April
April
  • Hometalker
  • Lawrenceville, GA
Asked on Dec 5, 2011

No offense to those who smoke...

Janepher McBridePglJoan P
+30

Answered

But...
How do I get a cigarette smell/strong odor out of a room in a more natural way without the use of chemical products? We've already tried leaving the windows open all day but to no avail...
30 answers
  • April, Cigarette smell is hard to fight especially because it tends to be absorbed into the materials of the room. So it is not just the air int he room but the things in the room as well. I would suggest you takes things made from fabric and wash thoroughly. Have your tried incense sticks?.I would light a some sweet smelling organic candles and oil infused incense for a while in the room closed for a couple hours. Please make sure the candles are placed correctly away from any fire hazard. I would also leave cinnamon scented pot pourrie you get this time of the year in couple of corners bunched up in a basket or tray. This will take a while but it will get better. Sometimes a fresh coat of paint after the previous surface has been primed will be a good solution.

  • April
    on Dec 5, 2011

    Thanks so much for your suggestions and getting my gears working, Yamini! That's right and I'm finding that out the hard way I guess. It's one of the byproducts the painters left behind, aside from the other problems. They had been smoking outside. I haven't tried incense yet. However, It hasn't been long since they painted so maybe getting it repainted will hopefully do the trick. Candles and potpourri is an interesting idea, too! I think the flame alone eats up odors if I'm not mistaken? Seems like I remember hearing about that somewhere.

  • Donna McCrummen
    on Dec 5, 2011

    Paint. Quality primer. Yamini is right - it's not the air. Your upholstered furniture could be a problem too.

  • April
    on Dec 5, 2011

    Thanks, Donna! We'll have to use the Mythic primers and repaint I guess, and vacuum and clean thoroughly, too.

  • April, I use Camphor sometime to get rid of bad odors in my house. The smell is really strong but I didn't suggest since you may not be used to it.If you are interested go to an Indian store and ask for Champhor, i am sure you wont ahve trouble finding one in NJ. You can burn one small cube and light it with a candle, camphor will burn for about a min or so but the fragrance will stay for a while. You can then bring in the pot pourrie ans stuff later. Make sure you burn the camphor on a metal plate. Also burn one out first before you bring into the room, just so you know what it will smell like in the room.

  • April
    on Dec 5, 2011

    Thanks again, Yamani! Sounds like some pretty potent stuff!

  • Natalie W
    on Dec 5, 2011

    Essential oils are also a great way to help, naturally. But have to be used properly. You can diffuse them in an oil warmer, as well as add them to natural cleaning solutions. If you can wash the fabrics, furniture, etc like Yamini mentioned, you can then go over them with essential oils in a water based solution ... just always test anything on fabrics first, so you don't end up with spots, etc. Essential oils are not "oily", so will not leave oil marks. Good deodorizing essential oils are lemon, lemon grass, bergamot, and mandarin. It's a good idea to seek a professional aromatherapist on how to use essential oils, as they also have health benefits ...I've used them for many years.

  • April
    on Dec 5, 2011

    Wow thanks Natalie for the information! That sounds like a good solution too. :)

  • Nope it's not potent April, i use it in my home everyday, it gives out a very fragrant smell. I just wanted you to make sure you like the smell before you brought it indoors.

  • April
    on Dec 5, 2011

    Oh, sorry for the confusion. I didn't mean potent as in strong but rather potent meaning that it sounds like it works well. That's a good idea. As I do have chemical sensitivities to some smells.

  • Patsy W
    on Dec 5, 2011

    Try placing bowls of vinegar around the room...a great odor absorber.

  • Ozone will remove the odor also. That is why fresh air works as it has some very little amounts of ozone in it. There are contractors who bring in Ozone units just for odor removal. If the whole house has this it may be worth considering. However everyone must leave for at least 24 hours. This includes plants, pets, and anything that requires air to breath and survive. The place these machines in various locations in the house and turn them on. The super high dose of ozone that these machines create will destroy the odors. It will also kill any bugs and possible mold that you may have hidden elsewhere in the home. Once done they return air out the house with fans and when you return a few hours later your home smells as though laundry does when it comes in from the line after drying. The other way to remove the smells. Is to remove the offending residue that causes the smell in the first place. Walls, ceilings and all soft goods must be removed or washed. All walls and ceilings need to be sealed with a good quality sealing primer to encapsulate what was not removed by washing. Carpets may be able to be cleaned. But doubtful that they will be successful with that. All furniture needs to be cleaned. Remove all drawers and clean all around them as well. Removal of smoke odor is very difficult to do. Every time the home gets damp the odor will return. Using chemicals to mask the odor does little other then to put more chemicals in the air we breath. Air delivery systems need to be cleaned. If you have ducts that are insulated from the inside, they will need to be replaced. You cannot clean insulation without destroying it, Regardless of what people say. The glass fibers will end up being released which is also harmful to breath in.

  • April
    on Dec 5, 2011

    Thanks Patsy! I've heard good things about vinegar and odor removal. Woodbridge - thank you for your very informative post! That's interesting about the ozone application. Sounds very useful in extreme and severe situations. Yes - I think that's what I've decided to do is to try to clean the areas first and then use Mythic's primer, all the while keeping everyone's suggestions in mind. It's the weirdest thing... It's only in the bedroom, hallway and bathroom near where the painters had been. It sure smells like cigarette smoke or some sort of strong odor that I can definately tell is not paint. It's very hard to describe. I know at least one of them went outside for a smoke, so I'm guessing he must've tracked it in.

  • When one is sensitive to smoke odors it does not take that much to smell it. I have a neighbor who is not allowed to smoke in his home. And on some nights when its cold out. Even with our windows closed I can smell it. He lives three houses away! So I can understand why its strange that you smell it in the rooms that he was in. The nose knows.

  • April
    on Dec 6, 2011

    Exactly! Oh wow, that sounds like how sensitive I am. I can't smell any strong perfumes, detergent, cigarette smoke, or any paints with VOC's with them or I will get a real hum dinger of a headache and my eyes start burning. I'm sorry to hear that it bugs you in that way too. Thanks for understanding, though! :) We're going to try to clean it tonight starting with vacuuming and see if it goes away. Already have the paint and primer as the next step.

  • April
    on Dec 6, 2011

    Just a small update: We've vacuumed everything (and i do mean just about everything, right down to the walls!) and the odor is even more prevalent. It's gotten worse. So we'll have to try more of these suggestions from you guys and to get the room repainted, as well as to see if it's coming from all over the room or one area of it. All I know is it's the strongest in my room and the adjoining hallway.

  • The nicotine is what is causing the odor. Using a vacuum to clean it up does nothing as you realized. Reason that the odor got worse it that the vacuum discharge is blowing the air out that has been warmed up by the motor. This aggravates the odor which makes it appear much stronger. Any soft goods, carpet, drapes, clothing that is exposed to smoke will need to be cleaned. in real bad cases you need to wash several times to rid the odor out of the material. Before you even attempt to prime and paint, you need to wash the walls down with TSP to remove as much of the nicotine as you can. Then prime using a good sealing primer. Ideally oil base. As water base can bleed through as it softens the left over oily surface left behind by the smoke.

  • April
    on Dec 6, 2011

    Thanks for the info, Woodbridge! We're thinking it may be embedded in the carpet, as we've done the sniff test to everything else and it doesn't smell. We're thinking of renting a steamer and run it along the floor, as I can't take the smell from a chemical cleaner. Do you think that would be a good idea?

  • Patsy W
    on Dec 6, 2011

    Wow, you must be really sensitive, bless your heart! One more remedy to try is "Odoban" sold at Home Depot. It is a freshener. Sounds like it might be time to call in a professional, like someone that cleans up after fire damage. Can you sue the painting co in small claims court [or Peoples Court!]? Wish you the best!

  • It will take several cleanings. If this odor was absorbed into the padding. The carpet will end up having to go. You could try a professional cleaner that will warranty against the odor after cleaning. They do have professional cleaners that will remove this odor.

  • April
    on Dec 6, 2011

    Yep, I sure am. Just call me a walking ball of sensitive. LOL! Thanks for the suggestion! Yeah, it could be. Hopefully whatever we do try will get rid of it. It's a really hard to describe odor. It does smell smokey, but also like cologne too. It's sort've a sweet yet nauseous smell. I could deal with the room being painted sloppily, as that can be easily fixed; but the smell really bums me out. As I really need to tend to Holiday things, than mess with a stinky room. LOL. Thanks for the well wishes, though! It makes me feel better to know there's so many caring and understanding folks at Hometalk. :)

  • April
    on Dec 6, 2011

    Good advice, Woodbridge - thank you! We're thinking it might've been from the drop cloth or something. Since I'm very sensitive to chemicals, do you think just steam would help remove it? As for the carpet possibly having to go if all else fails - might be just as well as we've been considering replacing it for awhile now.

  • I think your money would be better spent replacing the carpet and padding. Perhaps even putting down a hardwood floor if no exists there now. Steam may only bring the smell out worse. Which is what I think happened when they painted. The new paint added additional moisture into the air releasing the odors as the higher room humidity hit it. But check with the local carpet cleaning people. And ask if they will warrant against odors returning. If not the carpet would need to go.

  • April
    on Dec 7, 2011

    Thanks for your input, Woodbridge! Yeah, there is some damage in the carpet anyway, so we've already been considering replacing it even before this happened. Thanks for the warning about steam and the additional tips. An update: We've been discussing it and we think we may have found the culprit. Since we've done the "Sniff" test on everything, we've concluded that it has to be coming from the carpet. And we're thinking it must be from the dropcloths they laid down. They were extremely dirty. We've sprinkled some baking soda onto the floor and we're going to let it sit for several hours and vacuum it up - just in case it is not smoke but something else from their drop cloths. If that doesn't work we'll have to consider bigger options like you all have suggested.

  • April
    on Dec 8, 2011

    Another Update: We've sprinkled baking soda on the floor and let it sit overnight. We vacuumed it this evening, and by the grace of God the smell has calmed down at least twenty-five to fifty percent. I'm sure this is going to take multiple runs, but I think it's working. We're thinking it's the drop cloths they had that did it - because now that the smell is fading some we can kind of tell key spots in where it's still lingering - such as the closet and close to the walls where they were probably standng. Anyway, just thought I'd keep you all updated. Thanks for the help. Stay tuned. :)

  • Peggy M
    on Jan 10, 2012

    April if possible wash the walls and ceiling with Mr. Clean. Or Hot Vinegar water with dish soap. Carpets you can put Vinegar in a shampooer to do the carpets. I use Money House Blessing to spray carpets

  • April
    on Jan 10, 2012

    Peggy - Thanks for your advice! I've heard of how vinegar works wonders. We thankfully found a cure for it though - using a few applications of baking soda. We're still unsure if it was smoke or something from their tarps. But I'm praising God that it's gone now.

  • Joan P
    on Jan 9, 2014

    Try Odorban at Homedepot it will get rid of the smell it's 10.00 for a gal. you can dilute it with water or as is. Not only does it get rid of the smell it kills germs 99.99% Good Luck!!

  • Pgl
    on Jun 7, 2015

    Find some charcoal briquettes place in bowls in each corner , cigarette smoke leaves an oil on the walls,1/4 dawn to 3/4 vinegar clean walls [ yes you will need to rinse but it is worth it] get rid of the carpet and clean the floors with the same mixture. Use vinegar and water to clean windows[ they keep the smell too] get rid of any curtains or blinds or shades. I quit smoking and did the whole house this way you will see yellow greasy streaks as you clean that is the tar and nicotine.

    • April
      on Jun 7, 2015

      Thanks for your suggestions! Thankfully it didn't get to the walls, as they were only here for a few hours. And after several attempts with baking soda, it finally went away. Praise God. And congratulations on quitting smoking! :)

  • Janepher McBride
    on Jun 7, 2015

    I had a smoker living in my basement, when he left I placed "Air Sponges" from the hardware store. They work miracles, almost overnight the smell disappeared. I swear by them and have suggested them to my friends.

    • April
      on Jun 8, 2015

      Thanks for the suggestion! I don't think I've heard of those before. I'll have to keep that in mind! :) Thankfully after many times of baking soda on the carpet, it finally went away. Praise God.

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