Cigarettes are not only bad for your health, but they also leave a pervasive smell that can be very difficult to remove once it seeps into the ceilings, carpets, drapes, and furniture. If you quit smoking yourself (congratulations!) or moved into a place where the former tenants were smokers, here are some steps you can take to help eliminate the smell.
Out With the Bad, In With the Good
First things first, open up all the windows and let fresh air circulate throughout the premises. It might not get rid of the smell but it will help freshen up the air while you work.
Vigorous Vinegar Scrub
While not everyone is crazy about the smell of vinegar, it is amazingly useful for the task at hand. A gallon bottle of white vinegar only costs a few bucks and helps neutralizes cigarette smell. Vinegar can also be used to remove sticky smoke residue which can be left behind by smokers. To use, fill a spray bottle with vinegar, and spray away on every surface. Then wipe everything down with lint-free towels. Vinegar can safely be used on floors, walls, blinds, doors, mirrors, windows, and sills. Don’t forget the ceilings, the prime repository of cigarette stink.
Turn off the lights and spray it on light bulbs, fixtures, and vents. (Be careful not to spray anything in electric outlets.) While your house might now stink like vinegar, it won’t smell like rancid cigarette smoke, and the vinegar smell will disappear within a few hours.
Carpets and Curtains
If your rooms have curtains or drapes, take them down and dry clean or launder them if they are machine washable. Carpets can be tougher as they tend to soak up stray smells. Consider renting a rug steam cleaner or call in the professionals for a deep cleaning.
Put On the Paint
If your rooms still smell of smoke you might want to consider repainting the walls and ceilings. If you go this far, you need to first apply an oil-based primer or sealant to surfaces. Otherwise the smell will bleed through the fresh paint.