Cigarette smells in the house are almost harder to get rid of than smoking-addictions themselves! They can be extremely stubborn, but they're no match for us here at Expert Home Tips.
Whether you've moved into a property once owned by a smoker, managed to kick the habit yourself, or just having Mum pop over to visit, it's time to tackle those smoking smells once and for all. Learn how to get rid of cigarette odour the easy way today, with our top 14 methods.
Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in February 2018 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in December 2018.
How to hide smoke smells
Perhaps your Gran is coming over to visit, or you're hosting a posh dinner at home - you'll probably want to freshen things up a bit.
If you need to hide the smell of smoke in your house quickly and efficiently, there are several nifty techniques you can try.
1. Use a towel
This clever tip is really easy and works a treat with fresh tobacco smells.
Dampen a clean dishcloth in a bowl of vinegar, wring it out thoroughly, then wave it around in the area where the smoking smells are worst.
The cloth will absorb and counteract some of the smells, leaving the room smelling neutral and clean.
2. Remove all signs of smoking
Even when a cigarette is no longer lit, it will still make the environment smell stale and smoky.
The quickest way to get rid of smoking smells? Remove ashtrays and cigarette butts from the room. Dispose of them in the outdoor bin to immediately make your room smell fresher.
3. Open windows & doors
The key to getting rid of tobacco smells? Fresh air, and lots of it.
The day your guests arrive, open all the windows and doors to give cigarette smoke a chance to escape and fully aerate your room. It should help freshen up soft furnishings too.
4. Air freshener
Air fresheners aren't able to remove smoking smells, but they will help mask them whilst your guests are over.
Even better, get an air freshener that periodically sprays a perfumed scent into your room to keep it smelling fresh all day long.
You seriously have to check this one out...
5. Bread hack
Another quick and easy way to eliminate fresh tobacco smells that are still hanging in the air is using bread.
Saturate a piece of bread with white vinegar and place in a bowl in the smelly room. It will absorb and neutralise the odours to leave your home smelling clean.
6. Burn incense & light candles
We love any excuse to get the incense and candles burning here at Expert Home Tips.
Not only will they make your room look lovely, but scented candles and incense will help mask the smell of tobacco too.
How to get rid of smoke smells
If you've moved into a property that still has lingering smoky smells or managed to kick your habit for good, you'll need tougher methods.
Smoking smells build up over time, and can be stubborn to remove. Here's what we recommend trying to get rid of them once and for all.
7. Deep clean hard-surfaces
This doesn't mean a quick wipe down with soapy water.
If you really want to tackle smoke smells, you'll need to put in some elbow grease and use pretty powerful products.
We recommend an ammonia-based cleaner or white vinegar. Both of these will really help to lift engrained smells and give your surfaces the deep clean they need.
8. Freshen up soft-furnishings
One of our favourite tips of all time is using bicarbonate of soda to freshen soft furnishings.
It's so easy, and the results really are amazing.
TRY IT: sprinkle bicarbonate of soda onto rugs, sofas etc. Leave for 30 minutes, then vacuum off.
Ahhh - freshness at last!
9. Deep-clean linen
Linen is the worst for absorbing those nasty smoking smells.
If you're serious about getting your house smelling great, you'll want to wash all your household linen. This includes bed linen as well as pillow covers, curtains and throws.
Wash what you can at home on the highest temperature materials will allow with a strong, quality detergent. Take the rest to the launderettes to get it smelling brand new again.
Want the secret to fresh-air for life?
10. Filter the air
Prepared to spend a bit of money?
Air purifiers can be extremely effective at removing old tobacco smells. Best of all, once they've done their job, you'll be able to use them to improve the quality of your air forevermore.
11. Wash the walls
It's amazing how deep smoking smells can get - even your walls will absorb them. To really banish cigarette odour for good, even your walls will need to be washed.
The recommend wall-cleaner is something called TSP (trisodium phosphate). Mix 1 cup TSP with 20 cups water and spray onto walls before wiping with a cloth.
REMEMBER: always use rubber gloves when using harsh chemicals.
If you've moved into a new home or managed to kick your habit, why don't you treat yourself to a fresh lick of paint?
Not only will it make your home look fresh, but smell so too!
12. Steam clean the carpet
Have you been meaning to use that steam cleaner you bought on a whim for ages?
Now's your chance! Steam cleaning your carpet is a sure-fire way to removing tobacco odours and make your home smell much nicer.
13. Air out the furniture
It's amazing what a bit of fresh air can do.
If you've moved into a furnished property previously occupied by a smoker, furniture too will need to be treated to remove smoking smells.
One of the easiest and most effective solutions is simply getting your furniture outside and giving it a chance to 'breathe'.
Just make sure you do it on a dry day!
You probably haven't even considered this one...
14. Replace light bulbs
Believe it or not, smoke can even take its toll on light bulbs and other fixtures.
Not only should these be cleaned thoroughly, but preferably, replaced. Several reports suggest that heat attracts smoke residue, which then collects as a coating on the bulb.
Do you have any clever ways of elminating smoking smells? We'd love to hear about them in the comments below.
worst advice ever. I spent a lot of time and money wiping down the room with TSP and it did absolutely nothing to remove the smoke smell which permeates the walls- but it did make a big mess requiring repainting. i will be buying kilz paint after wasting two weekends with the advice here.
Hi Sandra. Did you follow all the advice in the article? It might be that another step helps, other than the TCP. We're sorry this didn't work for you. We would definitely recommend repainting anyway to help keep the smells away!
TSP works great at removing nicotine from walls. I'm a smoker and use it. It's disgusting to see the cloth after you wipe the walls. Think it's a great way to remove old nicotine smells!
That's great to hear! Thanks for sharing your experience using TSP.
I can't believe that my apartment complex went smoke-free! 3 years of smoking and it stinks! I've brought numerous odor cleaners. The only one that kind of works is a carpet freshener. I can't move because i can afford this place. I've tried quitting but, it is HARD!!!! I've gotten written up once. 2 more times will have me in tenants court. I signed the new lease. So I can't use the grandfather's clause. I am trying to quit, but, I am nervous at the same time. Anybody have a suggestion for me?
Hi there! We have a whole article about how to stop smoking - hopefully it'll help you. You can read it here: https://experthometips.com/how-to-stop-smoking-quit-cigarettes-nicotine-addiction
I dont smoke in the house. But I smoke outside and it seems after windows have been shut all night in the morning my place smells like stale smoke. From my clothes I imagine. Any advice there?
Unfortunately, it can be really hard to mask smoke smells on clothing without washing them. Chances are the smell is also coming from your hair and skin. The best way to get rid of the smell would be to wash your clothes and have a shower after every cigarette, but that's just not practical. You could wear outer clothing whenever you have a cigarette so that your clothing underneath is not affected. Covering your hair with a hood could also help reduce the smell attached to your hair. Try to keep outerwear in one room, by the back door so that the smell doesn't spread around the house. The best methods for masking the scent would be to use odour eliminators such as room and body sprays. Orange oil is also particularly good for masking the smell of smoke. Hope this helps!
Where can you buy TSP? Would you find it in Lowe’s or Home Depot?
Hi Susan! We'd suggest buying it online through a retailer like Amazon.
What is TSP and how it can be used for removing smoke smells?
Hi Neetu. TSP is also known as trisodium phosphate. To use, mix 1 cup TSP with 20 cups water and spray onto walls before wiping with a cloth.
Canadian tie , home hardware, Walmart, Zehrs, Home Depot, Lowe’s, every where sells tsp....are you serious!,,,
Hi there, Di. We're based in the UK, so an online retailer is the best place for us to get it. Thanks for sharing your knowledge of international stores!
How can I get rid of smoke smell from an xbox my son bought second hand
Hi Gail! First things first, you'll want to unplug the device, preferably for 24 hours before you begin cleaning. If you're able to remove the plastic housing (free from any electronics) then do so. Be sure to keep the screws safe in a small plastic bag. You might want to take photos to remind yourself how to put it back together again. Wipe the plastic housing thoroughly using a general purpose cleaning spray, water, and kitchen towels. Don't reassemble until the plastic housing is completely dry. To remove odour from the electronic components, you'll need to air them out as much as possible. You could leave it outside (preferably undercover) if the weather permits. Fresh air will get rid of the worst of the smell. Alternatively, leave it in a smoke-free room with the windows open. You can also use a can of compressed air to dislodge any dust and debris that may have also absorbed some of the smell. Hopefully, this helps! Electronics can be tricky to clean.
Tried TSP and coffee grounds. Worked like a charm
Thanks for sharing, Alexa.
Hello, I inherited many framed photographs from a friend who smoked in their house. The frames reek of cigarette smoke. The pictures and the frames are priceless to me as my friend has died. How do I clean these? Thank you!
Hi Kristina! Airing them outside for a little while would be your best option, if it is dry enough to do so. You can even place them on a windowsill with the window open. The fresh air will remove a lot of the smell.
Can you use TSP on the carpet?
Hi Angela! You can, but we'd always suggest you do a patch test in a hidden area first.
I'm unable to wipe down the walls due to being disabled and when I moved into my house I signed a lease with a "no smoking clause". Unfortunately I have been smoking now for a few years. Anyone have any ideas? Like if I were just use TSP on the carpet as well as basically all the other ideas posted here except cleaning the walls might that get rid of the smell? Thanks much for all the great ideas 😇 Lisa
Hi Lisa! All of the steps are optional and will have varying effects. I'm sure that you can achieve great results, even if you skip this step.
An ionizer is the answer Amazon has them for under 80$ Trust me.
That's a good idea, Alicia!
PVC bed, smells awful when you’ve got your nose to it, I’ve fabreezed it so many times, it’s new but given to me, I just wanna throw it?
Hi Lucy! Have you tried scrubbing it down with any cleaning products? As it is something you sleep on, I might be tempted to get rid! It can't be great for your health to be breathing in smoke residue every night.
Fabric conditioner works well as a household cleaner - if the smell is ingrained in a leather sofa or woodwork like doors ,frames and skirting boards , use the fabric conditioner like any other cleaning agent,with a microfibre cloth. It does work on those surfaces.
Interesting tip, Julie!
I’ve found that washing soda is good for getting the brown stains off paintwork and hard surfaces (also for prepping before repainting instead of sugar soap and much cheaper!). It can remove brown tobacco marks from clothing and curtains too - soak, lightly rub then machine wash. I’m in the UK, as well.
It is effective at removing tough stains from surfaces and clothing, but it can be harsh on some surfaces, so it's essential to test it first and wear gloves when using it.
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