Removing Cigarette Odor from a Room

I have a room attached to my garage that is sheetrocked and insulated, but is not painted or primed. My renters smoke very heavily in this room and now that room and the garage smells. When they took down the pictures that they had hanging up there is a brown tint around where the picture was hanging.

We have had the windows open but this does not help. What is the best way to get the smell out. Also, is priming it now just going to make the smell stick into the walls.


Please help with any ideas!

By Sue

July 27, 20110 found this helpful

Try washing the walls, ceiling, switch plates and light fixture covers with a half water, half vinegar solution, that should neutralize the nicotine trapped in the paint; set several bowls of vinegar in the areas for a few days, too. You may have to repeat the wash down on the walls and ceiling, but the vinegar and water wash will get rid of the odor.

Then apply the primer and your paint-but you may find the washing took care of the problem and you don't need to repaint after all.

My son was a heavy smoker-he quit while I was visiting him this past spring; he was in a panic about the stench his former habit had created in his flat and asked for Mum advice. I got busy with the vinegar and water, and his flat looked freshly painted when I was done and the vinegar smell dissipated-he was amazed and horrified when he saw the nicotine washing off the switch plates and light fixture covers especially.

We used isopropyl alcohol (91%) to clean his two window air conditioning units (used an old toothbrush in the fins, cotton swabs and cloths on the plastic housing), that made a big difference too; we soaked the filters in hot soap water (Palmolive with OxyClean).

Good luck, and try not to be too angry at the former tenants. Smoking is a hard habit to kick.

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July 27, 20110 found this helpful

Try washing the room down with vingar and water or put some in bowl and let it absorbard the smell.

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July 27, 20110 found this helpful

Zep make a product called smoke odor eliminator. it is in a spray can. works well even in vehicles. can be purchased in cleaning aisle at home depot.

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July 27, 20110 found this helpful

If this room is covered with sheetrock, and has never been painted, than it is the paper on the sheetrock that has absorbed the odor. I do not think you should be washing this paper surface with anything. The paper will absorb the water, I think, and ruin the sheetrock, won't it? About the only thing that damages sheetrock is water: I don't think it stands up to washing.

A friend of mine who worked in the motel industry says that the only way to get rid of nicotine smells thoroughly is to replace the smelly things; carpets, bedding, curtains, etc. Since you are not likely going to re-do the entire walls, I think that you should be able to paint over this surface and seal off the odor. There are many specialty products for sealing over mildew and so on; contact a good quality paint store, where they have knowledgeable staff or google a website, and see what products are available.

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July 27, 20110 found this helpful

I did a Google search, and Kilz has oil based primers especially made for sealing off nicotine odors.

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July 28, 20110 found this helpful

When we work fire damage repair jobs we use paints with shellac in them. Others have given good brand suggestions. The idea is you can't fully get rid of the smell, just seal it in.

That being said, I think the vinegar is a good first step. It certainly couldn't hurt.

We also use ion generators (air purifiers). They come in room size for under $100 to commercial size. They physically kill smells (and your pets, fish, and plants if you overuse them). Casinos use them to keep the smoke smell out (and because it increases the oxygen level giving you a high).

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July 28, 20110 found this helpful

Use kilz paint it goes over stains and kills the odors. You can buy it at a paint dept of a store.

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October 22, 20110 found this helpful

There is a tried and true product easily found at Lowe's, Home Depot etc. It is called TSP my friend smoked like a fiend and never would open windows to air out! When she would move we would go tet TSP and scrub the walls with it, I helped just to see the clean walls.

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