Lee’s Notes: I have a listing currently that has a very strong smell of smoke. So I did a little digging to make some recommendations to my client. Figured i would share with all of you as well. Article stolen from here.
Ex-smokers and non-smokers alike will understand the necessity of getting rid of smoke smells and smoke odors. Whether the smell of smoke is in your home or in your car, you know it’s one of the worst odors imaginable. Cigarette smoke isn’t a quaint smell like a wood furnace or a fireplace; it gets into everything: your carpets, your walls, your sheets, your clothes, your jackets, even in your hand bags. I think we’ve all known or have heard about that one aunt who smokes like a chimney and no one wants to visit her because her house smells like death—and now, thanks to her habit, she’s dead and it’s up to you to deodorize her house before your family puts it on the market. Or perhaps it’s up to you to get the smoke odor out of the ’89 Buick Century she managed to drive only on church days or when she ran out of smokes. Well, hopefully the suggestions below will help you get the smell of cigarette smoke out of whatever it is you need to get it out of.
There’s something about vinegar that gets rid of smoke smell. Because the smell of smoke is caused by the leftover resins and tars, vinegar (an acid that cuts through resin and tar) is a great way to clean those surfaces that aren’t made of fabric, and perhaps, some that are fabric. I know what you’re thinking; vinegar doesn’t smell much better than smoke. Well, that’s true, but the smell of vinegar eventually diminishes, cigarette smoke doesn’t.
Smoke Smell and Odor Removal Products
Don’t be fooled by the claims of odor removal products. If it doesn’t have a cleaning agent in it, you’re not going to get rid of the smoke smell. Scent-generating deodorizers only serve to mask the smell. Once you take them out of the house, you’ll notice the smell of old cigarettes again. Of course, we’ve all heard of Febreze, and wonder why it works. Well, Febreze uses a chemical compound called cyclodextrin that has been used in household and custodial cleaning products for quite some time. The sugar-like substance doesn’t necessarily “clean” the odors out, but acts as an absorbent like baking soda or charcoal, to help soak the odor out. Yes, Febreze does work, but let’s be honest with ourselves. Spraying everything down with Febreze isn’t the answer to years and years of built up cigarette tars and resins. There is one thing I would suggest in an odor removal product and that is activated charcoal. Charcoal is used not only to filter water and other things, but is also used to soak up odors, just like baking soda. If you see charcoal in an odor removing product, it’s likely to succeed at removing odors.
More Smoke Smell Removal
Washing the walls and ceilings is a good idea if nothing else has worked. Try mixing up one gallon of warm water, one half cup of ammonia, one quarter cup of vinegar, and one quarter cup of washing soda. Work your way up from the baseboards to the ceiling while you clean, making sure to change the solution often.
An ozone generator will, apparently, get rid of any odor you can think of if it’s left on long enough in a closed house/apartment. I don’t know about the specifics of this procedure, but if you’re getting desperate it might be worth a shot. I can’t take any responsibility for what this might do to your home or your health. Just be sure to air out the home thoroughly after doing this because ozone is bad for your lungs.
Natural cleaners and odor removing products are a good idea. I don’t know about you, but I care about my environment. So, if you want to get rid of that smoke odor in an eco-friendly manner, I would suggest using some of the cleaning products found in the organic and natural foods section of your local grocery store. Often times these products work just as well as the brand name chemicals.