How to Get Smoke Smell Out of House (15 Methods)

1. Let It Breathe

The first step of deodorizing a rental property is to clear out any surface odor – ventilation. Open all windows and leave them open for as long as possible; during the entire cleaning process as well as afterwards. Turn on available ceiling fans and place portable fans next to windows facing outward to blow out any remaining smoke in the space.

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Make a Cleaning Solution

Grab a bucket and mix a gallon of warm water with 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 2 or 3 tablespoons of dishwashing soap. Keep the bucket on hand, but it’s also a good idea to fill a spray bottle for easy application.

This will be the go-to cleaning solution for most of the smoke removal moving forward, so you may need to mix up more batches of white vinegar and dishwashing soap as you clean.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does smoke smell ever go away?

Smoke particles are microscopic, and will generally penetrate all the surfaces of a home. Tobacco smoke is often deeply embedded in a home thanks to the HVAC system, circulating the smoky air throughout the home. While it’s certainly frustrating, we found that with a variety of methods plus the use of volcanic rock, the smoke smell in both of our homes was eliminated for good!

What essential oil removes smoke smell? While I love the fragrances of essential oils, they won’t absorb or eliminate smoke smell. However, these oils may be effective in helping to mask the smoke smell over time. Try lavender or Eucalyptus for a fresh, subtle scent that might help to overpower the stale smoke smell.

Removing cigarette smell from your skin

  • Wash your hands. Holding a cigarette makes your fingers smell. You can eliminate this by washing your hands immediately after smoking. Add a teaspoon of baking soda to several squirts of liquid hand soap in your palm, mix together, and rub vigorously under warm water. Pay attention to the skin under your nails and to the area between each finger.
  • Cover up. Covering up as much skin as possible while you smoke will help keep the smell off your skin.
  • Cleanse your face. Using facial cleanser pads on your face will help eliminate cigarette smoke residue, although this will also mean you’ll need to touch up any makeup you’re wearing.
  • Use hand sanitizer. Some smokers use alcohol-based hand sanitizer on all areas of exposed skin. This will remove some odor, although it may also burn or irritate sensitive skin, and shouldn’t be used around the eyes.
  • Take a shower. It may be impractical to take a bath or shower after each cigarette, but do make sure to bathe as often as you can, especially after activities that make you sweat.

Let the House Air Out

The first step in eliminating smoky smells is to provide as much ventilation as possible. Open windows and doors so air can move freely throughout the home. Place box fans in windows and allow them to run for several hours to increase circulation. Letting exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms run is a good idea, as well.

Just doing this alone should make being inside the house a bit more bearable. If the smell is too much to handle, it may be worth calling in a professional service to tackle the job. If the odor doesn’t overpower you, keep the windows open and move on to cleaning the rest of the home.

Gear Up Before You Enter

Before starting the analysis process on your home, make sure that you are taking the correct safety precautions. Don’t step foot onto your property without a mask and goggles. Make sure your equipment is designed to protect against fire damage. If possible, wear long-sleeved clothing to prevent smoke particles from leeching into your skin.

What Steps Can I Take to Clean Up My Home?

After analyzing your place and deciding to do what you can to clean up yourself, you’re probably wondering how to get started. The tips below are a great way to get started, but you might need to take additional steps or do further research on smoke odors.

Before getting started, you’ll want to make sure you have the right cleaning products. Though scented candles might seem like an easy fix, the smoke smell won’t go away. Among other things, you’ll want to have baking soda, white vinegar, dish soap, and warm water. You’ll also want to have rags, vacuums, and trash bags on hand to get rid of things.

Step 1: Remove Household Items

Before beginning the clean-up process, you’ll want to remove as many household items as possible. Whatever smells like fire smoke should be moved outside. Separate your belongings into two categories, salvageable and destroyed. Be honest with yourself, if it’s too much of a hassle to clean the smoke odors, put it in the damaged pile.

Items that can’t be recovered include carpets, wallpaper, building materials, and insulation. Furniture, clothing, and linens can be cleaned offsite and should be removed as soon as possible to remove smoke smell. Leave the objects out in the fresh air to help lift the stink. The fewer objects with smoke particles left in your space, the easier your odor removal will be.

Step 2: Open All Your Windows and Doors

The fresher air you let into your space; the more smoke particles will be pushed out. If you can, open your windows and doors wide. Make sure that the weather is neither too hot nor too cold since bad weather can make the smoke smell worse.

Use fans to keep the fresh air flowing through your home or even just open all the windows to let fresh air in while you start cleaning. You want to prioritize keeping the air quality of your space high to get rid of smoke odors.

Step 3: Jump on the Ventilation Game, Properly

Make yourself a ventilation system by setting up an exhaust fan at your front door. Face the fan towards your interior to suck as much outdoor air into your space as possible. Ozone generators are also an exceptionally manageable way to clean the smoke odors from your home.

Step 4: Consider Your Options

Once your furniture and any items with a lingering smoke odor are off the property, and you have a ventilation system in place, the cleaning can commence. We’ve listed four courses of action available for you. Decide which works best for you, or if none of them seem applicable, feel free to do further research.

  • DIY Cleaning

If you ready to remove smoke smell from your property by yourself, you’ll want to make sure you have the right tools. Before anything else, sprinkle baking soda on all the surfaces you are going to clean. The powder helps to lift smoke smells and any residue. Afterward, rub white vinegar and warm water on the surfaces slowly. After a couple of minutes, the stain and odor should clear. Alternatively, you can utilize dish soap to remove stains.

  • Dry Cleaning

Dry cleaning is a relevantly cheap alternative to hand washing all your clothing and smaller items. Keep in mind that your local dry cleaner will not be able to restore larger furniture items. Also, be prepared to wait a while for the company to complete your smoke odor removal order.

  • House Tent Fumigation

Though more generally utilized to get rid of insects, house tents can also clear fire smoke residue. In this scenario, you’ll want to combine an ozone generator with your tent to eliminate the odor from items that can’t be taken to the dry cleaners.

For this method, renting a machine will cost you less than purchasing the product for one-time use.

  • Thermal Fogging Machine

A thermal fogging machine uses pressurized air to disperse deodorant droplets throughout your home and remove smoke smell. If you are interested in utilizing this machinery, you should consider calling a professional.

6. Refresh Cabinets and Upholstery

Cigarette smoke can certainly find its way into cabinets with doors and cloth furniture, so you should definitely go over the remaining furniture inside the suite.

Sprinkle baking soda over upholstery in your rental unit such as sofas and beds. Tap it into the fabric gently and let it sit overnight. Use a vacuum to suck it up the next day. Alternatively, you may wet a lint-free rag with white vinegar and rub down your fabric furniture to get rid of the smoke odor. For cabinets and drawers, you can use the same method to wipe down the surfaces, spray the inside with a light white vinegar mist, and leave the doors open to air dry the inside.

The bottom line on how to get smoke smell out of your house

Start by airing out the house in general. Then use robust cleaning products to clean all hard surfaces. Then wash all carpets and any fabric-covered areas. Clean all air ducts and replace air filters. To finish the job, you can follow up with an air purifier.

Cleanse walls and most-touched surfaces

Walls are the most common areas smoke absorbs into in your home. Gagliardi says that mixing powder TSP (trisodium phosphate), like Sunnyside TSP Heavy Duty Cleaner ($32.06, homedepot.com), with water will combine for a cleaning solution that combats "the greasy component of cigarette smoke and soot." After cleaning with this mixture, repaint your walls if any stubborn smoke smells stick around.

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