things. I really want to get rid of it and make it smell nice and I want the air to be healthier for when we have kids. Is there any advice you can give to treat the house?

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December 30, 20160 found this helpful

Activated charcoal will absorb some of the smell. Open windows and use fan to air out the home. You can also wash non-fabric surfaces with a diluted bleach or cut vinegar solution.

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Anonymous Flag
January 11, 20170 found this helpful

Actually it is completely possible to remove these odors, I have made a business of it, see below:

It takes much longer than 12 hours to remove the cigarette and smoke odors if it is a heavy smell, you would not believe the homes that I have done where people have used vinegar, baking soda and so much more.

The only thing that will permanently remove the smoke odor is to professionally fog the home and then multiple day ozone shock treatment with multiple high output ozone machines in the home. I recommend Prozone Solutions if you are going to buy your own machines.

This is all I do-odors, many others besides smoke odor (cigarette odor, cigar odor and fire damage odor, gasoline in cars, rodent odor and more). Please see my site and check me out under Ozone Pure Air at Yelp!!! I only serve Southern California. God bless,

Troy 949-291-0952

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January 16, 20170 found this helpful

I have a method that's worked for me. Spray the carpet, air, and all furniture (basically everything... even walls if you must) with Febreeze Extra Strength. If needed add in a nice smoke eliminating candle (no normal scented candles will do nothing)... Lord Byrons Smoker's Candle or if you want a nice scent you can go with Smoke Odor Exterminator Candle (I'm sure there are others you could try) Lord Byrons can sometimes be found at Walmarts (the aisle that sells cigarettes if your Walmart does) other candles can be found online... if you have a smoke shop near you, you might find something there also.

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April 4, 2012 Flag

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
Best Answer

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, 20121 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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February 17, 2011 Flag

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, 20112 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

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, 20101 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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June 17, 2016 Flag

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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July 15, 2015 Flag

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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December 25, 20160 found this helpful

Classidur Paint will, not cheap but fantastic.

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March 11, 2008 Flag

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 15, 20080 found this helpful

We have used charcoal. Get a few bags put into buckets place around the home.

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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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August 7, 2001 Flag

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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February 20, 2005 Flag

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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October 1, 20080 found this helpful

The smoke smell in most likely in more than just the carpets. You have to clean all the surfaces including cabinets inside and out. Change the HVAC filters. There are many smoke neutralizers that will take care of the smell. Janitorial supply places will have the same type of stuff that Stanley Steemer used in the above post - for alot less then $150. The one that has worked for me, I'm a carpet cleaner is Get the Smoke Out.

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October 18, 20080 found this helpful

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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Anonymous Flag
March 13, 20160 found this helpful

Please be aware the Febreeze can exacerbate asthma symptoms. It doesn't remove odours, it just makes it so you can't smell them.

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December 4, 2015 Flag

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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June 7, 2015 Flag

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

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