How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Your House and Furniture

Steps for getting rid of smoke smell

These easy steps will help you get rid of nasty odors quickly and easily. Once you know how to get the smoke smell out of house furnishings and walls, you can keep on top of it.

1: Start by throwing away any items related to smoking

Anything that has had a cigarette in it will keep the offensive smell. Start by throwing away any ashtrays, cigarette butts, packets and lighters.

2: Open up all the windows in the house

A quick start on how to get smoke smell out of house furnishings is to open up all the windows right away. It’s also important to open windows before you start cleaning, so there’s ventilation if you’re using any harsh cleaning products.

3: Increase the air circulation

Use two ventilators to boost air circulation and speed up the removal of the smell. Use one ventilator to push air across the room. Place the second near a window or door to further expel the stale air.

Make a 50/50 mixture of hot water and white vinegar. Use a spray bottle and some rags to wipe down all hard surfaces. Include decorations, doors, kitchen counters, fan blades, light fixtures, and picture frames. Use a mop and bucket to clean the floor with the same mixture of water and vinegar.

4: Clean carpets and fabric-covered surfaces

Baking soda is a handy household cleaner as it can neutralize odor molecules. Sprinkle it on carpets and fabric surfaces and leave it for a few days. Then vacuum, and if needed, steam-clean your carpet.

5: Machine wash laundry-safe fabrics

Toss any washer-safe cushion covers, curtains, pillow covers, sofa covers, and linens into the machine. Do one wash cycle with .5 cups of white vinegar and then a second cycle with your usual detergent. Let them air dry outside until the house is clean.

6: Replace HVAC air filters and clean air ducts

Replace any HVAC filters that may have accumulated odor molecules. You could also consider using a carbon (activated charcoal) or a HEPA filter to remove odors. Check all air ducts and remove any blockages or dust that might have smoke residue in them.

5. Wash Windows and Window Coverings

Moving on, window coverings are also great absorbers of cigarette smoke. You will definitely need to remove all window coverings in order to clean them, whether they’re blinds, shades, curtains, or drapes.

Soak non-wooden blinds in a bathtub full of all-purpose cleaner mixed with water and a cup of vinegar. Let blinds soak for 10-15 minutes, then scrub thoroughly and hang to dry. For curtains and drapes, you can take them to a dry cleaner or replace them. If your drapes are washable, wash them in the hottest setting allowed. Clean windows thoroughly by spraying vinegar onto the window surface and wipe it with a microfiber cloth. Repeat 2-3 times, then wipe with a clean cloth.

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Removing cigarette smell from your clothing

Even if you go outside to smoke, you’re bound to bring a cigarette smell back inside with you, unless you remove it immediately from clothes and shoes. If you don’t wash your clothing after each use, your closet will also smell like cigarettes. These solutions can help:

Machine or hand-wash with baking soda

  • Wash your clothing in regular detergent with a cup of baking soda added. Let it line dry if possible. If one washing isn’t enough to eliminate the odor, wash as many times as needed prior to drying in a machine. Dryers can bake the smell in, making it harder to remove.
  • You can add baking soda to soapy water to hand wash delicate items.

Use dryer sheets

If you need to remove cigarette smell from your clothing in a pinch, rubbing a dryer sheet on each entire garment you have on will help. Don’t forget hats, scarves, gloves, shoes, or boots.

Try a deodorizing spray

Spraying your clothing with an air freshener made for fabric, or with a spray-on antiperspirant, is another way to remove cigarette odor from clothing. This hack may be overpowering, however, given that you need to spray the entire garment in order to get results.

Mask the odor

Essential oil sprays won’t absorb thirdhand smoke smell, but certain scents may be effective at masking it to some degree. These include orange, grapefruit, eucalyptus, and lavender.

Don’t put undiluted essential oils directly on your skin.

7. Cleanse Carpets and Rugs

Carpeting could be one of the biggest headaches to clean. It doesn’t matter how careful your tenants are, carpets are like ‘silent vacuum’ – they eventually pick up all the tiny dirt, spills, and the invisible cigarette smoke molecules from all the years of smoking.

Start by sprinkling baking soda over the carpet or rug, wait for 10 minutes, and vacuum the carpet intensely for up to 30 minutes. Then, spray a light mist of one part of white vinegar mixed with two parts of water onto the carpet or rug. If the odor persists, unfortunately, it’s probably time to say goodbye to your carpet. If the carpet isn’t replaceable, you may need to hire a professional carpet cleaner to take care of it.

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Sweepstakes

What if My Home is Covered in Soot?

Sometimes in a house fire, smoke damage residue is left behind. Among other things, soot, made from incomplete combustion of fuels such as wood and oil, is a common residual. The carbon particles cling to household items and emit acids and chemicals into the home, significantly lowering the air quality.

Soot, specifically, is dangerous if cleaned unprofessionally. You risk exposing yourself to unhealthy chemicals while you clean. Plus, unless using proper equipment, you might not remove all the soot from your home. If you notice massive build-ups during your assessment, call an expert immediately.

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.

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Why does smoke smell linger?

Resin and tar are the main chemical components in smoke that lead to a lasting smoke odor. When you light a cigarette inside, the resulting tobacco smoke leaves behind a filmy residue of resin and tar on your walls, ceilings, light bulbs, toys, bedding, and furniture fibers. Smoke smell will become particularly hard to budge in the porous materials of your couch, carpet, and walls.

How long does smoke smell last?

The smell of smoke can last anywhere between a few days to a couple of months (or even years if you're a heavy smoker). The intensity and longevity of the smoke smell will ultimately depend on how frequently and how long someone was smoking inside the residence. Ventilation in the room, or lack thereof, can also affect the permanency of smoke smell.

Tips for Removing Smoke Odor

So, now that you understand the impact a smoke smell can have on your property sale or purchase, you're probably wondering what's the best way to remove smoke odor from your home. To get you started, we've listed three practical tips for getting smoke smell out of your house.

What is the fastest way to get rid of cigarette smell?

If you need to remove the smell of cigarette smoke quickly, make sure you've opened up your windows and removed any cigarette butts and ash trays. If the smell hasn't dissipated, try soaking a cloth in white vinegar and wiping down both the upholstery and hard surfaces in the affected rooms. This should neutralize any smoke residue that has settled on your furniture or walls.

Professional Options

Hiring a home restoration company is the fastest and most effective way to eliminate smoke smell from your home. If your home has a severe smoke odor, restoration companies can use specialist equipment, such as steam deodorizers or ozone generators, to thoroughly cleanse surfaces and fabrics. If this doesn't work, home restoration professionals will use a specialized sealant to trap any remaining odors.

Remember, professional restoration companies will typically be more expensive than removing the odor yourself. However, if you're worried about the health risks of a smoke smell or you're trying to sell your home, hiring a professional is almost always a more reliable alternative.

Do-It-Yourself Options

Some of the most effective do-it-yourself options for removing smoke odors from your home include:

  • Wipe down all hard surfaces with a vinegar and water solution. Placing bowls of white vinegar or coffee grounds in affected rooms will also help neutralize the smell.
  • Remove and wash any smoke infused bedding, cushions, furniture covers, and curtains. For the best results, we recommend that you have larger items washed by a professional dry cleaner.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on affected carpeted areas and leave overnight (or for as long as possible).
  • Install an industrial-grade HEPA air purifier or air scrubber in your home.
  • Use fragrant indoor plants to produce more pleasant interior odors.

Assess the Damage

No two fires will ever look the same. You must begin your assessment without expectations and try to be as level-headed as possible. The smoke odor removal process will help with the healing, but make sure you’re in the right mindset before beginning. Before going into steps that you can take to remove the smoke smell, you must ask yourself a few questions.

  • How long was the fire going?
  • How much of my home did the fire destroy?
  • Are your walls painted with latex paint?
  • What materials (wood/plastic/upholstery) were burnt?

Walk through your home and analyze the smoke damage. Bring a pen and paper to write down what you see. Take note of whether larger rooms or smaller rooms suffered more. Check your HVAC system, furnace filters, window screens, and any air filters for soot or ash. Make sure your search is slow and thorough so you can come up with a comprehensive cleaning solution to get rid of the smoke odors.

Step 2 Air Out the House

The first thing you should do to eliminate the smoke smell after a house fire is to circulate fresh air. Turn off your air conditioning to prevent the same smokey air from circulating throughout the house. You also want to gather several fans to place strategically in doors and windows. Open every door and window you can, and let the house air out for a few hours. 

If the smell of the smoke is overpowering and persistent, you can blow out each room of the house with some positive pressure. Follow these steps:

  • Open the front door to let in the fresh air and set up a large fan facing into the house.
  • Close all but one window or door in the room where you are working.
  • Turn on the fan to the highest speed to force the smokey air out the door. This method will force fresh air into the room through the window via an exhaust fan.
  • Blow the area for at least fifteen minutes.
  • When you’ve finished, close the window and door to that room and repeat the process for each additional room until you have adequately aired the house.

This process will likely help the odor start to dissipate, but it will not remove smoke smell altogether. The only way to remove smoke smell entirely is to clean every item and household surface in the home.

 

Conclusion

Fires are devastating and terrifying. Once the fire is out, and you’ve ensured everyone is safe, you could be facing a long and challenging road to get your home back to its original state. Fires can cause extreme structural damage as well as destroy your furniture and personal items. Almost every material in the home holds onto smoke odor, making it very difficult to eliminate. 

By taking these steps, you can start odor removal to get rid of the fire smoke smell in your home. If the smell persists, the best way to make sure all of the smoke odors disappear is to contact experts from IDC Repair and Restoration. We can effectively eliminate the smell of smoke using our advanced equipment such as air scrubbers and ozone generators. Once we are through deodorizing your home, you’ll forget that the fire ever happened!

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