So, you bought a home from a cigarette smoker. The smell of stale cigarette smoke is everywhere, and you can’t stand the odor. You got a great deal on the home, though – cigarette smoking reduces the resale value of a home by close to 30 percent, after all – and you’re willing to do the work necessary to get the smoke smell out.
The first thing you need to know is that cigarette smoke permeates a home like you wouldn’t believe. You don’t just have hours of work ahead; completely removing the smell of smoke from a home can take weeks or months. Removing the first 90-95 percent of the cigarette smoke odor is relatively easy, but getting rid of the last traces will sometimes feel like a job you’ll never finish.
Whether you’re a nonsmoker who bought a home from a smoker – or you bought a brand new vape kit from a company like Triple 7 Vaping and want to celebrate your new smoke-free lifestyle – this guide is for you. Reconditioning a home that’s been polluted with cigarette smoke is such a complex process that no single article could possibly explain everything that you can do to get the cigarette smell out. In this article, though, we’re going to provide some tips that can get you almost all of the way there. Let these tips serve as the starting point for your project.
Remove the Smoke Smell From Walls and Ceilings
You might assume that the primary culprits behind a persistent smell of cigarette smoke in a home are soft items such as carpets. If you want to completely remove a persistent smoke smell, though, you’ve got to begin thinking differently because the compounds in cigarette smoke will stick to absolutely everything. What parts of any home have the most surface area? The walls and ceilings do. Paint over the home’s interior surfaces with a primer that encapsulates the odor-causing molecules and prevents them from escaping. You can then cover the primer with the paint of your choice. The primer prevents the smoke smell from penetrating the new paint.
Remove the Smoke Smell From Soft Items
While the walls and ceilings comprise most of a home’s interior surface area, soft items are even more efficient when it comes to absorbing the smell of cigarette smoke. You’ll need to replace all of the carpets in the home along with any padding under the carpets. You’ll most likely need to replace any bedding and other soft furniture as well. It might be possible to keep any curtains and drapes if they’re washable. If you’ve ever been a smoker yourself, though, you know how difficult it can be to remove the smoke smell from cloth items; they simply never come out of the wash smelling quite right. Try soaking the curtains in a bath of hot water, vinegar and baking soda for an hour before running them through the washing machine.
Remove the Smoke Smell From Porous Surfaces
Wooden furniture and cabinets are magnets for the smell of cigarette smoke because they’re porous. Cigarette smoke enters all of those microscopic pores, and once it’s in there, good luck ever getting it out. Here’s the solution: You’re going to saturate the wood with white vinegar, which is extremely effective in loosening those compounds and neutralizing the smell. Simply pour a good amount of vinegar over every surface and rub it all around. Use enough vinegar that it gets all over every surface, but don’t use so much that the wood ends up waterlogged. Remember that the finish on a laminate cabinet will be extremely sensitive to moisture, and too much vinegar could end up causing the surface to peel. You may want to try the vinegar wash in an inconspicuous area before you risk ruining the finish – although if you can’t clean the cabinets without ruining the finish, it might not be possible to keep the cabinets if you’re serious about removing every trace of the smoke smell from your home.
Remove the Smoke Smell From Smooth Surfaces
Remember how we mentioned that cigarette smoke sticks to absolutely everything in a home? That includes the lightbulbs – and every time you turn the lights on, the heat from the bulbs causes the smell to radiate everywhere. Replace the lightbulbs. You’ll also need to scrub all other smooth surfaces such as windows and countertops. As with the porous surfaces in the home, plain white vinegar can do an excellent job of breaking up the film of old tobacco smoke so you can rub it away easily.
Remove the Smoke Smell From the Air Conditioning System
If your home has central air conditioning and/or heating, you’ve got some serious work ahead of you because all of the ducts will be polluted with cigarette smoke. You’re probably best off hiring a professional to clean your ducts. If you’d rather do the work yourself, though, you’ll want to begin by removing all of your vent covers and soaking them in hot water, vinegar and baking soda. If that’s not strong enough, try soaking them in hot water and bleach instead. Get inside the ducts with a long duster. You may find it helpful to dampen the duster with a bit of vinegar. Once you’ve gotten the ducts as clean as possible, neutralize any remaining acid in the ducts by spraying them with a solution of water and a little baking soda. When the ducts are completely dry, spray them with an odor eliminating product such as Nok-Out or SNiPER. Those products use chlorine dioxide to remove odor-causing compounds by oxidizing them.
Complete the process of removing the smoke smell from your HVAC system by replacing the filter and cleaning the evaporator coil. Many spray-on evaporator coil cleaners require no rinsing; simply spray the cleaner on and wait for the foaming action to do its work.
Remove the Last Traces of Smoke With an Ozone Treatment
When it comes to germ killing, there are few things more effective than ozone. Since ozone is a gas, it can permeate every area of your home – just as smoke once did – and clean the areas that you can’t reach. Ozone is a molecule with three oxygen atoms. The third atom is unstable. It readily attaches to organic molecules, changing their structure. Ozone kills pathogens, and it eliminates odors. Using an ozone generator is potentially dangerous, though, as ozone can also harm humans, pets and plants. It’s wise to hire a professional to perform this stage of the cleaning process for you. Ozone treatment is most effective when you’ve already removed most of the smoke smell from your home. Many people find that, following the treatment, it’s no longer possible to tell that a smoker ever lived in the home.