How to Remove Cigarette Odor From A House? Let’s Find Out

Are you struggling with cigarette odor in your house? Cigarette odor can accumulate in your home quickly. Suddenly, every fabric, surface, and space smells bad. Then, after some time, the odor becomes too strong, making life quite uncomfortable.

There are specific methods you can use to get rid of the smell. For instance, start by ventilating the house, washing or discarding all fabrics, and scrabbing all surfaces with a mixture of TSP, Dawn detergent, and water. All these steps will have you living in a fresh and conducive area within no time. 

Just be sure to smoke outside after this to prevent a repeat of the same in the future. Here is the guide on how to remove cigarette odor from a house.

Step by Step Guide To Removing Cigarette Odor from Your Home

Step One: Ventilate The House

You might have stayed for a long time without opening all the windows in your home. But, unfortunately, the more cigarette smoke there is in a home, the more it accumulates everywhere. That’s why step number one is ventilating the entire space. 

Begin with the windows and even doors. Next, open the blinds, letting the fresh air in, and get rid of all the excess smoke lying around. Then proceed with other steps to remove cigarette odor from your home. 

After that, check your air conditioning unit. It’s one of the best ways to improve the air quality in your home. The HVAC unit can ventilate the house and get rid of the smoke. This is crucial. Especially during winter when it’s not easy to leave the windows open for long. 

If the air ventilation unit isn’t working properly, call an HVAC technician to check it out. Perhaps the air filter needs cleaning as well. 

Step Two: Wash All Fabrics

Remove all curtains, blinds, and other fabrics in your home. Please don’t leave any of them behind because they don’t smell too bad. It’s better to pick a day when you can wash all of them at the same time to get rid of the cigarette smell. 

Once you gather them, please place them in the machine with detergent and vinegar. Vinegar is the secret ingredient when it comes to getting rid of the awful smell. Be sure to check the capacity of your washing machine.

If you have a large washing machine, throw all of them inside and add two cups of vinegar in the mix. After the fabrics are clean, dry them with low heat though it might take some time. At times high heat can cause the smoke smell to reemerge in your fabrics. 

But, if the fabrics are too many, you can opt to take them to the dry cleaners. This includes duvets, blankets, and heavy drapes/blinds. 

Step Three: Clean All The Hard Surfaces In Your Home

Now that all the fabrics are free of cigarette smell, you need to tackle the hard surfaces next. Evaluate all the hard surfaces in your home and make a plan—clean one room after the other. 

Hard surfaces include chairs, tables, cabinets, wardrobes, stands, bookshelves, drawers, picture frames, wall art, light, and other fixtures. It might take some time to wipe all of them, but it’s crucial not to miss any. 

The best mixture to use is room temperature water mixed with vinegar. You can do a 50/50 mix and wipe with a rag. Walls require lots of wiping to get rid of tar buildup. Submerge the rug in the mixture but don’t squeeze all of it out and wipe the walls. 

When you finish all the hard surfaces, use the same mixture to wipe the house’s walls, doors, and floor. 

Step Four: Clean Carpets, Rugs, And Mats

How many carpets, rugs, and mats do you have in your home? After you take stock of the number, it’s time to steam them. Now, steaming a large carpet can be a tall order but not impossible.

However, if you can, hire professional carpet cleaners to come to your home. They have the right machines and detergents to get rid of not only the odor but all dirt from the carpets, mats, and rugs. 

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On the other hand, you can also deliver the carpets, rugs, and mats to them. It gives you enough space to clean the rest of the house. 

Step Five: Wipe All Windows And Mirrors

You might wonder why you need to clean windows and glass to remove smoke odor. The reason is these surfaces also harbor lots of tar residue. One side-effect of smoking too many cigarettes in your home is tar buildup in every part. 

So, while cleaning the rest of it, remember to wipe down all the windows, mirrors, and glass surfaces in the house. You can use a solution of clean water and vinegar to get rid of all the tar and smoke smell. If there are any streaks left, you can wipe them down with a glass cleaner. 

Step Six: Invest In An Air Purifier

As much as cleaning helps get rid of cigarette smoke and smells in your home, it would help if you had a permanent solution. If you plan to keep smoking in your home, invest in an air purifier. While the device won’t get rid of all particles in the air, it will make your home livable. 

A good air purifier will improve the air quality in your home. At the same time, it will get rid of much of the smoke. Be sure to purchase an air purifier that gets rid of gaseous pollutants. Unfortunately, not all are designed for this purpose. 

Step Seven: Use Baking Soda On Furniture

Vinegar smell can be quite strong, so it’s better to move room by room. Then, when you finish the hard surfaces, you can return to the living room to work on the seats and other permanent fixtures. 

Pour a generous amount of baking soda on your seats. The baking soda absorbs the entire cigarette odor. This is an excellent DIY solution so that you don’t need to call in professional cleaners. Allow the baking soda to remain on the seats for some time. 

Once a good amount of time elapses, vacuum all the baking soda. Next, use your nose to smell the seats. If the cigarette odor is present, repeat the procedure. A couple of rounds and the seats will smell fresh. 

However, this is a good solution when the cigarette odor isn’t too concentrated. If it is, you might need to hire a professional team. 

Step Eight: Replace Fabrics You Can’t Clean

At times you’ve done all you can do for a rug, curtain, carpet, mat, or other fabric. You’ve called in the professionals or even headed to the dry cleaners. But, the cigarette smell is still evident in your home. What can you do?

The best solution is to replace such items. It’s not easy to get rid of a beloved carpet or fabric, but it might be necessary. If you keep it, you’ll still have the same problem as you did before. So, opt to go shopping and replace such items as soon as possible. 

It might be the best way to learn not to smoke at home anymore. But, if you must, head outside, then get back into the house once you’re done. Otherwise, each time you clean, you might need to replace a few things in your home. 

Step Nine: Repaint The Entire House

At times you’ve done everything you can to clean the house. Everything is clean, and all the surfaces are tar-free. But, the lingering smell of smoke is unshakable, which can be quite frustrating. 

Before you start tearing things off the wall, it might be time to give the space a fresh coat. No amount of cleaning can get rid of the cigarette odor that’s been accumulating for some time. But, a fresh coat of paint can turn the house around. 

So, take time to assess the situation. Then, if you can still smell cigarette smoke in the house, call a painter or do it yourself. 

Move from one room to the next, stripping down the old pain. Then cover the walls with several coats of new paint. It’s one of the best ways to get rid of lingering cigarette smells. 

Step Ten: Replace Aging Air Conditioning Units

Heavy smokers know the importance of having a good working HVAC unit. While it won’t get rid of all the smoke, it keeps your home smelling better. Unfortunately, after some time, air conditioners don’t work as effectively as expected. 

The reason this happens is faulty parts, clogged drainage pipes, and air filters. If a technician has not checked your AC for a long time, you might need a new one soon. 

Air conditioners need replacement after some time. So if you’ve had the same one for more than a decade, it’s time for an upgrade. The good news is modern ACs have other great features that can help your home remain free of cigarette odor. 

So, take stock of the unit you have in your home. If it doesn’t ventilate the space effectively, upgrade to a better model. 

Step Eleven: Use Activated Charcoal In Your Home

Once all the fabrics and surfaces are clean, you can take more steps to remove cigarette odor from your home. Activated charcoal can be your new best friend if you intend to keep smoking indoors. 

Activated charcoal consists of carbon. Carbon traps cigarette smoke and odors, making it an effective way of getting rid of them from your home. Therefore, you can purchase some and place them in a bowl in each room. 

Step Twelve: Purchase A Diffuser

If you move into a home with a lingering cigarette odor, you might not be permitted to repaint. However, that doesn’t mean you have to live with the bad smell. 

Another solution is purchasing a diffuser. Diffusers use essential oils and water to generate fragrance that fills your home. The good news is you can keep the device running as long as you want. Once the fragrance covers your home, you can no longer smell the awful cigarette odor. 

Step Thirteen: Ozone Generator

The final solution for getting rid of cigarette odor in your home is using an ozone generator. An ozone generator uses oxygen molecules to remove the lingering cigarette odor from each part. It has a strong oxidizing capability that relies on ultraviolet light. 

Once the generator delivers the ozone molecules, they react with the cigarette odor in your home. It changes the chemical composition of the odor and decreases its effect through oxidation. 

Oxidation changes the structure of the odor molecule into a different compound. As a result, it doesn’t smell the same. The change in composition makes this an effective way to eliminate strong lingering cigarette smoke in your home. 

But be sure to hire a professional to do this. It’s better to leave the house for some time while this is taking place. The treatment can be quite dangerous and affect the family member’s health. Allow the house to ventilate for some time after the treatment before returning. 

Exposure to ozone can cause respiratory irritation. That’s why a professional should do it. Also, only use it as a last resort when you have strong odors that you can’t seem to get rid of by any other means. 

Summing Up

Cigarette smoke is distinctive and can be overwhelming after some time. It sticks to all fabrics, surfaces, carpets, and even walls in your home. The good news is you don’t have to live with it forever. 

There are specific steps listed above that you can take to get rid of the odor. Just be sure to note the level of odor. If you’ve been smoking for a long time, you might need tougher measures like repainting the house and using an ozone generator. 

However, fewer lingering smells can be eliminated by cleaning the house from top to bottom. Remember, products like vinegar are your friend during this process!

HomeInspectionInsider.com is owned and operated by Hubert Miles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. HomeInspectionInsider.com also participates in affiliate programs with other affiliate sites. Hubert Miles is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.

Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.

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