The Best Ways to Get Rid of Smoke Smells

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With these tried-and-true methods, you can get rid of smokey scents from furniture, books, clothes, and other items.

Cigarette smoke may cling tenaciously to items and even the walls, floors, and ceilings of a home that was previously home to a habitual smoker. As a cigarette smolders, it emits smoke molecules encased in minute particles of oil and tar that cling tenaciously wherever they land. Smoky traces of a culinary mishap might linger even after the burnt food has been removed.

A commercial air freshener can efficiently treat mild cases of stale smoke, but these sprays just hide the stench, rather than absorbing or neutralizing it. (Note: While the chemical components in these items are typically harmless for you and your pets, they are toxic to birds.

After the freshener Wears off, the smell of objects that have been continually exposed to smoke for years is certain to reappear.

There is, thankfully, all-natural hope for your nasty things! You may need to try a few different ways here, but if you have patience, you should be able to substantially minimize, if not completely eradicate, the residual smoke smell.

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Get Rid Of Smoke Smells

Air it out

Don’t underestimate the power of plain old-fashioned fresh air! If the interior of your home smells smoky, open all the windows and position a portable fan or two in front of the larger ones, with the blades blowing outward, to remove the smoky air. If feasible, keep this up for the entire day. Set smoke-damaged furniture, books, and clothing outside in the sun for a few hours—UV rays can also help neutralize smells. However, direct sunshine can harm or fade delicate or colored materials, so if it’s really bright and hot outside, air that smoke-plagued antique shawl or embroidered cushion in a dark location.

Baking Soda

Sodium bicarbonate is a particularly efficient deodorizer since it absorbs odors rather than masking them. Here are a few examples of how you may put it to use:

To get rid of smoke in a room or automobile, fill several small bowls with baking soda and place them around the area. Allow the baking soda to sit for at least 24 hours.
Sprinkle a thin coating of baking soda over rugs or carpets, allow it to sit overnight or for at least two hours, and then vacuum.
Sprinkle a light layer of baking powder over a stinky couch or plush chair and let it for at least two hours before vacuuming vigorously with an upholstery attachment.

pour one-half cup of baking soda into a big plastic garbage bag, add the smoke-damaged objects, and tie the bag shut for books, tiny décor pieces, and clothes that aren’t easily washed. Allow it to sit for at least eight hours before removing your things and dirting or shaking off the powder.


White vinegar is another harmless home essential that acts to neutralize smells such as smoke rather than merely masking them. Its low pH “attacks” the higher-pH smoke molecules, causing them to change just enough to decrease their odor. Don’t worry, the vinegar’s disagreeable odor will naturally diminish after it dries or is removed.

To eliminate the odor of smoking in a room or vehicle, fill several small bowls with white vinegar, place them about the area, and let them sit overnight.

To expedite the process, bring a pot of vinegar to a boil and let it slowly simmer for an hour or two. As the steam wafts through the air, it aids in the removal of the smoke odor.

Smoke-tainted machine-washable clothes can be washed with a half cup of white vinegar instead of your regular detergent since the acidic vinegar can help break down the gross molecules. Laundry detergent, which leans toward the alkaline end of the pH scale, like cigarette smoke, will not properly eliminate the odor.


Charcoal’s carbon molecules chemically “trap” odors, removing them from the air. While grilled briquettes can be used in a pinch, activated charcoal has been processed for improved porosity and absorption power (and, as an added benefit, has not been treated with flammable chemicals). Most home improvement stores sell a variety of activated charcoal products, which are often packed in tiny cloth or burlap bags and branded as smoke or odor eliminators.

Set or hang several activated charcoal bags about a smoky room or automobile to absorb smells, or set the bags on top of smoke-damaged furniture or carpets. However, do not place unbagged activated charcoal directly on fabric—it may discolor.


Steam cleaning is especially successful on smoky walls, floors, and upholstery because the heat dissolves the solidified tar and oils that encapsulate the smoke molecules, making them simple to remove with a microfiber cloth or sponge. Many home improvement stores have out these devices for around $25 per hour. Just softly spray surfaces with the heated vapor, keeping the steam cleaner’s head moving at all times to prevent saturating any one area—oversaturating with steam may harm delicate materials like silk and even melt walls.


Ammonia is a tough cleaning chemical that may be used to clean most hard surfaces, but take caution! Allow no ammonia to come into contact with bleach, and keep your home properly cared (open all the windows!) when needing it. When working with ammonia, it is also a good idea to use protective glasses. Follow the instructions carefully, and avoid putting ammonia on polished or sealed surfaces such as floors or cupboards.


Install a dehumidifier to dry out your home and prevent bacteria and germs from growing in an otherwise damp atmosphere.

Get Help

Contact a specialist if the previous techniques fail or if the smoke damage is serious. Many cleaning businesses specialize in smoke remediation, treating walls, floors, and upholstery needing stronger chemicals and cleaners than the general public can buy and are educated in how to use them safely and efficiently. Find a smoke cleanup professional needing a website like Yelp, or ask your local home improvement store for recommendations.

The Best Ways to Get Rid of Smoke Smells Bottom Line

Smoke smells might make you feel nauseated or give you migraines, as well as an overall sensation of dissatisfaction from the continual smoke irritant. Smoke enters houses, and the persistent stench is caused by small microscopic particles that adhere to walls, furniture, floors, clothing, and other surfaces inside your home. Removing the odor of smoke may be a tough task that requires time, effort, and money.

To eliminate smoke odor from a home, scented candles and perfumed sprays are frequently utilized. Most of the time, these treatments only temporarily cover the stench. Ventilation can assist to eliminate part of the stink, but it just dilutes the stench and does not completely eradicate it. To permanently eliminate the odor, the cause of the problem needs to be addressed. Because smoke particles tend to sneak into the smallest crevices and places, they need to be eliminated by cleaning. This implies that even after thoroughly cleaning your home, residual scents may remain.

The only method to assure that the fragrance does not persist is to eliminate all sources of scents. To eliminate the smoke molecules that are left behind and produce the stench, you may need to rent an ozone generator or pay an expert to utilize an ozone generator. The usage of an ozone generator necessitates a temporary evacuation from the residence, and rental costs might run into hundreds of dollars. If you want to run the equipment yourself, make sure you adhere to the safety recommendations that come with the rental machine.

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