A lit cigarette resting on a clear glass ashtray beside a red lighter, emitting smoke that symbolizes the challenge of eliminating smoke odor in the home.

Smoke odour tends to be incredibly tough to remove. Whether you’re a smoker who quit or a previous tenant was a smoker and the end of tenancy cleaning didn’t quite deal with the smell, if you’re reading this, you probably want to know how to eliminate smoke odour from your home.

Fret not! We’ll help you reclaim the freshness of your home. While it can be a bit more tricky than you first think, there’s plenty you can do and we’ll walk you through it.

In this article:

  • Why does smoke odour linger in the air?
    • What is smoke made of?
    • How does smoke smell get everywhere?
    • What is the role of porous materials in smoke odours?
    • Why does the smoke smell persist?
  • Everyday habits to reduce smoke odour
    • Airing out your home
    • Mindful ashtray management
    • Smoking outside
    • How to use baking soda for cigarette odour absorption
    • How to use Scented vinegar to get rid of smoke odour
  • Innovative tools for a smoke-free home
    • Air purifiers
    • Odour absorbers
    • Ventilation fans
  • Preventing smoke odour
    • Establish a smoking policy
    • Regular cleaning routine
    • Use odour-neutralising products
    • Professional cleaning
  • FAQs
    • Q: Can smoke odour cause health issues?
    • Q: Are air purifiers effective against smoke odour?
    • Q: Can painting help eliminate smoke odour?
  • Conclusion

Why does smoke odour linger in the air?

Have you ever wondered why smoke odour seems to cling to everything? The reason lies in the very nature of smoke itself. When something burns, it doesn’t just disappear into thin air. It transforms.

The materials being burned – be it tobacco, wood, or your accidentally charred dinner – break down into a complex mixture of chemicals. This transformation results in thousands of different tiny compounds sneaking into every nook and cranny of your home.

What is smoke made of?

Understanding smoke’s composition is like getting a peek into the enemy’s playbook. Smoke contains a variety of components, including:

A pile of loose tobacco shreds scattered on a white background, illustrating the raw components of smoke and the difficulty of removing tar and nicotine residues.
  • Tar – a sticky substance that can coat surfaces and fabrics, making the smell linger.
  • Nicotine – adds to the distinct odour left by cigarette smoke, particularly notorious for its persistence.
  • Particulates – these tiny particles are the vehicles for the smoky smell and are capable of traveling deep into porous materials.

How does smoke smell get everywhere?

Smoke particles are like microscopic invaders that can penetrate deep into the porous materials of your home. They don’t just settle on the surface. They burrow into carpets, curtains, furniture, and even the paint on your walls.

This deep infiltration is what makes smoke odour so challenging to eliminate. Cleaning the surfaces is not enough. You need to reach into the very fibers and materials that have absorbed the smoky particles and… smoke them out (pun intended).

What is the role of porous materials in smoke odours?

Porous materials in your home act like sponges, absorbing smoke particles and holding onto them. Fabrics, upholstery, carpets, and even certain types of paint are particularly good at trapping these odour-causing particles.

The larger the surface area of these materials, the more smoke they can absorb, which makes the odour more pervasive and harder to remove.

Why does the smoke smell persist?

Even after the visible smoke has cleared, the microscopic particles remain. They cling to surfaces and continuing to release the smoky odour.

This lingering effect is why smoke odour can be detected long after the initial source (like a cigarette or a fire) has been extinguished. The odour persists because those tiny particles are still present and releasing their smoky scent into the air.

Everyday habits to reduce smoke odour

Now that we understand why the smell of smoke is pervasive, it’s time to see what we can do about it. There are some everyday habits that will help you reduce the smell of smoke or cigarettes.  

Airing out your home

The first step in your odour-fighting quest is to air out your space. It’s like giving your house a much-needed breath of fresh air. Open windows, turn on the fans and let nature do its thing. This simple act dilutes the smoke particles, making the odour less intense.

Mindful ashtray management

If there’s a smoker in the house, keeping ashtrays clean is as crucial as remembering to take out the rubbish bags. An overflowing ashtray is like a scented candle for smoke smell – it just keeps on giving. Regularly emptying and washing ashtrays can significantly reduce the odour. Sounds simple, I know – but you’ll be surprised at how often people are not doing it.

A close-up of a glass ashtray brimming with extinguished cigarette butts, highlighting the importance of regular disposal and cleaning to prevent smoke odors in the home.

Smoking outside

Encouraging smoking outdoors is a game-changer. It’s like setting up a “no smoking” zone inside your home. This prevents the smoke from ever making itself comfortable in your inner sanctum.

How to use baking soda for cigarette odour absorption

Baking soda isn’t just for baking. It’s great at odours. Sprinkling it on carpets, upholstery, and even in your car can absorb the smoky scent, making your spaces smell fresher. Just let it sit for a while, then vacuum it up, and voilà!

Even though I have guests smoke on the balcony, the cigarette odour still somehow makes it inside, so I do this every time after my smoker guests leave.

Note: Make sure you have a powerful enough vacuum to suck up all the baking soda.

Side note: Make sure you’re using baking soda, not baking powder. They’re not the same thing.

How to use Scented vinegar to get rid of smoke odour

Vinegar might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of fresh scents, but it’s my secret weapon against smoke odour.

Scented vinegar is a deodorising spray that can tackle the smokiest of smells without leaving a vinegar-y after-scent. And the best part is you can easily prepare scented vinegar at home.

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Innovative tools for a smoke-free home

Battling smoke odour doesn’t mean you have to do all the heavy lifting alone. The market is teeming with innovative gadgets and solutions designed to tackle this very problem.

From high-tech air purifiers to simple yet effective natural absorbers, let’s explore the tools that can help you maintain a fresher, smoke-free home.

Air purifiers

Air purifiers capture and filter out smoke particles, odours, and other pollutants. This makes the air in your home cleaner and fresher.

  • HEPA Filters – look for air purifiers with HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters. These are incredibly effective at trapping particles as small as 0.3 microns, including smoke, dust, and pollen.
  • Activated carbon filters – some air purifiers also come with activated carbon filters, which are excellent for odour absorption. These filters chemically react with the smoke particles and neutralise them.

Odour absorbers

Sometimes, the simplest solutions can be surprisingly effective. Natural odour absorbers can quietly work in the background and soak up smoke smells without you even noticing.

A glass jar filled with small, porous activated charcoal pellets on a wooden surface, used for its natural odor-absorbing properties to freshen air from smoke odors.
  • Activated charcoal – this is a potent natural odour absorber. Place bowls of activated charcoal or use charcoal bags in areas most affected by smoke odour. Its porous nature allows it to trap smells and pollutants, leaving the air fresher.
  • Coffee Grounds – coffee grounds can also absorb unwanted odours. Place a bowl of fresh or used grounds in smoky areas. As a bonus, you’ll get a mild, pleasant coffee aroma.

Ventilation fans

Improving your home’s ventilation can significantly reduce smoke odour. Installing exhaust fans in key areas like kitchens, bathrooms, and smoking rooms can help remove smoke particles at the source. This would prevent them from spreading throughout the house.

Preventing smoke odour

Prevention is the cornerstone of maintaining a smoke-free and fresh-smelling home. You need to take proactive measures. Here are essential tips to keep your home smelling clean:

Establish a smoking policy

The most effective way to prevent smoke odour is to limit where smoking can occur:

  • Outdoor smoking – We’ve already covered this, but it merits repetition. Encourage smokers to indulge their habit outside, away from open windows and doors to prevent smoke from drifting indoors.
  • Designated areas – if possible, set up a comfortable smoking area outdoors. Equip them with seating and cover. This is obviously only viable if you live in a house.

Regular cleaning routine

Smoke particles can settle on various surfaces. They can embed odours into fabrics and materials around your home but this doesn’t mean you have to sit there are take it. Here’s what to do:

  • Fabrics – wash curtains, upholstery, and other fabric-based items regularly to remove smoke residues. Consider using odour-eliminating laundry detergents or additives.
  • Surfaces – wipe down hard surfaces, such as countertops, walls, and floors, with a mixture of water and a gentle cleaning agent to remove tar and nicotine films.
  • Air filters – replace or clean HVAC and air purifier filters regularly to ensure they effectively remove smoke particles from circulating air.
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Use odour-neutralising products

Use products specifically designed to neutralise odours. For example, you can use air fresheners that eliminate smoke odours rather than simply masking them. Natural options, like those based on essential oils, can also be effective.

Note: There are air fresheners specifically designed to eliminate cigarette odours. My cousin developed a smoking habit in university, which annoyed my uncle (an ex-smoker) to no end. Every time my cousin visited home, he used anti-tobacco air fresheners to keep the peace.

Professional cleaning

Professional cleaning services can offer deep cleaning solutions for homes with persistent smoke odours.

  • Deep carpet and upholstery cleaning – professional cleaners can use specialised equipment and methods to remove deeply embedded smoke residues from carpets, furniture, and other textiles.
  • Regular cleaning service at homehaving your home professionally cleaned on a weekly basis (or even more often) is definitely a great way to combat smoke or cigarette odours.
  • HVAC system cleaning – having your HVAC system professionally cleaned can remove smoke particles and odours trapped within the ductwork which would improve overall air quality.

FAQs

Q: Can smoke odour cause health issues?

A: Unfortunately, yes. Recent studies have revealed this to be the case. Researchers are calling it third-hand smoking.

Q: Are air purifiers effective against smoke odour?

A: They can be, but you need to make sure you’re getting the right ones. Aim for higher filtration levels and smaller-size particle capture.

Q: Can painting help eliminate smoke odour?

A: The short answer is “no”. The longer answer is that it depends on many factors, including the type of paint and who’s doing the painting. But in the end, the result will probably still be “no”.

Conclusion

Bidding farewell to smoke odour is a marathon, not a sprint. From natural remedies like baking soda and vinegar to using technology with air purifiers, your home can be fresh and clean.

Remember, the key is not just to mask the odour but to eliminate it at its source.  And, as always, if you need us, we’re never more than a phone call away.

Samyx Cleaning - Branding Consultant, Author - Atanas
Author: Atanas Dzhingarov

Hi, I’m Atanas - brand consultant and writer. I’m helping Samyx Cleaning create the best cleaning company blog on the Internet. Join us on our journey and learn how to live a cleaner, healthier, happier life in the process.