Getting Rid of Residual Cigarette Smoke Odors

I moved into an apartment which used to be rented to a heavy smoker who lived here over 7 years. They repainted, had the unit professionally cleaned, replaced the carpeting and treated it with some kind of chemical bomb thing which was supposed to kill residual nicotine smells.


I have now lived here since April, and I can still smell nicotine. I recently went on vacation for two weeks and when I returned, the smell was overwhelming. I use plugins, Febreze, and burn scented oils, which helps, but I am very discouraged. It was not so bad over the summer since I kept windows open, but now we are heading into colder weather. I live in Nevada which has very cold winters.

I love my apartment and I am on a one year lease. (I am a senior woman.) Do you have any good suggestions to help me with this problem?

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September 27, 20170 found this helpful

Nok-Out is a product which has gotten rave reviews. You can purchase it at Amazon.

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September 27, 20170 found this helpful

Are you certain it's coming from inside your apartment and not a neighbours? You might want to check. Here are some things you can do to help get rid of nicotine odors:


Step 1
Open all your doors and windows as much as you can when you're home. Have fans pointed outward. Good ventilation does wonders over time.

Step 2
Use charcoal as a deodorizing agent. It absorbs tough odors and smells.

Step 3
If you have any items in there that used to be there with the smoker, get rid of them (including drapes-- have them switched out)

Step 4
Sprinkle your furniture and carpets with baking soda to eat/deodorize the odor.

Step 5
Look into getting an air purifier. That was my best bet after I had this same issue back in the day.

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September 29, 20170 found this helpful

Thanks for the suggestion. I am going to try some charcoal.

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September 28, 20170 found this helpful

Get rid of smoke smell.

  • Install an air purifier that might actually help.
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  • I would wash everything with vinegar like the walls and windows.
  • Make sure they cleaned the carpets.
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September 29, 20170 found this helpful

I am also going to check out air purifiers. The walls were painted and new carpet was installed but it still stinks.

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October 8, 20170 found this helpful

Cigarette smoke/smell is really a tough odor to get rid of. There is probably one area the smell is the strongest.

  • Try to isolate as many areas as possible that do not seem to have a strong odor so you can narrow down your worst areas.
  • Do not stay inside for a long period before you start checking for odors as the longer you are around them the more accustomed you will become and may not be able to smell the milder areas.
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  • If your unit was professionally cleaned, repainted and new carpet put down then it seems something was not completed properly.
  • Many times cleaners may be smokers themselves and not realize how strong the odor is to a nonsmoker.
  • Take some white vinegar in a medium size bowl, take some clean white cloths and wet with vinegar, wipe down the front and underneath your kitchen cabinets. If there is any brown residue on your cloth then you have cigarette residue on your cabinets.
  • Try doing this to your door jams, bathroom cabinets, any place there is exposed wood, plastic, or any hard or porous surface.
  • Be sure to check for odors on your cloth even if it does not appear very dirty.
  • It is possible you may have to insist the management clean your AC duct work as it will be loaded with cigarette residue and will not go away by itself.

    Change AC filters often.
  • Do not leave any curtains hanging that were there before or now as even new curtains will now have absorbed the remaining odors.
  • Most likely the odor is in your closets (painters do not always repaint inside closets) and that means your clothes probably have bad odors also.
  • You can use bowls of charcoal, fresh coffee grounds (unused), baking soda (in your carpets too), even newspaper will absorb some of the odor until you find the problem areas.
  • Just remember, most everything in the apartment will now have an odor so you will have to hunt for the strongest areas.

You will have to be a detective and look for anything where this stuff is hiding so you can eliminate the source.

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October 9, 20170 found this helpful

Thank you for these great suggestions, I will try them all!

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