Guide to Eliminating Cigarette Smoke Smells

Get rid of smoky smells and residue so you can sell your home.

Posted by Harriette Halepis | Nov 11, 2009
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The aroma of cigarette or pipe smoke will make even the loveliest home unattractive. A house that reeks of smoke is nearly impossible to ignore … and not in a good way. Whether you’re putting your home up for sale or just hate that heavy odor, getting smoke out of the house is a priority. How do you get rid of that tobacco smell? Take a look at these methods.  

Clean with Vinegar, Baking Soda, and Elbow Grease

Removing the residue caused by cigarette smoke is no easy task. Not only will you have to get rid of the tobacco smell that cigarettes leave behind, but you will also have to brighten up dingy walls, molding, and windows. Believe it or not, windows, walls, and crown molding become a shade or two darker after being exposed to cigarette smoke for a number of years.

The best way to brighten your home is to mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 2 cups of warm water, and add a dash of baking soda. Then remove all furniture from the room that you will be working on, and cover any installed rugs with plastic or fabric. Next, dip a clean rag into the vinegar mixture, and start scrubbing room by room (from top to bottom) until ceilings, windows, and walls are no longer stained and scented by cigarette smoke.

Prime and Paint

If you don’t succeed in completely getting smoke out of your house by cleaning, then your best option may be to paint each room. Fresh paint will get rid of any lingering trace of cigarette smell, though you should be careful about the colors that you choose.

Keep in mind that most home buyers do not like bright or unique colors. To stay on the safe side, make sure that you choose a neutral color such as "eggshell" or "cream." These colors will also make your home appear larger.

Apply a couple of coats of primer before painting to totally get rid of the leftover smell and residue of stale cigarette smoke.

Remove Smoke from Carpets

Clean any rugs or wall-to-wall carpeting prior to opening your home up to prospective buyers. Cleaning carpet is a bit tough, since years of smoking can really seep into carpet fibers, but it is possible.

Rent a carpet cleaning machine for the best results in getting rid of the smell of cigarettes. If you aren't sure of your shampooing abilities, then hire a qualified local carpet cleaner to handle this job.

Alternately, if you have hardwood underneath your carpets, you can rip up the carpeting completely, and refinish the wood floors. Not only will this get rid of smoke smells, but exposing beautiful hardwood flooring will also increase the value of your home.

Keep Your Home Clean and Smoke-Free

If you still smoke, don’t smoke indoors once you have finished cleaning your house. Non-smoking buyers will be able to detect the slightest smoke smell right away, which may mean that all your hard work has been for nothing. Better yet, try to quit smoking altogether, for the sake of your home sale … and of your health.

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