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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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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

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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July 20, 20160 found this helpful
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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, 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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September 25, 20160 found this helpful
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October 16, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

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

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
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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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October 18, 20100 found this helpful

25 years ago we bought this house from a man/wife, he was the smoker and dying. The professional who came to do our ceilings/walls said that they had to use special paint to cover up the damage of tobacco smoke. We have stained woodwork, doors, etc a 100 yr old house with original beautiful wood. We have scrubbed for years trying to get all the nicotine off the wood. Every time we do top to bottom and scrub stairways, doors, etc your rag is full of nicotine. The house smell is gone, but the stains live on. Think what your lungs look like. Glad you are changing to healthy.

For smell, the vanilla is the best remover of nicotine. You will have to invest in a lot of special painting to help change up the walls, etc. I had to go to oil paint, as the latex would not do it. Washing did not solve anything, it would bleed through. The oil paint helped. Keeping furniture is hard after contamination of smoke from anything. Sending them out to a professional cleaners, check local drycleaners or cleaning companies that help after house fires.

Photos,etc may have to be scanned to be kept before cleaning. They absorb so much contaminates.

For the carpets, and I use this for any dog smell, put 1 teaspoon in the rinse water of my carpet shampooer and run warm water over after I have shampooed. You can't smell anything. You have to get the household one.

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October 19, 20101 found this helpful
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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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Anonymous Flag
January 6, 20160 found this helpful
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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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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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