When you’re on the prowl for a new home, the last thing you want to walk into is a home that reeks of cigarette smoke. It’s not exactly the most pleasant smell, and it really is something that sellers should deal with before they even list their home on the market.
But what if you fall in love with a home, despite its awful smell? Is the scent of cigarette smoke enough of a deterrent to force you to walk away from a property?
While not exactly ideal, a home that smells like cigarettes shouldn’t necessarily be written off. Sure, it will take some effort to eliminate those foul odors, and you might even be tempted to request that the seller tackle this job for you as a contingency before you agree to finalize the deal.
But if you end up having to do the job yourself, there are a few things you can do to get rid of the scent of cigarette smoke and help the interior of your new home smell fresh again.
1. Wash All Fabrics
Fabrics have a knack for holding onto smells, whether good or bad, so they need to be removed from the home and thoroughly washed. While this might not be the easiest or quickest job in the world, it would help if you took down all of your window drapes, removed covers from throw pillows, and take off tablecloths from tabletops and throw them in the wash.
Once they’ve been cleaned, dry them in the dryer over medium heat with a fabric softener sheet to ensure they come out smelling fresh. Before you replace them, you’ll need to have the rest of the home cleaned first, or you risk the newly-washed fabrics absorbing odors still present all over again.
2. Leave a Bowl of White Vinegar Out
Leaving out a bowl of white distilled vinegar can help absorb any foul odors in a space. Just be sure to replace the vinegar every day, and keep in mind that your home might smell like a tossed salad for a while until order has been restored in your home’s interior.
3. Leave Out Bowls of Charcoal
Similar to the vinegar-bowl idea, leaving out bowls of charcoal in every room that’s affected can help eliminate odors. It’s non-toxic and has long been used to detoxify many things, including the body and drinking water. Thanks to its ability to absorb pungent odors like cigarette smoke, it can make it an effective air purifier.
4. Clean Carpets and Upholstery With Baking Soda
As already mentioned, fabrics tend to be the biggest absorbers of smells, and carpets and upholstery are no exception. Baking soda can be very effective at neutralizing odors on surfaces like these. Sprinkle baking soda liberally all over your carpeting and furniture to naturally lift the odors and eliminate them. Ideally, the baking soda should be left on for a couple of hours or so, then vacuumed off.
5. Have Your Carpets and Upholstery Steam Cleaned Instead
If the baking soda trick doesn’t work, you can always have your carpeting and upholstery steam cleaned.
If you’re confident in your ability to deep clean your upholstery and carpeting using a rented steam cleaner, give it a shot. Just be wary of how much shampoo and water you use, because many DIYers tend to soak their carpets and use too much soap, making it very difficult to eliminate all the suds and get the fabric to dry.
Having your carpets and upholstery steam cleaned by professionals is the best way to get rid of all that absorbed smoky smell and will ensure that your textiles are left smelling much more pleasant.
6. Open the Windows
Sounds simple enough, but this obvious task can do wonders at allowing a lot of smoke particles to escape and fresh air to waft in.
7. Rent an Ozone Machine
Ozone machines remove foul smells – including cigarette smoke -by binding with the molecules that cause bad smells and eliminate them. Whether the smells are lingering on surfaces, fabrics, or in the air, ozone machines can effectively get rid of them and leave a fresher smell behind. They’re even effective for removing mold. While you can certainly buy an ozone machine, you can easily rent one for a fraction of the price.
8. Thoroughly Wash All Surfaces
Floors, walls, countertops, ceilings, and all other surfaces should be thoroughly washed to get rid of the smoky smell. You can make your own homemade cleaning solution by combining warm water, one part white vinegar, one part baking soda, and one part ammonia. Scrub all surfaces with this solution with a clean cloth to get rid of any grime that may be attracting and holding onto odor molecules.
9. Light a Few Candles
Once you’ve cleaned your home from top to bottom, light a few candles throughout the home. Candles are known to kill odors, and lighting a few scented ones can infuse much more pleasant smells in their place.
The Bottom Line
A smoke-smelling home is not pleasant at all, and the scent can even get in the way of being able to see the true potential of your home. But there are certain things you can do to get rid of that offensive odor and end up with a home you can be proud to call yours.