Ex-smokers and non-smokers alike will understand the necessity of getting rid of smoke smells and odors. Whether the smell is in your home or in your car, it’s one of the worst odors imaginable. Cigarette smoke isn’t a quaint smell like a wood furnace or a fireplace; it gets into everything: your carpets, your walls, your sheets, your clothes, your jackets, even in your hand bags. I think we’ve all known or have heard about that one aunt who smokes like a chimney and no one wants to visit her because her house smells like death—and now, thanks to her habit, she’s dead and it’s up to you to deodorize her house before your family puts it on the market. Or perhaps it’s up to you to get the smoke odor out of the ’89 Buick Century she managed to drive only on church days–or when she ran out of smokes. Well, hopefully the suggestions below will help you remove the smell of cigarette smoke.
Smoke Smells in Cars
Probably the best bet for getting rid of smoke smell in your car is to dust your interior with scented Baking Soda, leaving it to sit for a day or two (with ventilation) and then vacuuming it up. Otherwise you can try opening a can of coffee beans and leaving it to sit for a while–if you like the smell of coffee, that is. Coffee beans are a natural odor neutralizer. You may also want to check out How to get rid of Car Smells if there’s something underlying that smoke smell.
Best Ways to Remove Smoke Smell
There’s something about vinegar that gets rid of smoke smell.
Because the smell of smoke is caused by the leftover resins and tars, vinegar (an acid that cuts through resin and tar) is a great way to clean those surfaces that aren’t made of fabric, and perhaps, some that are fabric. I know what you’re thinking; vinegar doesn’t smell much better than smoke. Well, that’s true, but the smell of vinegar eventually diminishes, cigarette smoke doesn’t.
The carpets need to be shampooed if you want to remove smoke smell.
You have a couple of options here; you can either go to your local hardware store and rent a carpet steam cleaner and shampoo the carpets yourself, or you can hire a professional to bring in a big truck and do the dirty work for you. If you want to save money, the choice is obvious, and the guarantees some businesses will make these days smell funnier than the smoke odor you want them to remove. If you do go the professional business route, make sure they’re insured/bonded.
Baking soda is a good way to get rid of smoke odor.
Now, this takes time because what you want to do is get a box of Arm & Hammer, dust the furniture and the carpets (if they haven’t been shampooed), and leave the baking soda to settle for a day or so. That will give it time to absorb some of the smoke smell and any moisture around it. Then, vacuum it up and repeat the process a few more times over the course of a week. Use scented baking soda if you like, the important thing is for the smell to get soaked into the powder.
Shades, curtains, and fixtures need to be cleaned to get rid of smoke odor.
A lot of people forget to clean things like shades, chandeliers, curtains, and wall hangings, but these things have probably collected quite a bit of tar and resin from years of hanging smoke. Do yourself a favor and put the curtains in the washer, buy new shades, and wipe down the chandelier with a good dose of ammonia, just to make sure that smell is gone.
Fresh air is probably the best way to remove smoke smell and odor from a home.
It turns out that opening the windows and doors every couple of days for a whole day will help get the stink of cigarettes out of a home. Lord knows why, but I imagine the air flow allows tar and resin particles to escape, leaving the house smelling more like a house than a tar pit.
Smoke Smell and Odor Removal Products
Don’t be fooled by the claims of odor removal products. If it doesn’t have a cleaning agent in it, you’re not going to get rid of the smoke smell. Scent-generating deodorizers only serve to mask the smell. Once you take them out of the house, you’ll notice the smell of old cigarettes again. Of course, we’ve all heard of Febreze, and wonder why it works.
Well, Febreze uses a chemical compound called cyclodextrin that has been used in household and custodial cleaning products for quite some time. The sugar-like substance doesn’t necessarily “clean” the odors out, but acts as an absorbent like baking soda or charcoal, to help soak the odor out. Yes, Febreze does work, but let’s be honest with ourselves. Spraying everything down with Febreze isn’t the answer to years and years of built up cigarette tars and resins.
There is one thing I would suggest in an odor removal product and that is activated charcoal. Charcoal is used not only to filter water and other things, but is also used to soak up odors, just like baking soda. If you see charcoal in an odor removing product, it’s likely to succeed at removing odors. They sell these Sagano activated charcoal odor eliminator bags at Amazon, should you want to try them out.
Various other Options for Smoke Removal
Washing the walls and ceilings
This is a good idea if nothing else has worked. Try mixing up one gallon of warm water, one half cup of ammonia, one quarter cup of vinegar, and one quarter cup of washing soda. Work your way up from the baseboards to the ceiling while you clean, making sure to change the solution often.
An ozone generator
This device will, apparently, get rid of any odor you can think of if it’s left on long enough in a closed house/ apartment. I don’t know about the specifics of this procedure, but if you’re getting desperate it might be worth a shot. I can’t take any responsibility for what this might do to your home or your health. Just be sure to air out the home thoroughly after doing this because ozone is bad for your lungs In fact, you may be better going with an Ionizer like this one from ionFresh at Amazon if you go the commercial product route.
Natural cleaners and odor removing products
These are a good idea. I don’t know about you, but I care about my environment. So, if you want to get rid of that smoke odor in an eco-friendly manner, I would suggest using some of the cleaning products found in the organic and natural foods section of your local grocery store. Often times these products work just as well as the brand name chemicals.