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Removing Cigarette Smoke Smell from an Apartment

Category Odors
If your apartment smells like cigarette smoke, it can be a challenge to get the odor cleaned out of the rental space. This is a guide about removing cigarette smoke smell from an apartment.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
March 11, 2008

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 14, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

Take a spray bottle (like an old Windex bottle) and fill it with White Vinegar. Add about 6 drops of Tea Tree Oil (you get that at the health food store) shake well and spray everythig until it's slightly damp. It's smell for a little while but in a couple hours all you should smell is a soft clean "tea tree oil" smell. I learned this from my Grandmother who is a terribly heavy (two to three packs a day) smoker... she does that and you can't tell someone smoked in there!

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 20, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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March 12, 20080 found this helpful

Hi hope this helps we use bicarb in our cleaning water removes any kind of smells including dogs toilet smells. Rosalie

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 12, 20080 found this helpful

I have heard that the toilet hangy things (that is the technical name) hung on the doors will absorb the smell. Good luck.

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 13, 20080 found this helpful

Don't use Ammonia if you have cats or they'll pee right over it and then you'll have a whole new problem to deal with. Cat urine is high in ammonia and that's what gets them confused. Many commercial cleaners have ammonia in them and then people are surprised when Fluffy pees on the freshly shampooed sofa.

Anyway - the stench from the nicotine is probably still on the walls. It often takes several layers of paint to cover that. So, perhaps ask your landlord for permission to repaint and if you tell him why, he might let write some of that off the rent check. Another solution is to scrub the walls down:

1 cup baking soda to 5-10 drops of essential oil (not synthetic!) Orange smells lovely or Lemon, Bergamot is a great scent as well for a room.

mix that well, put some old tennis socks over your hands and start scrubbing the walls with it. Let it sit for a bit and then vacuum any residue off with the brush attachment. It really works, but if there's a thick layer of nicotine under the paint it might take more paint. Good luck.

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March 13, 20080 found this helpful

Fill a mister bottle with with vinegar & spritz. May or may not help but it doesn't cost a huge amount to try.

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March 13, 20080 found this helpful

Key to cleaning, but could rub a tad off the paint. Smell or Odor is created by bacteria, Bleach will kill any Smell or Odor. Use warm or as hot as you can take water in the sink and dilute bleach with water, hey my theory is the more bleach the better. Use a huge sponge and scrub the walls with the bleach water. Bleach kills all odors! Guarantee it!

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March 13, 20080 found this helpful

Febreeze, Febreeze, Febreeze! (or the generic equivalent) Put that on the carpets, curtains walls, etc. Keep doing it, several times a day if possible. Also use Renuzit "Super Odor Neutralizer" Fine Mist Spray for the air and can also be used for fabrics & carpets. This is abit more expensive than regular air fresheners (I pay about $3 a spray bottle at Dollar General), but well worth it as it works better than any other that I've found and has a deliciously lovely scent. Also, what about one of those "smoker's candles"? They are designed to pull the smoke odors out of the air, so that may help too over time.

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By guest (Guest Post)
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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By guest (Guest Post)
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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By 0 found this helpful
June 17, 2016

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
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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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By 0 found this helpful
December 4, 2015

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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