Healthy Living Real Estate

The Ultimate Guide to Smoke Odor Removal

Cigarette smoke odors are one of the hardest to get rid of. They lodge heavily into carpets and upholstered furniture.

The lingering smell of cigarette smoke can be frustrating and embarrassing. However, a few simple steps can help to remove the scent. The best way to deal with odors is to neutralize them with vinegar and sunlight or get assistance from an odor removal service.

Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

A lingering smell from smoking or a house fire can be very unpleasant. The odors cling to fabrics and permeate walls, floors, and furniture. While lighting candles and spraying air fresheners can make the smell slightly better, they won’t eliminate it. Natural cleaners, including white vinegar and baking soda, are the best way to eliminate smoke odors.

These household items can be used to deodorize all types of surfaces. For example, sprinkle a light coat of baking soda on rugs and carpeting and let it sit overnight. Then vacuum it up. You can add a tablespoon of baking soda to the laundry load when washing bedding, towels, and clothes exposed to smoke.

Vinegar is a natural deodorizer with a sharp abrasiveness that can effectively cut unpleasant scents. Spray a mixture of vinegar and lemon juice as a mist, as you would use an air freshener in rooms needing deodorizing. You can also wipe down smooth or hard surfaces contaminated by nicotine with a sponge or cloth dipped in vinegar.

To improve fresh air circulation throughout the home, open all windows and place a fan or two in front of the largest ones to pull in fresh air and blow out smoke odors. You can also air out your fabrics and set smoky or smoke-ridden items outside for a day, as sunlight and breezes will help neutralize odors.

Put Your Stuff in the Sun

Something about the stale ashtray smell of smoke seems to stick around for months and even years. If you struggle to eliminate that stubborn smell, there are several simple ways to clean smoky clothing, furniture, and other household items that will leave your house smelling fresh and clean.

The first step is to get as much air circulation as possible in your home. Start by opening all the windows and placing a fan before the largest ones to blow fresh air out for a few hours. Adding box fans to other rooms and keeping doors open will also help circulation.

If you have a bed or upholstered sofa stained with heavy smoke odors, removing it from the home may be best, and letting it “breathe” outside for a few days to ventilate and kill odor-causing bacteria within the fibers. It’s also a good idea to wash all pillowcases, mattress covers, and linens with an all-natural, scented laundry detergent instead of the typical one that contains perfumes and chemicals that can linger.

If you don’t have the time to do a complete deep cleaning of your furniture, try sprinkling the smelly items with a light coating of baking soda and leaving them in the sun for a few days. You can also place a bowl of activated charcoal or coffee grounds near the smelly item to absorb odors.

Vacuum It Up

Whether the smell of smoke comes from burning toast, a house fire, or cigarettes, it can linger for a long time. While lighting candles and spraying air fresheners may temporarily mask the odor, it’s necessary to vacuum and deep clean the entire house to eliminate the lingering smoke smell.

After you’ve aired everything out and cleaned the hard surfaces of counters, floors, cupboards (inside and out), and drawers, you should also vacuum all carpets and rugs. Make sure to vacuum the carpeting in corners and under furniture where smoke particles often collect. Vacuuming can also help remove dust mites that can cause allergies and asthma.

A popular odor-reducing product in many stores is Febreeze, which uses cyclodextrin to eliminate odors. It’s also a good idea to steam clean the carpeting and upholstery in your home several times until the odors are completely gone.

In addition to using baking soda and vinegar, you can also try other natural odor absorbents like activated charcoal or bowls filled with dried coffee grounds or white vinegar. If you’re in a pinch, you can even place bowls of halved lemons around the house to eliminate unwanted odors. In addition, placing a few indoor plants in the home can also improve the air quality by absorbing harmful pollutants and toxins.

Clean Your Air Filters

Cigarette smoke lingers longer than other smells, and the scent can be difficult to eliminate. This lingering smell isn’t just frustrating; it can also be hazardous. Thirdhand smoke (THS) residues and other odor molecules can mix with indoor pollutants to form carcinogens, which linger in the air and cause health problems for months.

The most important thing to do is ventilate your home. Open the windows and run box fans in the large rooms to increase air circulation and pull stale smokey air out of the house. Move smoky furniture or clothing outside to air it out as well.

If you have washable fabrics, toss them in the laundry with a high-quality laundry detergent that powers out smokey residues. For non-washable items, try putting them in a sunny spot for a few hours to absorb the sun’s UV rays, which can help neutralize odor molecules.

Make sure to change your HVAC system’s air filters regularly. These filters remove particles that can contribute to the smoky smell, and they should be replaced quarterly or more often if you’re battling persistent odors. If you use this tactic along with the others listed here, you should be able to eliminate most, if not all, lingering smoke odors in your home. Be sure to set reminders so that you remember to change your filter!


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