Having the smell of smoke in the house creates a non-welcoming atmosphere for your guests, but it can also be unpleasant for you, especially if you do not smoke. There are many ways how smoke may have gotten into your home. Perhaps you live nearby a wildfire-prone area, and the smoke smell originating from the outside may have got stuck inside your living area.
Furthermore, even if you’re not a smoker yourself, the previous resident may have been a smoker who hasn’t properly vented the area after themselves.
How much cleaning you will have to do will depend on how much smoke was inside, how often the area was ventilated, and for how long did the indoor area regularly fill up with smoke.
The longer the smoke lingered around, the stronger the smell and the perception that the smoke is still lying around everywhere. The smell can come from the walls, curtains, clothes, and soft furniture, such as a couch or bed.
In this article, we’ll explain to you how to get the smell of smoke out of your living area, and how to do it in the most efficient way, and for good.
Part 1: The Basics
Before we move to the ‘heavier’ part of the procedure, which might not even be necessary in all cases, we’ll start with some lighter measures you can take and then see if the smell of smoke is still there.
Remove all Smoke-Related Objects
Anything that has produced the smoke in the house, might still be smelling of smoke. Is there are burned pot or pan? Throw it. An ashtray lying around? Even if regularly emptied and washed, an ashtray will still stink of smoke. Unless you are going to use it and produce more smoke, throw it, or put it outside.
If you are a new resident of the unit, check the area for any leftover cigarette buds, old cigarette packages, etc. These can easily keep on being stinky for a very long time.
You can also refer to our article on items that absorb cigarette smoke to help find everything that could be letting that causing that smoke smell to linger.
Ventilate the Area to Clear Smoke from the House
Open all windows and doors wide, and let the fresh air circulate around the house for some time. If there is sun outside, even better, as it can help kill bacteria and germs lying around. If the smell is strong, switch on all the fans and ventilators you have at home, as this will provide additional help with indoor air circulation and make the process of air exchange faster.
This is most effective if it’s done as soon as possible after the smoking occurred. If you can clear the smoke from the house before it has had a chance to settle in to the soft furnishings, this will help prevent the smell from lingering.
Part 2: The Cleaning
If extensive ventilation and airing out the room did not help, it’s time to go with some heavier artillery: cleaning.
You can use either store-bought chemicals or if you prefer to keep things organic and natural, simple water with vinegar.
Smoke has the trickiest ways of sticking to the walls, wooden furniture, and soft furniture like beds and couches, that ventilating and airing the room may not be enough, especially if the former resident was a smoker who didn’t ventilate all that often.
Hard Surface Cleaning
You can begin your cleaning session by cleaning the upper, hard surfaces first. You can either buy a cleaning chemical of your preference, or you can go with the organic mix of water and vinegar.
If you decide on the latter, simply mix water with vinegar in a 50/50 ratio in a spray bottle, and use it to wipe all of the hard surfaces such as tables, chairs, window frames, shelves, and drawers.
You can use the same mixture to wipe the floors later as well.
Vacuum the Floors and Rugs
After wiping all the hard surfaces, but before mopping the floors, you can vacuum the floors and rugs, so that you remove any dust and dirt that has fallen off the hard surface. If you have a strong vacuum cleaner, this can also help with smell removal.
Wipe the Floors
Especially if you have wooden floors, it’s very important that you wipe them as well, as the smell of smoke might be stuck in there as well.
You can either use your floor cleaning chemical of choice or keep going with that vinegar-water mixture.
Wash the Fabrics
While you are washing the floors, you can also put all of the curtains, tablecloths, and other decorative fabrics and give them a light wash. If there are any rugs in the home, consider washing them too.
One of the methods you can apply here is to use baking soda and sprinkle it on the carpets and fabrics.
After two or three days, simply vacuum these pieces of furniture, and if your vacuum cleaner has a steam cleaning option, feel free to go hard with that one.
Go More Robust for Walls and Ceilings
If the situation is really bad, you may want to give a hygienic pass to your walls and ceilings as well. One of the best cleaning products to use is ammonia. You can make a mixture of ½ of a cup of ammonia along with ½ cup of baking soda and ¼ a cup of white vinegar, all mixed with 1 gallon of hot water.
Make sure to give your best to reach even the high spots and wipe any stains off the wall, as the smell of smoke may be stuck in there, as, as you know, it always travels up.
Part 3: Rely on the Technology
Finally, once you’re done with your part, cleaning, and venting, you can start relying on technology to help you keep your home air clean and fresh.
Use an Air Purifier
Air purifiers’ main purpose is to keep your home fresh and your air clean. If you don’t already have one in your home, and you’d like to purchase one, make sure that it has a HEPA filter. If all of the hard work with airing and washing did not completely eliminate the smell of smoke in your home, the air purifier should help with that after some time of use.
Replace the Filters and Clean Air Ducts
If there are any HVAC filters and air ducts to be cleaned in your residential space, you should do that, as these tend to accumulate odor molecules over time.
Also, if no one has done this in a while, there might be some blockages inside the air ducts that are filled with smoke residuals. Removing them should help your indoor space smell less like smoke.
Wrapping It Up
Moving into a new place only to discover that it smells like smoke can be quite unpleasant. Also, living in an area that is nearby any kind of wildfire can be tricky as you will often struggle to get the smell of smoke out. Finally, if the people you live with are smokers, you should perhaps try to arrange with them to not smoke inside, as otherwise, your home will start smelling like an ashtray very soon.
Despite the fact that it’s kind of difficult and can be demanding, there are ways to get rid of smoke from your home. Regular and extensive ventilation, cleaning the furniture, doors, windows, floors, and even walls, as well as implementing an air purifier and taking care of your air ducts and filters can help not only reduce but completely eliminate any kind of current or residual smell of smoke.