How to get rid of smoke smells in your home

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5. Wash Windows and Window Coverings

Moving on, window coverings are also great absorbers of cigarette smoke. You will definitely need to remove all window coverings in order to clean them, whether they’re blinds, shades, curtains, or drapes.

Soak non-wooden blinds in a bathtub full of all-purpose cleaner mixed with water and a cup of vinegar. Let blinds soak for 10-15 minutes, then scrub thoroughly and hang to dry. For curtains and drapes, you can take them to a dry cleaner or replace them. If your drapes are washable, wash them in the hottest setting allowed. Clean windows thoroughly by spraying vinegar onto the window surface and wipe it with a microfiber cloth. Repeat 2-3 times, then wipe with a clean cloth.

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Removing cigarette smell from your clothing

Even if you go outside to smoke, you’re bound to bring a cigarette smell back inside with you, unless you remove it immediately from clothes and shoes. If you don’t wash your clothing after each use, your closet will also smell like cigarettes. These solutions can help:

Machine or hand-wash with baking soda

  • Wash your clothing in regular detergent with a cup of baking soda added. Let it line dry if possible. If one washing isn’t enough to eliminate the odor, wash as many times as needed prior to drying in a machine. Dryers can bake the smell in, making it harder to remove.
  • You can add baking soda to soapy water to hand wash delicate items.

Use dryer sheets

If you need to remove cigarette smell from your clothing in a pinch, rubbing a dryer sheet on each entire garment you have on will help. Don’t forget hats, scarves, gloves, shoes, or boots.

Try a deodorizing spray

Spraying your clothing with an air freshener made for fabric, or with a spray-on antiperspirant, is another way to remove cigarette odor from clothing. This hack may be overpowering, however, given that you need to spray the entire garment in order to get results.

Mask the odor

Essential oil sprays won’t absorb thirdhand smoke smell, but certain scents may be effective at masking it to some degree. These include orange, grapefruit, eucalyptus, and lavender.

Don’t put undiluted essential oils directly on your skin.

7. Keep it short

Every extra minute that you spend taking a drag is one extra minute that smoke has to spread and settle into your surroundings. For the sneakiest smokes, try to limit yourself to just a couple minutes.

Keeping it short, as well as following the tips listed above, you can certainly have a quick smoke without leaving lasting impressions in the room.

The bottom line on how to get smoke smell out of your house

Start by airing out the house in general. Then use robust cleaning products to clean all hard surfaces. Then wash all carpets and any fabric-covered areas. Clean all air ducts and replace air filters. To finish the job, you can follow up with an air purifier.

4. Put a wet towel by the closed door

With blocked vents inside the room, the last line of defense against the smoke sneaking out is to protect the air gap at the bottom of the door.

Just like smoke can sneak through vents, it can also go under doors.

For a quick fix, throw a towel or a pile of clothes on the floor by the door. This extra fabric helps to keep the smoke from exiting the room.

For even better coverage, try getting the towel wet. Smoke has more trouble traveling through moisture so this is just an extra barrier.

Smoking in the Boys Room…

Remember that song “smoking in the boys room”, a 1970’s classic about lighting up in the bathroom? Not only was this song immensely popular, but they may have been onto something.

Smoking in bathrooms hold a few bit advantages over other rooms.

Advantages of smoking in bathrooms

  • Tile floors reject odors: Most bathrooms have tile or linoleum floor, both of which are better at resisting a smoke smell compared to carpeted floors.
  • Wet towels make sense: Using the wet towel trick, it can be hard to smoke and use a wet towel at the base of the door in any room besides a bathroom. If you get caught, a wet towel is just not going to make sense in any other setting.
  • Turn on the shower: If you want to keep people from barging in and catching you mid-smoke, try turning on the shower. The steam will help to absorb the smoke and it guarantees a level of privacy.

How to wash walls to get rid of smoke smell

Although many homeowners swear by using an ammonia mixture to remove smoke smells, there are natural alternatives to harsh chemicals that you can try first. According to Fiona, "A less harsh but also effective method is to mix a good Castile soap with water and essential oils of your choice, and then scrub the walls with a microfiber cloth." 

Tip: You can also make a mixture using ½ cup baking soda, ¼ cup white vinegar, and hot water. This will also help remove any stains on the walls that may be contributing to bad odors. Follow these steps to clean the walls, including making sure the sponge or cloth you're using is just barely damp, not soaking wet, to reduce drips on the wall.

Technology to aid with reducing cigarette smoke odors

If the home-grown methods for absorbing the scent of cigarette smoke do not prove effective, it may be worth trying out an air purifier. However, the CDC warns that while “eliminating smoking in indoor spaces fully protects nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke,” no air purifier or conventional ventilation system can fully eliminate exposure of non-smokers to secondhand smoke. So, while it is evident that the only way to fully do away with unwanted secondhand smoke exposure is by completely banning smoking in an indoor space, using an air purifier might at least help mitigate the adverse health effects and reduce the unpleasant odor.

PECO: Molekule air purifiers contain PECO technology and can remove larger smoke particles, as well as destroy the gaseous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) of smoke using a light-activated catalytic reaction. Photo Electrochemical Oxidation, or PECO filters, can also help with tobacco smoke odor, as the PECO process breaks down pollutants at a molecular level. LEDs activate the catalytic process, generating hydroxyl radicals which oxidize pollutants, including cigarette smoke chemicals, and breaking them down into basic components of water vapor and carbon dioxide. Unlike the traditional filters discussed below, which simply capture pollutants, PECO technology can destroy pollutants like VOCs in the air.

Carbon: Carbon filters are the most commonly used type of filter to remove gases. They are designed to trap the gases as they pass through a bed of activated charcoal, which contains tiny pores to increase its surface area and thus creates more places on the filter to capture smoke VOCs. Gases stick to the carbon filter using a process called adsorption, which allows the gaseous pollutants to stick to the outside of the carbon. If you plan on using a carbon filter, the EPA recommends that it contains a substantive amount of carbon to increase effectiveness.

Another caveat is that carbon filters must be replaced frequently. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines for changing the filter is a good standard, though if you have any doubts or smell noxious gas, replace it immediately. Note that while carbon filters can help deal with smoke odors, tobacco smoke can land and permeate onto most surfaces and it is difficult to get rid of the smell entirely and consistently. Lastly, be aware that carbon filters do not remove dangerous carbon monoxide in homes, and you should have a separate carbon monoxide detector in your home.

HEPA: This type of air filter is rated to use mechanical filtration to capture 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns in size, which includes some smoke particles.

8. Finally… Floors

Cleaning hardwood floors is much like washing the wall, except that you can’t use vinegar on it, and you have to choose an appropriate cleaner that doesn’t damage the type of floor you have. Thoroughly damp mop the floor with a mixture of the cleanser and warm water for 2-3 times, changing the water regularly. Do a final rinse, if required by cleanser. As well, hand-scrub baseboards and door frames with the cleanser in a damp sponge.

Smoking decreases property values

A 2013 survey showed that smoking in a home could lower its property value by up to nearly 30%. Moreover, numerous researches have found that the majority of renters prefer smoke-free buildings. Even with this comprehensive, top to bottom refresh, there is no guarantee that your rental space will be rid of all cigarette smoke residuals. Restoring a formerly smoke-filled apartment can be expensive and time-consuming, so it might be a smart idea to adopt a non-smoking policy for your rental property to keep the smokers at bay, if you haven’t already.

It’s a great idea to clearly indicate your smoking policy in your rental listing. Pendo’s Rental Listing Website enables landlords to specify smoking and pet policies. Create your listing website today!

Got any tips for getting rid of smoke odor? Share with us by commenting below!

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