Eliminate Smoke Odor for Good

When we finally decided to invest in our lake cottage, it also smelled of years of smoke. Not the kind of relaxing getaway we were hoping for, you know?

When we purchased this home, we noticed a stale smell, but every time we unpacked our bags at home, we couldn’t wait to wash everything – clean or dirty!

Our clothes and bags reeked of stale smoke though no one had smoked in the home for years. I needed a smoke smell removal trick that really worked, and fast.

before
before

After crowdsourcing how to get rid of smoke smell on Instagram we  tried several methods. Many of them require investment of time and money but I was willing to try anything.

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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.

Don’t want to use chemicals? Here’s how to get smoke smell out of your house naturally

If you’re concerned about toxic or harsh chemicals that may be in some cleaning products, there are several naturally-derived things you can do. Place activated charcoal, apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar in a bowl in each room. If you are a coffee lover, you could also use coffee grounds. All these substances can help to absorb odors in a non-invasive way.

You can also mask the smoke smell with vanilla extract. Use a cloth to wipe it over different surfaces in the home, or put some on cotton balls. You can also do the same with essential oils or use scented candles to get rid of the smell. House plants are also excellent at absorbing chemicals and purifying the air. Buy some and place them throughout the house.

3. Repaint Ceilings Walls

Ready to get down to business? Let’s start with the biggest chunk of the job – ceilings and walls. This part may not sound like your idea of fun, but it’s necessary, and the reward is huge.

First, you will need to wash the surface. Mix a cup of white vinegar with 2 cups of warm water and ½ cup of baking soda. Dip a sponge in the mix and start wiping down the ceilings and the walls. Washing the ceilings and walls with vinegar can both deodorize and clean the surface. Wipe with a clean sponge after. Repeat 2-3 times.

Next, repaint the ceilings and walls with multiple coats of paint, depending on how stained the walls are. It is crucial to wash and dry the surface first, as simply repainting the wall might not stop the nicotine stains from seeping through. Also, paint sticks better to a cleaner surface. Again, if you’re willing go that extra mile, you can apply a layer of odor-blocking primer before regular paint. Odor-blocking primers are very effective at preventing odor molecules and stains from penetrating the new paint.

Removing cigarette smell from your hair

If you’ve ever left a smoky environment only to revisit the stale smell of cigarettes once your head hits the pillow, you know how much smoke hair can absorb.

  • Rinse and repeat. Shampooing and conditioning your hair is the best way to remove cigarette smell. That goes for beards and mustaches, too.
  • Spray on some dry shampoo. If you can’t wash your hair, dry shampooing can help reduce cigarette odor.
  • Grab a dryer sheet. You can also try rubbing a dryer sheet all over your hair. Make sure to rub your entire head of hair, including the underneath layers.

How to wash walls to get rid of smoke smell

Although many homeowners swear by using an ammonia mixture to remove smoke smells, there are natural alternatives to harsh chemicals that you can try first. According to Fiona, "A less harsh but also effective method is to mix a good Castile soap with water and essential oils of your choice, and then scrub the walls with a microfiber cloth." 

Tip: You can also make a mixture using ½ cup baking soda, ¼ cup white vinegar, and hot water. This will also help remove any stains on the walls that may be contributing to bad odors. Follow these steps to clean the walls, including making sure the sponge or cloth you're using is just barely damp, not soaking wet, to reduce drips on the wall.

How Volcanic Rocks Work

  • absorb moisture and odors
  • natural, non-toxic and environmentally friendly
  • place them in discreet places i.e.: under beds, sofas, etc
  • recharge by placing them in the sun

Crazy, right? We started using them last fall, only putting them out in the sun twice and when we returned to our lake cottage this spring, there was absolutely no evidence of odor thanks to these volcanic rocks! They are a truly effective smoke odor eliminator.

I’m still blown away. Who knew it could be so easy?

Volcanic rock is the easiest way to get rid of smoke smell in a house and it works for other odors, too!

The takeaway

Thirdhand smoke from cigarettes leaves a strong smell in the air, which may be more apparent and distasteful to nonsmokers. This smell is not only unpleasant, it’s also dangerous to health.

You can reduce thirdhand smoke cosmetically, but the best way to eliminate it completely is by not smoking.

The number of programs and methods to help you stop smoking has grown dramatically in recent years. Speak with your healthcare provider or check online for options to help you quit.

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