How to Get The Smoke Smell Out of Your Home

by Cora Gold | Updated: Oct 20, 2020

Have you ever walked into your rental home, taken a whiff and discovered the whole place smelled like smoke? You likely didn’t enjoy this smell and wanted to eliminate the odor as quickly and efficiently as possible. In case this happens again, here are several ways to help get the smoke smell out of your home.

Why does my home smell of smoke?

Finding the origin of the scent is a critical first step in the cleaning process. Walk throughout each room to determine if the smell is more potent in one part of the home. Also, attempt to identify the odor. Was it caused by some type of fire, or tobacco or marijuana use? Based on your findings, evaluate whether the entire house reeks or if it’s just one room you need to pay attention to.

Tobacco residue will sink into nearly all indoor surfaces and adhere to everyday objects. This residue is known as third-hand smoke, and it will build up over time. Without properly cleaning, it will remain on items and float throughout the air.

Can a smoke smell be removed from a home?

Rest assured, smoke odors can be removed or masked. Cleaning and discarding smelly household items can eliminate the majority of offensive odors, leaving your home feeling fresh and new.

Be aware that extensive damage from smoke may force you to request your landlord to remodel certain areas of the home to eliminate stains, smells and carcinogens. Ridding your rental property of these damages can become costly for your landlord, so consider the consequences before renting from a smoker or signing a lease on a rental a smoker used to live in.

How do you get the smoke smell out of your home? 

Get the smoke smell out of your home by following these five tips:

1. Toss out filthy objects

You should discard any dirty, non-essential items left by the previous tenant. Bring your own furniture and accessories for a blank slate. If you choose to keep a previous tenant's smelly furniture, sprinkle baking soda over it and allow it to sit for 24 hours before vacuuming. Other options are to wipe down the furniture using a cloth with white vinegar or call a professional cleaner.

2. Paint the walls and ceiling if your landlord allows you to

Inevitably, smoke will absorb into porous surfaces. It's common for tobacco residue to leave yellow and brown stains on the walls and ceilings. It's not enough to wipe down surfaces and assume the smell will dissipate. You need to sanitize the walls and ceiling and then coat each section of the house with layers of primer and then paint. By doing this, you create a barrier preventing odor molecules from escaping.

Before grabbing your paintbrush, talk to your landlord and make sure you’re allowed to paint the walls and ceiling of your rental. Give them your reason for doing so to help convince them if they’re on the fence about it.

3. Scrub down hard surfaces

Wash off surfaces like countertops and cabinets using a vinegar solution. It’s also helpful to scrub your floors and baseboards several times using soap and water. This will help to rid your home of smoke residue.

If a scent lingers, ask your landlord to seal your floors using a non-toxic finish.

4. Clean the carpet

We recommend asking your landlord to seek out a commercial cleaning company in your area to professionally deodorize your carpet if it smells of smoke. Without the help of an expert, your carpeting could be ruined. Rugs have many layers, so they must be properly sanitized to eliminate harmful germs, allergens and carcinogens.

5. Dry clean the curtains

Take your fabrics to a dry cleaner (or ask your landlord to) or put them through several wash cycles on a high temperature. If you use other window coverings like plastic blinds, soak them in your bathtub with an all-purpose cleaner and water to get rid of the smell.

What absorbs the smell of smoke?

There are numerous odor-absorbing materials that can also help eliminate unwanted scents. Here are six household items that will neutralize the smell of smoke:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Citrus peels
  • House plants
  • Coffee grounds
  • Charcoal

Place one of the above items in each affected room and leave overnight. Properly ventilate your residence to speed up the odor removal process.

Live in a home that doesn’t smell like smoke

Smoke residue is unpleasant and can cause health risks, so it’s definitely something you don’t want lingering in your home. Follow these steps to get the smoke smell out of your home successfully.

Categories: Renters

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