How to Get Smoke Smell Out of House (15 Methods)

How to Get Smoke Smell Out of House (15 Methods)

FAQs About Smoke Smells

It depends on how frequently and for how long somebody smoked in a certain area. If they smoked for years and never aired out a room, it can take a very long time. However, in general, after smoking a cigarette and quickly airing the room, it should only take a few hours for the smoke smell to dissipate. In more serious cases, it can take a few days for the smoke smell to disperse.

If you need to remove the smoke smell quickly, we definitely recommend airing out your house. Open all doors and windows and let the smell escape naturally. An ozone generator is also a good idea. You can set it to a timer and let it do the work while you’re out of the house.

Professionals tend to recommend ozone generators for extreme cases. However, airing out a room naturally is also a very popular and successful method.

Febreze Air actually works to eliminate odors rather than just masking them. It uses a chemical compound called cyclodextrin, which absorbs odors (2). However, it’s also scented so that it will leave behind a pleasant scent. Unfortunately, though, if you have extreme smoke smells, it may not work. Spraying Febreze may actually mix together with the smell of smoke and create a new unpleasant scent.

How Volcanic Rocks Work

  • absorb moisture and odors
  • natural, non-toxic and environmentally friendly
  • place them in discreet places i.e.: under beds, sofas, etc
  • recharge by placing them in the sun

Crazy, right? We started using them last fall, only putting them out in the sun twice and when we returned to our lake cottage this spring, there was absolutely no evidence of odor thanks to these volcanic rocks! They are a truly effective smoke odor eliminator.

I’m still blown away. Who knew it could be so easy?

Volcanic rock is the easiest way to get rid of smoke smell in a house and it works for other odors, too!


4. Lay Out Bowls of Coffee Grounds

Don't throw your coffee grounds away after you brew your cup of joe. They have many alternative uses. In this case, you can use them to remove bad odors like smoke smells from your home.

  1. Allow the coffee grounds to dry.
  2. Place them in small bowls or containers.
  3. Pace them in problem areas around the house or in your car.
  4. Leave them overnight.
  5. Remove or replace if the smell is still there.

Coffee grounds, like baking soda and charcoal, can absorb odors from your room. The strong smell of coffee also helps overpower any lingering smells. If you don't want your house or car to smell like coffee, then go with baking soda, which has no odor.

Vanilla extract can get rid of smoke smells and other bad odors, leaving the area with a nice, sweet aroma.

2. Absorb the smoke

Place small bowls of vinegar around the rental unit. Similarly, fill bowls with kitty litter and baking soda to help absorb the odor. If you’re willing to go one step further, grab some powdered activated charcoal from your local pet store or health food store. As one of the best odor neutralizers, activated charcoal is also very affordable. Leave small bowls of activated charcoal around the suite for a few days, and they should slowly start to lift the smells.

If you happen to own an air purifier, make sure to leave them on as well. With the powerful HEPA (High-efficiency particulate arrestance) filtering system as well as activated carbon filters, air purifiers are able to absorb vast majority of the surface chemicals and odor.

Removing cigarette smell from your clothing

Even if you go outside to smoke, you’re bound to bring a cigarette smell back inside with you, unless you remove it immediately from clothes and shoes. If you don’t wash your clothing after each use, your closet will also smell like cigarettes. These solutions can help:

Machine or hand-wash with baking soda

  • Wash your clothing in regular detergent with a cup of baking soda added. Let it line dry if possible. If one washing isn’t enough to eliminate the odor, wash as many times as needed prior to drying in a machine. Dryers can bake the smell in, making it harder to remove.
  • You can add baking soda to soapy water to hand wash delicate items.

Use dryer sheets

If you need to remove cigarette smell from your clothing in a pinch, rubbing a dryer sheet on each entire garment you have on will help. Don’t forget hats, scarves, gloves, shoes, or boots.

Try a deodorizing spray

Spraying your clothing with an air freshener made for fabric, or with a spray-on antiperspirant, is another way to remove cigarette odor from clothing. This hack may be overpowering, however, given that you need to spray the entire garment in order to get results.

Mask the odor

Essential oil sprays won’t absorb thirdhand smoke smell, but certain scents may be effective at masking it to some degree. These include orange, grapefruit, eucalyptus, and lavender.

Don’t put undiluted essential oils directly on your skin.

6. Refresh Cabinets and Upholstery

Cigarette smoke can certainly find its way into cabinets with doors and cloth furniture, so you should definitely go over the remaining furniture inside the suite.

Sprinkle baking soda over upholstery in your rental unit such as sofas and beds. Tap it into the fabric gently and let it sit overnight. Use a vacuum to suck it up the next day. Alternatively, you may wet a lint-free rag with white vinegar and rub down your fabric furniture to get rid of the smoke odor. For cabinets and drawers, you can use the same method to wipe down the surfaces, spray the inside with a light white vinegar mist, and leave the doors open to air dry the inside.

How to wash walls to get rid of smoke smell

Although many homeowners swear by using an ammonia mixture to remove smoke smells, there are natural alternatives to harsh chemicals that you can try first. According to Fiona, "A less harsh but also effective method is to mix a good Castile soap with water and essential oils of your choice, and then scrub the walls with a microfiber cloth." 

Tip: You can also make a mixture using ½ cup baking soda, ¼ cup white vinegar, and hot water. This will also help remove any stains on the walls that may be contributing to bad odors. Follow these steps to clean the walls, including making sure the sponge or cloth you're using is just barely damp, not soaking wet, to reduce drips on the wall.


Dale Anderson from The High Seas on August 20, 2020:

Hey this was good because now maybe we can smoke our cigars inside the house! Going outside to smoke is OK but not much fun here in the middle of summer in Phoenix, Arizona USA.

Bert Gruder on March 12, 2020:

Clean indoor air is critical – especially for those who are susceptible to respiratory ailments, colds, viruses, and bacteria. Compare the various types of air purification systems and the operating cost. l

Tremaine Bell on November 03, 2019:

I’m 14 and one of my biggest insecurities is smelling like smoke / cigarettes. My mom has been an Big smoker from before i was born and i’m finally getting close to convincing her to stop smoking cigarettes but to more of a vape. i still need help on getting the smoke smell off of my household. it’s become soo much of a thing that the smell clings to our family name and only ONE person smokes . it’s sunken into our clothes , tables , carpet , tables , our everything. Any help or suggestions will be great ??

Delcee M on June 11, 2019:

LOL on the weed smoke

Janis on April 19, 2019:

I use an air filter, I scrub with ammonia, my walls are horrible. Look upon ANRF @ 2nd hand marijuana smoke and how many chemicals are in that!

A on April 13, 2019:

Does this work for weed smoke

Anita on January 09, 2019:

I use to be a housekeeper at a hotel and if the room smelled from smoke or even animals they had us use an ionizer and it pulled all the air out of the room and took care of the problem with any smell. You set the timer plug it in and leave the house until the time is up about 30 min. When you go nack into the house immediately the windows because it pulles all of the oxygen out of the air. By opening up the windows you let oxygen back into the air. Make sure you leave the windows open at least 30 min before you your kids and your pets go back in the house to be safe.

Lisa on October 04, 2018:

As a Metastatic Breast Cancer + Lung Cancer patient AND 25yr-current smoker yes, still, hell the damage was done why would i quit? Why & what reason do i have to QuIt now? go thru the withdrawls(i always suffered from, BAD) while alreaxy going thru most stressful situation & chemo, radiation, sickness, PAIN? ILL PASS LOL

Im sure ill smoke until i just cannot smoke anymore like both my parent. At age 36 diagnosed Smoking did not cause my cancer!!!!! Nor my breast cancer now both metastisized, i tested positive for over 15 gene mutations, both my parents were dx w LC, my mom 1yr after me, dad, 2yrs aftsr me & their youngest child. My dad has battled 3diff cancers but LC will take him & the quickest if us 3

Concerned reader on September 29, 2018:

To anyone living in a place with smoke or working with smokers, please note that you can't get rid of smoke. You may be able to mask or become accustomed to the smell, but your health will be affected.

I lived through a terrible experience being near frequent smokers a few years ago and since cannot be near smoke without being ill (digestion issues, skin rash/sensitive skin, sore throat, coughing, chest discomfort, etc.). I had to get rid of everything I had and buy new things. I clean those things frequently. I try to avoid smoke as much as possible. When there is smoke bothering me (at a store, restaurant, park, or at home), I speak up about the issue.

The sooner you make this change, the better it is for your health. You may find yourself the odd one out as some people don't understand the risks of secondhand or third-hand smoke. Don't give up. There is no price you can put on long-term health.

Rose on September 09, 2018:

I love the way u write and think.

kim on May 03, 2018:

I just recently moved into a new apt ( 2nd floor of a 4 family ) . The landlord did a beauitful job refurbing my unit , new pain , carpet , sanded hard wood floor, polyurethane . But the downstairs tenants smoke . I cannot get rid of the smell , I cannot put anything under the bathroom sink cabinet because the smell is so strong . It coming up from the their unit

Thank you in advance ,


Laurie on April 26, 2018:

My neighbors are chain smokers. Sometimes I can smell it so much I get a headache and my eyes water. No one is moving so I need to figure out how to eliminate the smell on my end. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

Cliff Mendrez (author) from Philippines on April 09, 2018:

Hello, Vickie

Yes, just regular charcoal.

Vickie on April 09, 2018:

Do u just use regular charcoal like for a grill??

Bert Gruder on November 30, 2017:

Smoking odors cling to clothing, permeate’s wall paint and wallboard saturate upholstery, and brand’s everything it touches with an offensive odor. The Ionic Paint Additive by Air-ReNu turns any newly painted surface, into an efficient permanent air purification system. The ion, technology permanently maintains healthy indoor air quality.

Cliff Mendrez (author) from Philippines on November 21, 2017:

John Smith,

Well, that's a little tricky. Maybe you bring a small bottle of essential oil with you and apply it to your temples, hands, or any area of the body you prefer so you could smell the aroma of the oil instead of the cigarette smoke.

John Simth on November 19, 2017:

I can instantly smell cigarette residue from my work colleague after his puff outside. We work along side each other.

What can I do? Help

Ellie on April 11, 2017:

This works so good I gave a wipe on everything in the room and left a bowl of apple cider vinegar smells better so quickly

mariam on May 02, 2012:

yes, i had to go on one weeks vacation so the baking soda and vinegar worked for me

Marlyn Schwander from Fort Eustis, VA on April 02, 2012:

I definitely there has got to be something out there that works. So that way I am not constantly cleaning

Cliff Mendrez (author) from Philippines on April 01, 2012:

ramurray3, very interesting indeed. You've got to try it.

passthejelly, I couldn't agree more.

thedirtfarmer, thank you too for reading!

marlyn, I hope the apples will work for you. I have another hub coming up regarding cat urine smell. You might want to read that one. Thanks for reading!

Marlyn Schwander from Fort Eustis, VA on April 01, 2012:

I definitely need to try the apples. I wonder if the apples can eliminate pet smell as well

Jill Spencer from United States on April 01, 2012:

Good tips for eliminating lots of odors. Thanks!

passthejelly from Lakewood Colorado on April 01, 2012:

Hotels need to use this. Every time I go to one it seems to always smell like smoke.

ramurray3 from New York City on April 01, 2012:

The apple one is very interesting. Air purifier is excellent.


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