A friend of ours recently bought a house in which the previous homeowner was an avid smoker… meaning their new house reeks of cigarette smoke. The smoke smell was so severe that she and her husband actually got a great deal on the property. They loved the price but they definitely do not love the looming smell of smoke, especially since these newlyweds have a baby on the way. Before they move into their new place, they want to make sure they remove the disgusting smell and create a space that is safe for their growing family.
How do I remove smoke odor from my new house?
Here are the tips that they vowed worked best for them:
1. Air out the place
Seems obvious, right? Open the windows and air out the home as much as you can. This alone won’t take out the looming odor, but it’s a great start. You can also put bowls of vinegar around the home to neutralize the smell of the smoke. Another option is to boil citrus to help neutralize some of the smells as well. These steps won’t eliminate the problem, but together they are a great start.
2. Remove Carpet
The odors left behind from cigarette smoke are stuck in fabrics such as carpet. Removing carpet from the property will help remove that looming residue and odor. If removing the carpet is not an option, the next best option is to get the carpet professionally cleaned… possibly more than once. There are carpet cleaners that specialize in this process, so when you’re researching companies make sure you ask what services they offer in this department!
3. Remove any Curtains or Fabric left behind
Just like carpet, smoke odors attach to fabrics such as curtains, furniture fabric, or even fabric blinds. Remove these items left behind from the previous owners and replace them with new items.
4. Clean EVERYTHING
Literally, clean e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g before moving in. Using bleach + water or vinegar + water (depending on the surface), make sure you clean every surface in the house. All cabinets (inside and out), appliances, woodwork, floors, closets, walls, light fixtures, windows …. literally everything needs to be cleaned. The more you repeat this process, the more subdued the odor will become.
Paint as many of the surfaces/walls as you can in order to reduce the odor that may be lingering on the walls. Like we mentioned in #4, it’s important to first wash the walls thoroughly before painting. After the walls are clean and dry, use primer with Kilz in it. This product is designed for projects just like this!
6. Clean Duct Work & Change Filters
If possible, cleaning or having the duct work cleaned professionally will help remove the smoke residue and will eliminate further smoke being circulated around the house. Also, make sure you change all of the filters and continually check them to change them more often for the first few months of living in this space.
7. Keep Cleaning
Removing these odors is going to be an on-going process. Maintaining a frequent cleaning schedule in your new place will help combat any odors that were not removed initially. Other tricks to help eliminate the last lingering odors include:
- Run an air purifier consistently
- Let bowls of vinegar infused with essential oils sit out to trap odors
- Continue to air out the space by opening windows consistently
- Add indoor plants to your space
- Vacuum often & clean out the vacuum just as often
- Be patient and know that although removing the odor seems to be a never-ending challenge, all of your proactive steps are making a difference. Stay patient and keep up the great work!