Removing Cigarette Smoke Odor: Easy Ways to Get Rid of Cigarette Smoke Smells
Dealing with stale cigarette smoke smells is terrible, especially if you are a non-smoker. Smoky odors produced by cigarettes and other smoking materials can cause headaches and even make you feel sick. For those with asthma, allergies, or chronic lung diseases, cigarette smoke can increase your symptoms or cause sudden attacks. In some instances, you can remove cigarette smoke odor on your own, but in extremely severe cases you will need the help of a smoke damage restoration professional.
One of the most effective ways to reduce cigarette smoke odors is to open up your home. Open as many windows and doors as possible to increase air movement and create a strong cross breeze. By increasing airflow, you prevent cigarette smoke from lingering in your home. Simple air movement will clear out smells from cigarette smoke after a party or event in just a few hours.
However, ventilation alone will not remove cigarette smoke odors if the smells have already set in or if the area has been contaminated by smoke for a long time. Whether you are looking to sell your home, purchased a new home, or inherited a home from a family member, there are several effective ways of getting rid of that stale cigarette smoke smell.
Removing Cigarette Smoke Odor From Fabrics With Vinegar
You can remove stale cigarette smells from curtains, blankets, pillows, and other fabrics by washing them with vinegar. Add your smoky fabrics to your washing machine with a few cups of regular white vinegar.
For more intense odors, soak items in a mix of vinegar and cold water for a few hours before washing. Regular distilled white vinegar is usually pretty cheap, so don’t be afraid to have a heavy hand when pouring. You can also use this same method for washing clothes after a night at a smoky bar or concert too.
However, avoid drying smoky items with high heat, as this may reactivate smells. Line drying items is best, but you can also use the lowest heat cycle on your drier too. Another alternative is to take smoky items to a dry cleaner. Just make sure to ask them about removing the cigarette smell.
If you are removing cigarette smoke odor from an entire house, consider storing cleaned fabrics in plastic bags or even at a different location. Alternatively, washing fabrics last to prevent smells and odors from returning.
Eliminate Odors and Smells from Carpet and Furniture with Baking Soda
While you may think of it as a baking ingredient, baking soda is an extremely versatile cleaning product too. Mixed with vinegar, it can unclog drains and clean tough stains. On its own, it’s great at removing odors. You probably have one in your refrigerator right now.
Baking soda to remove cigarette odors from carpeting and furniture. It may even remove smoke smells from mattresses too. Just sprinkle on an even layer across smokey items and allow to set for 30 to 60 minutes. Make sure it doesn’t get wet though or it will turn into a paste that is hard to clean up. Once you’re done, you can vacuum it up or just rub it in to clean it up.
The best way to spread baking soda on odor stained items is with a mesh colander. Load up your colander and spread it around. For really tough smells, rub the baking soda in with your hands or even apply a few layers. Like vinegar, baking soda is really cheap so don’t be afraid to go through several boxes.
Clean Smoky Smells and Residue from Walls, Ceilings, and Other Surfaces with Vinegar
Not only do cigarettes produce stinky odors, but they also create a residue that clings to almost any surface. This residue can be greasy or sticky. Since smoke rises, cigarette residues tend to land high on walls and ceilings, but any surface is susceptible to smokey buildup. If there was a significant amount of smoke or if cigarettes were smoked in the area over a particularly long time, residue may coat entire walls, floors, and even inside cabinets.
A strong vinegar and water mixture can usually cut through even the toughest cigarette smoke residues and odors. Start with a mix of 75% vinegar to 25% warm water, but you can add more water if the smell is too overwhelming. It’s best to mix up small batches of this solution and scrub walls until it stops being effective.
You may want to wear elbow length nitrile gloves too to prevent your skin from smelling like vinegar. It can also cause dry skin as well. A respirator can also prevent the vinegar smell from becoming too intense while cleaning large areas. While you may be tempted to use a spray bottle to apply the vinegar mixture, we find this is less effective and requires more work in the long run. Plus, pulling that spray trigger for a few hours can really wear out your hands.
As an alternative to vinegar, you can use ammonia instead. It is likely to be more effective but has its own pungent smell that can quickly overwhelm you. The smell of ammonia is also likely to linger and may be just as bad as the cigarette smell. If you choose to use ammonia, you should definitely wear nitrile gloves and a respirator.
Other Ways to Remove Odors from Cigarette Smoke
There are several other home remedies that can be effective at removing cigarette smoke odors.
Charcoal can absorb odors and is regularly used in the filtration of water. While activated charcoal or activated carbon is most effective, it’s harder to find that the ordinary charcoal briquettes you use for your grill. Additives in briquettes, especially lighter fluid, do make them less effective at removing cigarette smoke odor.
Coffee grounds are effective at removing cigarette smoke odor. After making your morning coffee, spread the grounds in an even layer and allow them to dry. Then place them in small containers and place them around your house. Change them out every other day until the smells disappear. You can even toss the ground in your garden afterward as an added bonus.
Another alternative is vanilla extract. Vanilla has a strong, slightly sweet aroma that can eliminate other strong smells like cigarette smoke. Soak cotton balls or gauze pads in vanilla and place them around the room. You can also put a few drops of vanilla on a sponge or rag and wipe down surfaces. The downside to using vanilla is that it’s reasonably expensive. The imitation stuff is cheaper, but it isn’t as effective.
Professional Cigarette Smoke Odor Removal
If cigarette smells persist after a thorough cleaning, you may need professional fire damage restoration services. Fire restoration technicians use professional grade equipment to neutralize smoke and cigarette odors.
To deep clean walls, carpeting, and furniture, they use ozone generators that release ozone molecules throughout the room. These particles can efficiently dissipate odors from cigarettes and other causes of smoke.
However, ozone machines are dangerous to operate and hazardous to the health of you, your family, and your pets. For this reason, we recommend that you not attempt to operate ozone machines on your own. You will need to evacuate your home if these devices are used.
In some cases, it may still be necessary to replace carpeting and carpet padding and paint walls and ceilings to permanently remove cigarette smoke odor, even after cleaning and ozone treatment.
As the largest network of restoration companies, Restoration Local will connect you with a fire damage restoration company near you. The fire damage removal companies in our network offer complete cigarette smoke odors removal and fire damage restoration services.
Find a local fire restoration company now or call 1-888-443-3110 now to speak with our on-call technician near you. Our on-call fire damage restoration companies offer 24-hour emergency services, 30-minute response time, and a free, no-obligation estimate.