If you have moved into a new home and the previous owners were smokers, you may find that the house needs to eliminate the smell of cigarettes. The goal here is not to mask the smell but to get rid of it. Air fresheners can help for a short time, but they are not a good long-term solution. If you’re wondering how to remove cigarette smell from your home, you’re in luck! There are several things you can try.
How To Remove Cigarette Smell From Your Home
First, air out the house completely. Fresh air is one of the best things you can use to eliminate the overwhelming odour – plus, it’s free! Open all your windows and doors if it is warm enough outside, and place portable fans pointing outward in front of the largest windows. Doing so will pull the cigarette smell from the air in the room and blow it outward. Keep this setup for a full day if possible, and even longer if you can.
Wash all surfaces and fabrics in the home. If the cigarette smell is quite bad and has permeated into carpets and furniture, you will need to wash and air out everything in your home. Wash and scrub all interior walls, ceilings, hardwood and linoleum floors, and hard surfaces with mild soap or other appropriate cleaning products, and rinse thoroughly. Don’t forget to clean inside cabinets, drawers, and closets since cigarette smoke is insidious and can hide anywhere.
After this, you need to take care of all fabrics. All carpets, upholstered furniture, and mattresses can be disinfected and deodorized using a steam cleaner. Your clothing will need to be washed or dry-cleaned according to instructions.
Repaint with odour-blocking paint. A product like Killz is designed to block cigarette odours that are trapped in the walls.
Try an ozone machine. When you take your car in to be detailed, an ozone machine is what they use to get rid of cigarette odours in your vehicle. These same machines can be purchased online, and they work miracles. Using ultraviolet light to create ozone (that scent you smell outside after a thunderstorm), these machines can clean odours from a home in an hour or two. Be sure to read the instructions closely, as ozone machines are not good for your health while operating. Once you turn the device on, all occupants, including pets, should leave the home immediately. Once the machine has worked its magic, enter the house with a mask and air it out before letting everyone return inside.
Use baking soda to absorb the smell. Sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, is effective at removing cigarette smells because it absorbs smells rather than masking them and is completely odourless. Try sprinkling liberal amounts of baking soda onto rugs, carpets, upholstered furniture, and mattresses and let it sit in place overnight or at least for a few hours. Then, vacuum the baking soda using an upholstery attachment. You can leave a few bowls of baking soda scattered around your home to help absorb odours in the air.
Neutralize cigarette smells using vinegar. White vinegar is another substance that effectively neutralizes odours like cigarette smoke. The low pH in white vinegar alters the high pH in smoke molecules enough to reduce their odour. If you are worried about your house simply smelling like vinegar instead of smoke, there is no need to be concerned – the vinegar smell will disappear quickly if the windows are open.
Try adding a bit of vinegar to the water you use to wipe the surfaces in your home, and add a half-cup to your laundry. Laundry detergent has a neutral pH, so vinegar will neutralize any smells in clothing more effectively. Like baking soda, you can leave a few bowls of white vinegar throughout your house and let it sit overnight to help absorb odours in the air.
Tip: If you can’t stand the smell of vinegar, try mixing in a few drops of essential oil in your favourite scent, such as lavender or mint, to help cut down on the odour.
Strange as it sounds, activated charcoal can absorb the smell. It sounds odd to use a material for barbecuing to absorb the smell of cigarette smoke, but it works. The carbon molecules trap the smell and clears it from the air. Set or hang bags of activated charcoal throughout your home to absorb the odour. Whatever you do, don’t set any charcoal directly on fabric since it can leave stains.
Finally, change your air filters. Cigarette smoke can clog up the air filters in your HVAC system and cause them to work less effectively. Changing the air filters will ensure that you are breathing cleaner air in the future, and work in conjunction with your other efforts to eliminate the smell of cigarette smoke.
These tips will work for all general smoke smells, such as if there have been wildfires in the area or you had a house fire. If you have tried all the tips and still have cigarette odours in your home, it is a good idea to get professional help. Many cleaning businesses have smoke remediation services that use stronger cleaners and chemicals and are trained to use them safely.
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