How to get rid of cigarette smell in house?

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Can anyone help me with how to get rid of the cigarette smell in my house? We moved into a beautiful home that had everything we were looking for. I (mistakenly) did not pay much attention to the fact that the previous owners were smokers. I am not terribly sensitive to the smell of cigarette smoke when I come across it casually, but living in a home with cigarette smell everywhere is a different story  ! I am finding that when I go out people tell me that I stink of cigarettes and I have never smoked in my life! Apparently it is getting in my clothes and all of our furniture. Yuck! I hope there are no medical repercussions or I will sue their pants off  ! People should not be allowed to smoke anywhere. Eventually, it harms all the rest of us.

Now I am on a mission to rid the house of the smell, but I haven't the faintest idea how. HELP?!

  8 answers
  • MARY MARY on Nov 26, 2018

    You need to wash the ceilings and walls, the hardware store has something for this. Way all surfaces then paint. There's also an air cleaner machine for smoke you can rent and put in the house for a few days.

    • Laura Laura on Nov 26, 2018

      Mary, this sounds like a lot of work, but at least I know there's hope! Do you happen to know what that machine is called? Is that something I should use before or after painting? Thanks for your help!

  • You need to wash every surface...I would consider having a company that cleans after a house fire to come in and do it for you. I would also rip out the carpeting, and if there is wallpaper, it needs to be removed. After, I would repaint with Kilz paint as a primer. Good luck, Laura!

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    • I would completely remove the wallpaper from the walls. The original Kilz primer will block any smoke smell left. I really think your best bet is a fire restoration company. They have the expertise to eliminate smoke odors. Give one a call!

  • Barbara C Barbara C on Nov 26, 2018

    You will need to repaint all the ceilings and walls as smoke is everywhere. Replace Carpet, drapes, fabric sofas,anything that holds the smell.If this smell was there before you bought the house, you have no case.Buyer Beware is a true slogan.A restoration Co.( like after a fire), might be able to help somewhat.

    • Laura Laura on Nov 26, 2018

      Barbara, we moved in with all our own furniture. It is starting to smell, but since the furniture was not present when the people were in the house smoking, do you think it would be enough to have it cleaned?

      I know I have no case but I am beating myself up over this  . I should never have fallen in love with a home without thinking about it more critically. "Buyer beware" is right!

  • Barbara C Barbara C on Nov 26, 2018

    Your furniture should be ok with a good cleaning, But if you leave it in the house before restoration, it will get the smell again.

  • Lynn Sorrell Lynn Sorrell on Nov 26, 2018

    Try Activated charcoal(must be Activated) in lrg aluminum baking tins, 2-3" in bottom of pans spread around house 1 each room 2 in big rooms To remove nicotine staining you'll need to clean with TSP. Also try straight white vinegar in hot water. Or Bleach with little Dawn dish in hot water(use mask) if you have carpet it needs removed.Don't forget your ventilation systems,furnace,AC(buy activated charcoal filters),bathrooms exhausts stove/microwave,buy new filters regularly and try to clean them out inside too,put small pans or make sachets of charcoal & put in vents . I lived with someone who smoked 2 packs a day for 20 yrs. Horribly destructive,disgusting,expensive habit in many ways. Well as far as buyer beware after settling in realized my house was infested with scorpions, so I think i'd settle for washing everything. You can buy bulk activated charcoal online https://envirosupply.net/shop/activated-carbon.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIwuLTj73y3gIV_yCtBh1_yg9HEAAYAiAAEgLprfD_BwE

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    • Lynn Sorrell Lynn Sorrell on Nov 27, 2018

      Well in house 6yrs later still have them quite a bit outside & garage but none in house & laundry. We co-habitate, everything has a purpose. You can use bleach it will remove yellow and smoke smell. TSP info. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/cleaning-with-tsp-trisodium-phosphate/ Also using this product on furniture will help(originally formulated for crime scene clean-ups) with smell https://www.bonanza.com/listings/Pet-Odor-Remover-Stinkers-Odor-Remover-Kills-Odors-Fast-Forever/361143373?goog_pla=1&gpid=76984043821&keyword=&goog_pla=1&pos=1o5&ad_type=pla&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI-v3l2rTQ3gIVFNVkCh3hrwoeEAQYBSABEgJ1kvD_BwE ALSO buy furnace/AC whole house activated charcoal filter replacements they are expensive but would help tremendously. KILZ &/or ZINSSER(cheaper) on walls after clean then paint. I worked one summer doing fire restoration clean-up and these things are some of the ones we used. you can use the "Stinkers"product in carpet cleaner for carpets. It's expensive too and I have not seen it available where you have to mix it yourself undiluted any longer because it's now sold to the pet industry for cat pee big $ maker. You should go to local Janitorial supply house to get products you can do this all yourself & still have the house you love. Some products won't be able to be bought with out license but they will have others that will initially be high cost but you'll get alot more & stronger so they'll work the first time you do it all. If you have attic put pan or 2 of the activated charcoal up there too. You can buy the activated charcoal in bulk online.

  • Too late now, but I would have built in the restoration costs into your bid. Now you know better. You have excellent suggestions here. Every single surface needs to be washed and / or repainted. Wallpaper removed and no, it is never advisable to paint over wallpaper. All your clothes need to be removed and cleaned (and quarentined) as well as any upholstered furniture. Wood and painted furniture needs to be wiped down too. Curtains, drapes all need to be cleaned or replaced. I would rip out the carpets, clean then install new. You can wash the walls yourself with a vinegar water solution or TSP. If it were me, I would hire a fire restoration company and professional upholstery cleaners. Essentially you will be moving out of your house, clean and put everything back. So sorry.

    • Laura Laura on Nov 27, 2018

      Thank you Naomie for the candid and thorough advice. Lesson learned (the hard way). Hopefully others will see this post and it will help prevent them from making the same mistake.

  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Nov 26, 2018

    When you repaint, make sure that you use something like kilz to keep the odor from coming back out of the walls. Vinegar gets rid of cat urine odor in carpet, perhaps that will help with your upholstered furniture, just make sure to check an inconspicuous spot to make sure it is safe to use on the fabric. Make sure that you get enough on the fabric to soak in. When you start washing your clothes, try putting vinegar into the softener dispenser to help eliminate the odor. I have used it on linens and things that were boxed up for a while before being used and it took the odor out of them. I have a son whos clothes are always stinky and the vinegar takes it out, as well as the Tide sport that I use. Clothes that you don't really frequently, you can clean them up and put them in the space bags that you suck down with the vacuum hose, they even have ones for hanging clothes. That will keep them smelling clean until you use them again. I hope a couple of these suggestions will help you some with the tobacco smell!

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    • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Nov 27, 2018

      I use the regular plain white vinegar. I have a quart spray bottle full in my kitchen at all times. I have found that Tide Sport with Febreeze really does a good job on those stinky clothes. The vinegar in the softener tray gives it a boost, and also helps with the white streaks I use to get on black heavier clothes from soap foam that doesn't always get rinsed out in the folds of the dark heavier clothes. I have a top load HE machine and never had the streaks until I replaced my machine with the one I have now (it was also a top load HE machine of the same brand and style, but with more perks). I hope you can get rid of the smoke odor, Make sure you repaint your closets and clean the doors and shelves and floor really well so that your clothes quit smelling. Myself, I would do the closets first so the clothes don't keep collecting the smell so bad. I would then go onto the soft things like drapes, upholstery and such, it may help. Don't tackle too much at once, that way you know you will get it done well and quicker than taking on large projects.