Of all the offensive smells to smell in a home, cigarette and cigar smoke has to be one of the worst.
If you’re suffering with this ‘aroma’ in your living areas, you need to know how to get rid of the smell of smoke in your house – pronto!
Fear not, for I am about to tell you.
The methods you need to use to get rid of the smell of smoke in your house depend on the extent of the smokey smell you’re dealing with.
Are we talking a one-off party where a few people smoked a cigarette?
Or are we talking a new home purchase where the previous occupants smoked 20 a day for 10 years in the living room?
There’s a big difference, and as such you need to tackle the problem accordingly.
Or, your issue might fall somewhere between those extremes!
So first off I’m going to take you through some basic ways to neutralise the smell of smoke in your home.
These apply more to the first scenario – they’re very effective at that level, but not enough to tackle years of ingrained fumes.
Then, I’m going to tell you what you need to do if you’re dealing with a bigger problems – you need to tackle serious smoke problems with serious solutions!
For simplicity’s sake, I’ve broken things down into 3 levels – level 1 being the least problematic, to level 3 being the most problematic (i.e.when you need to bring out the big guns).
If you’re at level 3, you’ll also want to incorporate some of the methods from the lower levels, and so on.
You get the idea!
In any case, you’re about to find out how to get rid of the smell of smoke in your house… let’s go!
How to get rid of the smell of smoke in your house
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Level 1 solutions to get rid of the smell of smoke in your house
If the smell of cigarette or cigar smoke is relatively mild but still noticeable, this is what you need to do…
Open the windows!
Ok so this is fairly obvious, but you’ll want to open up your windows to get some fresh air circulating.
If the smell is minimal, this alone may help to get rid of the smell of smoke in your home.
I’m not even going to mention the things that are even more obvious, like getting rid of any ash trays.
Except that I just did.
Bowls of white vinegar
Place several bowls of white vinegar around rooms that smell of smoke.
If you want to get rid of the smell of smoke in quite a large area then don’t skimp on the number of bowls!
The vinegar helps to neutralize the unpleasant odors, and although vinegar itself isn’t the nicest smell, it won’t linger once you remove the bowls.
Be sure to change the bowls out at least once a day until the smell has cleared.
Use an essential oil diffuser
Once you’ve aired your rooms and used white vinegar to neutralize the smell of smoke, it’s time to introduce some good smells to replace the bad ones!
Although you should always look to eliminate odors at the source rather than just mask them, a pleasant scent can really help if the problem is minimal.
My hands down favorite way to make my home smell good is to use an electronic essential oil diffuser.
If you don’t already own one then I recommend this one as a great all rounder.
You just fill the diffuser with water and several drops of your favorite essential oils, then turn it on and fill your house with gorgeous smelling scents.
By the way, if you’re getting into essential oil blending you can save a lot of money by investing in an essential oil starter kit instead of buying your oils individually. Just be wary of the very low priced ones as they’re often weak and inauthentic. For a good value set with top quality oils I suggest this brand, they also do sets with diffusers which are worth checking out.
(Remember to check out the safety guidelines for the essential oils you’re using, especially if you have kids, pets, or are pregnant.)
Odor eliminating spray
Similarly, you can add a gorgeous scent to replace the horrible one by using a natural essential oil scent spray.
A natural peppermint spray is a great fresh smelling option to combat the stale odor.
You can also use ‘odor eliminating’ sprays which aim to destroy the smell rather than just mask it.
They’re worth a try, but manage your expectations – they’re going to be a finishing touch rather than the solution to the problem.
Burn incense or candles
A longer lasting way to get a fresh scent back into the air in your home is to use scented candles, incense, or wax melts.
This gorgeous fresh scented eucalyptus and mint candle by Bath and Body Works smells amazing under any circumstances, and the fresh scent is ideal for getting rid of any lingering trace of odor.
Use general steps to make your home smell good
At this lower level, incorporating other general solutions to make your house smell nice are also going to help get rid of the smell of smoke in your home.
As it happens, I’ve conveniently written a definitive guide to making your home smell nice, so go check that out.
Level 2 solutions to get rid of the smell of smoke in your house
When you need a bit more than the basics…
Use an air purifier
As well as opening the windows, at ‘level 2’ and above it’s a good idea to invest in an air purifier.
Use this when your windows are closed.
The best air purifiers to use to get rid of the smell of smoke are those with both a HEPA filter and a carbon filter.
These types of air purifiers should remove almost 100% of particles in the air.
This one fits the bill, plus it looks quite stylish and comes in at a reasonable price.
A dehumidifier can also help when the weather is humid, as damp in the air can amplify the terrible smell of smoke.
This one won’t break the bank and does a good job.
Baking soda on carpets & upholstery
You know the drill… sprinkle good old baking soda all over your carpets, leave for at least a couple of hours, then vacuum it up.
If the smell of smoke is pretty bad, I recommend leaving the baking soda to do its job over night, then vacuuming up in the morning.
The baking soda draws out and absorbs unpleasant odors, including that of cigarette and cigar smoke.
I have found baking soda to be better than products that are specifically designed to remove odors in carpets, and it’s extremely inexpensive to buy.
This method of getting rid of the smell of smoke is super cheap and super easy – what’s not to love!
Clean hard flooring
Hard flooring is much better than carpet when it comes to keeping your home smelling good, because it doesn’t hold on to odors.
However, you still need to give it a really good clean to get rid of stale smokey smells.
I recommend getting yourself a spray mop to make cleaning the floor easy, quick and dare I say it, even a bit fun.
I have one and I kind of love it.
Another good way to ‘pull’ and neutralize the smell of cigarette or cigar smoke is to use charcoal bags.
Charcoal naturally absorbs odors, so place some strategically around the home and leave them to do their job.
These ones last up to two years and you get a handy visual reminder of when you need to reactivate them.
Air out furniture in the sun
As well as using baking soda on your upholstery, you can also air your furniture outside when the weather is good.
The sunlight can help to ‘lift’ the unpleasant smells, and the fresh air helps to get rid of stale odors.
Clean your AC
Clean your AC unit and replace the filters, as a dirty filter could actually be recirculating the nasty smell of smoke.
You can also add a few drops of essential oil on your filter to get a more pleasant aroma back into the air.
Peppermint essential oil is excellent to use for this as it smells very fresh and clean – which is what we’re aiming for here.
And if you heat your home with radiators, remember to wash them down with the white vinegar solution below…
Wash walls and ceiling
The smell of cigarette and cigar smoke clings to walls and ceilings – yuck.
You might not think about it at first, but these surfaces can be a major contributer to the smell of smoke in your home.
That being said, you’re going to have to give them a good wash down to get rid of the smokey residue.
Use a solution of 3 parts white vinegar and 1 part water to get them thoroughly cleaned.
A sponge mop can be handy for doing this.
Test on an inconspicuous spot first, and be aware that you may need to repaint – which in itself can help with eliminating the smell of smoke.
Change out your lightbulbs
Smoke particles can stick to your lightbulbs, so the lightbulbs emit the smell of smoke when they heat up.
Since they’re difficult to clean (apparently water and electricity don’t go well together), you’re best off just switching them out.
Level 3 solutions to get rid of the smell of smoke in your house
Time to bring out the big guns…
Wash your walls – level 3 solution
For terribly ingrained cigarrette or cigar smells in your home, the best product to use for washing your walls and ceiling is TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) powder.
Before we go any further, just be warned that this is powerful stuff.
It’s very potent and you need to protect your eyes and skin when using it.
We’re talking gloves, goggles, long sleeved/leg clothing and a mask.
You also need to keep the area you’re in well ventilated, and keep kids and pets well away.
Always follow the instructions on the pack, but generally you need to mix 2 gallons of warm water with half a cup of TSP, and use something like a sponge mop or a paint roller to apply it to your walls and ceilings.
If you don’t want to go as far as using TSP you can try using a borax solution instead.
It can work well for getting rid of cigarette and cigar smells, but it’s generally not as good as the TSP when the smell on the walls is really terrible.
Either way, you will certainly need to repaint once you’re done.
And like I mentioned earlier, painting in itself can really help to shift the bad odors – but when the smell is really bad, you need to make sure the walls are properly cleaned first.
Clean your carpets & floors
If the smells impregnated in your carpets are too much for the baking soda to deal with, you’re going to have to clean them.
The easiest solution here is to get a professional carpet cleaner in to do the job for you.
If that’s not within your budget (bearing in mind that it will cost more if you need several rooms done), you can invest in a good carpet cleaner and clean them yourself.
This carpet cleaner gets consistently great reviews and is well worth trying.
The DIY method can still be very effective, and has the advantage that you can clean again in future with no further expenditure.
Get the professionals in
As a last resort, if your house is truly saturated with a smoky smell, you might have to accept that you need to get professionals in to deep-clean your home and carpets.
Be sure to have a full discussion with them first to explain why you need them, as a standard deep-clean isn’t necessarily going to deal with the smell.
You’ll also then need to repaint – sorry.
I hope this post has helped you in your quest to find out how to get rid of the smell of smoke in your house!
The smell of smoke is horrible to live with, but hang in there – follow these tips and your home will be smelling fresh and clean before you know it!
If you want more amazing tips on how to make your whole home smell generally AMAZING, check out my definitive guide to making your home smell nice – your nose will thank you!