There’s nothing like the smell of stale cigarettes to take the shine off of moving into your new place or to ruin a great piece of furniture. Luckily, there are steps you can take to freshen things up and get rid of that nasty, lingering cigarette smell. Read on to find out the best ways to breathe new life into otherwise smoky surroundings.
Clear the Air
While it’s tempting to try to use copious amounts of room spray or fabric fresheners to combat the smell of old smoke, this will only cover up the smell; it won’t remove it. To truly get the cigarette smell out, start by:
- Opening the windows – as many as you can. While this won’t get rid of all the smoke smell, it makes a very good start. This works even better if you’ve got a slight breeze to help move the air through the house.
- Running air purifiers- this is a great next step after airing out your home. However, depending on the purifier and the size of the room, it can take a while. Also, depending on the intensity and concentration of the smell, an air purifier might not be enough.
- Making vinegar your new best friend- vinegar is not only a great all-purpose cleaner; it can also help deodorize a room. Set out a bowl of vinegar in each room and after a few hours, the house should smell noticeably better.
What to Clean
Unfortunately the key to removing the smoke smell from a living space often involves large quantities of elbow grease. To make your home a cigarette smell-free environment, there are several areas that may need deep cleaning including:
- Walls. Residue from smoke builds up on the walls and can be removed using cleaners containing glycol and ammonia. Just be sure that when you do use these chemicals, you do so in a well-ventilated area away from pets and children. Ceilings.
- Ceilings. Ceiling are often overlooked but are also often saturated with smoke residue. Be sure to include the ceiling in any thorough cleaning effort.
- Floors. Carpets retain the lion’s share of cigarette smoke and as a result, should be deep cleaned. Sometimes a professional carpet cleaning is necessary if using home products don’t completely remove the smell.
- Drapes and blinds. Drapes and curtains need to be removed and washed, or dry cleaned if the fabric calls for it. Blinds can be washed in the bathtub. Vinegar can be used both in the laundry and to clean blinds.
- Windows and mirrors. Don’t forget to clean the windows and mirrors as well. Smoke can leave a film on glass surfaces which can be cleaned with, you guessed it – vinegar.
- If you can still smell smoke on the walls even after a thorough cleaning, a fresh coat of paint can be a fantastic way to get rid of the smell and brighten your home, at the same time.
- An often overlooked source of smoke smell is, incredulously, light bulbs. As time goes by, residue builds up and then is released when the light bulb is turned on and subsequently warms up. Changing out all the old light bulbs will help eliminate the smell.
A Word on Furniture
If you’ve found the perfect couch but it smells like the inside of a dive bar, there are several easy and inexpensive ways to remove the odor.
- Air out the furniture – literally. The UV rays that are bad for your skin are actually good for neutralizing smoke smells so leave that piece of furniture in direct sunlight for a day or two.
- Your old friend vinegar. It can be used with water either as a spray or can be wiped onto the furniture to deodorize. (Just be sure to test a small, out of the way area first to make sure the vinegar/water mix won’t stain or fade the surface.) A solution of one part lemon juice to four parts water can also be used, if no vinegar is on hand.
- Baking Soda. Sprinkle baking soda on affected furniture and leave for up to 72 hours, before vacuuming off.
Follow the above tips and tricks, and your home and furniture will once again smell like new, as opposed to an ashtray.