Compilation of tips & advice for removing smoke smell and other odors from a home or car.
How to Get Rid of Smoke Smell and Other Odors
The very first thing to know before you attack the stink is that smoke smell and other odors are particulate - like dust. Those particles get everywhere and are the source of the smell. So it's a thing that needs to be removed. Just changing or scenting the air won't do it.
To rid my apartment of smoke smell after I quit smoking, I WASHED EVERYTHING - walls, ceilings, windows, curtains, blinds, carpets, clothing, air ducts, ceiling fans, etc. I rented a steam cleaner and cleaned upholstered furniture... Some things just couldn't be washed or cleaned and those all got tossed.
For washing, I used an ammonia and natural orange dish soap mix and changed the water frequently. Effective micro-organisms and enzymes (from a pet or hardware store) were used on pillows, carpet (after steam cleaning) and on other hard to clean items and they are both very effective at actually removing the smoke / odor particulate.
FOR MY CAR:
First, I had it thoroughly detailed (professionally) on the inside including steam cleaning upholstery and carpet (floor and ceiling). All the leather, plastic and vinyl was wiped down and cleaned. (Many auto detailers now offer Ozone Treatments especially for odor elimination - I've heard they work really well but didn't try it).
Then, with the car running and the fan on full blast (A/C and then heat), I sprayed enzyme spray and let it run through for about an hour (spraying lots several times). Afterwards, I had the "cabin air filter" changed which helped A LOT. It worked!!
Take out the carpets and clean from top to bottom with peroxide.
Burning candles will help to eliminate odors, even unscented ones.
Vinegar in an open container can help and oddly enough a cut ONION, left out for 1 day, can help too! (It does something to absorb and neutralize the odor.)
I would use baking soda on the carpet and vacuum it up a half day later to absorb smells. And if itís cool outside, I would open all windows and crank up the fan.
Effective micro-organisms are amazing! I used them to get skunk smells and other stink out of my house!!! I bet youíll need to wash the walls, at least to get the oily smoke stuff cleaned off.
Buy some baking soda and some lemons. Put the baking soda on some plates or in some bowls. Cut up the lemons and squeeze some juice on the baking soda and then just lay the rinds on the baking soda as well. Placed the plates or bowls around the house in the corners or on the carpets (some place where they wonít get knocked over) and let them sit for a day or two.
You can also pour out some white vinegar on a plate or bowl and likewise, just leave it out for a few days.
Finally, I am told that activated charcoal is also excellent but I have not tried it. We didnít have to as the above two solutions handled a horrible cigarette smell in an apartment we moved into.
Wash the walls with soap and water. Repaint.
Wash the carpets with a good shampoo.
Wash the blinds and windows. (Nicotine collects on flat surfaces.)
Smoke is composed of particles. The particles on the walls, in furniture, carpets, etc. One thing that will help is to either wash or paint all of the walls & ceilings. Wash the floors or clean the carpets, etc., as needed.
Thereís a product called ďNok OutĒ http://www.nokout.com/ that I found very good for removing odor. I donít know about cigarette smoke specifically - I had really burnt eggs! Itís a spray and you can get it with an atomized sprayer so you donít wear your fingers out pressing the spray lever.
Get a sponge mop and mop all surfaces, ceiling to floor, with vinegar and water solution.
We used a pan of ammonia and changed it every day for several days and it cut through the smell. We also had all the drapes and carpet cleaned as well but not until after the smell was cut. Also, change all the air filters AFTER the ammonia treatment.
I smoke and keep my house smell free by washing the walls and ceilings every year. If itís very bad, Iíd say re-paint over the smell. I havenít found that the air purifiers work on this. Cleaning works for me.
Boil some water with vinegar in it. You can also boil some water with cinnamon in it - smells great!
Step one is to clean out the A/C duct system and change the filters.
You clean every surface including all the little cracks in the windows with Zepco orange cleaner from Home Depot. Then prime with Zinserís B-I-N primer paint. That fuses with anything left and neutralizes it.
We bought a wall cleaning solution that professional painters use to prep walls prior to doing a professional paint job. It took more than one application to rid the walls of that nasty brown gunk, but it seemed to handle the smell and the appearance. So my suggestion is, get the walls really clean and then use a primer like ďKilzĒ to seal the wall. Then apply a premium brand of paint. I have generally used ďBehrĒ from Home Depot.
First, I washed all the walls with a special solution (I donít remember the name but Home Depot can tell you; I think it may have had the letters ďTHXĒ). I got rid of all the furniture, curtains, carpet, etc. Even the lamps were nicotine-stained and had to be thrown out. I repainted the walls and then ionized the apartment for a week with an Ecoquest air purifier.
Try putting a paper plate with baking soda powder and ľ squeezed fresh lemon juice on it, in each room.
I had to clean the walls and ceilings, re-paint, get rid of all the curtains or blinds and shampoo the carpets.
As a General Contractor for 30+ years, I have dealt with smoke smell as a result of fire damage to structures.
Lots of Ozone (from an ozone machine) will work over a period of time and I have found effective micro-organisms to be VERY effective. But to fully handle the smoke you may have to:
a) Seal (use Kilz) all painted surfaces and repaint them.
b) Remove & replace all carpet; fully clean all hard surface flooring
c) Have a full cleaning of the A/C system and ducts done. Once clean, the inside of the ducts can be coated with a sealer.
d) Get rid of any upholstered furniture.
e) Ozone any small items in a closet for several days.
1. Wash the walls and you may need to wash any wooden furniture or rub it well with furniture polish.
2. Open all windows to air out the house any chance you can; it is better than having the A/C on.
3. Place those absorbing granule bags (I donít know what they are called) in every room. The bags have little granules in them that absorb smells. Note that ordinary old soda of bicarbonate (baking soda) is also good at getting rid of smells. Sprinkle generously on any carpets or rugs, leave for a day (or two hours minimum), then vacuum up.
4. I recommend washing any curtains or cleaning all venetian blinds.
5. Basically, everything that can hold smoke or be permeated by smoke needs to be washed or if that canít be done, needs to be cleaned by some other method. (That would include clothes that have been hanging in a wardrobe.)
Try keeping a 3 quart pot simmering on the stove with cloves and vinegar.
Order a gallon of Earth Friendly Parsley Plus cleaner and start cleaning!
Try enzymes. You can usually buy enzyme spray from a pet store.
I took out every fabric thing such as curtains and cushions and tossed them.
Go to a pet store and get a gallon (or quart) of NATUREíS MIRACLE, urine eliminator for cats and dogs. This works with enzymes. Mix up a batch and spray down the walls.
I mopped all the floors and wiped down the walls with a green cleaner. I also changed the filter two times in the A/C return and ran just the vent to circulate the air through it.
I sprayed the citrus air freshener, one from Trader Joes. Itís environmentally friendly and has no perfume.
I have hardwood floors so it wasnít in the carpet, however if there was carpet I would have put straight baking soda powder on it. Also, placing some boxes around the house for about a week should help.
I also washed all the windows. I found when I sprayed the walls and windows that there was a film of resin from the smoking and that was making the smell linger.
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