(Last Updated On: March 24, 2023)


Smoking, the Odor it Creates and How to Get Rid of It

air filter for pet allergies from dogs

By Becky Dotson

12 min read

How to Get Rid of Cigarette Smoke in Your Living Room

Learn How to Combat the Odors of Cigarette Smoke in Your Home

air filter for pet allergies from dogs

By Becky Dotson

12 min read

Theres no denying the smell of cigarette, cigar, or pipe smoke. It has a distinct odor all its own. What’s more, the smell can stick to your clothing, hair, furniture, and walls. It seems like it sticks to everything it comes in contact with. Smokers dont always realize that smoke leaves behind an odor because theyve become so accustomed to it. But if youre a nonsmoker who is passing by it or living with it, then you understand.

Eliminate cigarette smoke

What are Some of the Negative Health Effects of Breathing Cigarette Smoke?

Aside from the smell it creates, cigarette smoke can be harmful for your health. The U.S. Surgeon General issued its first warning on the dangers of smoking in 1964. Since then, much research and study have been dedicated to understanding the harmful impact smoking has on peoples health. It can cause lung cancer, heart problems, and a host of breathing issues for the smoker. It can cause the same diseases and conditions for the nonsmoker who has prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke.

The residue left behind on surfaces by cigarettes, cigars, and pipes is called thirdhand smoke. Thirdhand smoke is a relatively new term that was first introduced in 2006. It sticks to all kinds of surfaces, including curtains, furniture, walls, carpets, bedding, clothes, and even dust. It can last for months on surfaces and for up to a year and a half on fabric after the last cigarette was smoked.

How Do I Get Rid of Cigarette Smoke in My Home?

If youre trying to get rid of the cigarette smell in your life, the best way is for the smoker to completely kick the habit. But thats not easy to do, and it takes willingness and patience, time, effort and a strong commitment, and a lot of support from loved ones.

If quitting isnt an option, the next best thing is to try ways to eliminate the lingering smoke and smell in your home and car. The first and most immediate thing that a smoker can do is to decide to only smoke outdoors. Smoking outside will allow you to rid your home and vehicles of the odor as much as possible. If smoking inside the house and the car continues, its going to make it nearly impossible to get rid of the smell and the health danger.

What Are the Quickest Ways To Get Rid of Cigarette Smoke and Odor from My Home? 

It takes a while to rid your living room of cigarette smoke, but there are a few things you can do if you want to get rid of it temporarily and quickly. 

  • If you have an air purifier, turn it on. That will help circulate fresh, clean air in the space.
  • Open the windows. Fresh air can always help rid your home of smells and odors.
  • Turn on the ceiling fans. It will help circulate the air in your space.
  • You can put out air fresheners or burn candles, but they will only mask the smell. Air fresheners or candles won’t absorb or neutralize it. 
  • Baking soda isn’t just for the refrigerator. You can put it in bowls and set them around the house for at least 24 hours. The baking soda will absorb the odor.
  • You can also sprinkle baking soda on rugs, carpets, and upholstered furniture and then vacuum it up to cut down on the odor.
  • Vinegar seems to be an all-purpose cleaning tool. You can pour white vinegar in bowls and set them around the house overnight to neutralize the smell. But don’t worry, you aren’t trading smoke for another strong smell. After a few hours, your house won’t smell like vinegar either. That distinct scent will dissipate.
  • If you want the vinegar to work quicker, you can boil a pot of vinegar on the stove for a couple of hours and let it neutralize the odor in your home.
  • You can also mix vinegar and lemon juice in a spray bottle, squirt it in the air and use it as a natural air freshener.

How Do I Clean My Living Room, Bedroom, and the Rest of My Home?

If you or your loved one has stopped smoking or youre moving into a home or an apartment where a smoker lived, youll want to deep clean as much as possible to get rid of the thirdhand smoke and odor that goes with it. It will take some time, money, and effort to eliminate your home of the smell and smoke, but it is worth the time and investment. Some of the projects may be more long-term, so prioritize based on affordability and when you want to get it all accomplished.

Here Are Some Things to Put on Your To-Do List to Get Rid of Cigarette Smoke for Good:

Buy an Air Purifier

The first thing youll want to do is invest in an air purifier. Air purifiers are designed to pull airborne particles out of the air, trap them in a filter, and send clean air back out. 

When looking for an air purifier, there are a few things to remember and consider so you can get one that is best suited for your living environment. First, youll want to make sure it fits your space. Every air purifier has a maximum square footage area it covers. If your space is larger than the maximum number, it wont work as effectively. Look for an air purifier that uses a HEPA filter. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters remove up to 99 percent of the irritants floating around in the air. It pulls in and traps dust, pollen, smoke, mold, bacteria, and several other types of particles. 

Its not enough to remove the smoke. Youll want to remove the smell, as well. Make sure the air purifier you purchase eliminates odors. Look for one with an activated carbon filter that absorbs chemicals and traps odors. But be sure to stay away from an air purifier that uses ozone to help the air smell better. Ozone naturally improves the scent of a room, but its not safe to breathe. It can cause long-term damage to your respiratory system. Ozone is only safe when used by professionals who are trained in how to use it.

Clean the Ceiling and the Walls

Cleaning the ceiling and the walls is no small undertaking, but it will be worth it. Be sure and wear gloves and clothes you dont mind throwing away so you wont cross-contaminate the area. Your ceilings and walls will need to be wiped down thoroughly. 

There is certainly a wide array of products in stores and online you can buy for cleaning and treatment, but some of the cheapest and most effective tools are things you probably already have in your pantry – vinegar and baking soda. All you have to do is mix two cups of warm water with a half cup of baking soda and a cup of white vinegar. Youll need two sponges – one to soak down with the mixture to wipe off your walls and ceiling and a clean one to wipe off the moisture.

If youre willing to take your efforts one step further – paint. You can use an odor-blocking primer first to keep stains and any remaining odor from seeping through. Youll want to put on at least two coats of paint to ensure your walls and ceilings are well covered.

Clean the Curtains and the Blinds

If your curtains are washable, add one cup of white vinegar and ¾ cup of baking soda in with your regular detergent. Wash in the hottest water setting the curtain label says it is possible. You may have to repeat this step a couple of times to rid your curtains of the smell or yellowing that smoke can leave. If possible, hang the curtains outside to dry. The fresh air will also help filter out any residual odor.

 If your curtains and drapes are dry clean only, take them to the dry cleaners. Make sure you specify that you want the smoke smell and residue out of them. You may also want to hang them outside when you get them home to let fresh air filter through the fabric.

 If you have blinds that aren’t made of wood, you can soak them in a bathtub. Use a mixture of water, all-purpose cleaner, and one cup of vinegar. Let them soak for about 15 minutes, scrub them, and hang them out to dry.

 For wood blinds, you can use the same mixture. You will have to take the blinds outside and scrub them. After you’ve washed them thoroughly and wiped them off, let them hang to dry.

Clean the Windows

The window glass and frame will have to be washed, as well. Mix half water and half vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it on the window and frame. Then, wipe it down with a cloth or a crumpled piece of newspaper. You may have to repeat the step a couple of times to ensure all the residue is gone.

Clean the Carpet and the Rugs

The carpet and the rugs may be your biggest challenge. As you might expect, smoke seeps into the fabric and pad, making it difficult to get out. You can start by sprinkling baking soda all over it and letting it sit overnight. Vacuum the carpet thoroughly. After that, you can fill a spray bottle up with a two to one water and vinegar mixture and spray a light mist on your carpet or rug and let it dry. If the smell still isn’t gone, you may want to consider calling a professional carpet cleaner. Be sure and tell them you are trying to get rid of cigarette smoke and odor so they’ll know how to treat the area properly. If a professional can’t remove the smell, it may be time for a new carpet.

Clean Cabinets, Furniture and Decor

You’ll want to wipe down everything in your living room, bedroom, and all other rooms in your house to make sure residual chemicals from the smoke are gone. You can clean them thoroughly with your standard household cleaner or use a mixture of vinegar and water to spray them down and wipe them off.

Clean the Floors

Linoleum, vinyl, and hardwood floors will also need cleaning. You can use a vinegar mixture for linoleum and vinyl to scrub the nicotine away and then re-mop with your favorite mopping product for a fresh scent.  For hardwood floors, you’ll want to use a cleaner made specifically for hardwood floors. Both Zorbx and Bona are safe and effective brands to use for hardwoods. Like your other flooring, you may want to mop a couple of times to ensure the odor and nicotine residue is gone.

Don’t Forget the Light Fixtures and Filters

The easiest thing to do is wipe down all your light fixtures with a vinegar mixture and replace your bulbs. Be sure and replace the filter for your heating and cooling system, as well.

Don’t Forget Your Car

If you smoke in the car, you’ll want to clean it, too. Follow the same recommendations for your living area and apply them to clean your vehicle.

Check Your Results

You don’t want to go to all this trouble and not find out if it was successful or not. After you are finished cleaning, leave your home for a few hours. When you return, see if you can still smell the smoke.

You’ll want to wipe down everything in your living room, bedroom, and all other rooms in your house to make sure residual chemicals from the smoke are gone. You can clean them thoroughly with your standard household cleaner or use a mixture of vinegar and water to spray them down and wipe them off.

When Do I Call In a Professional Cleaner for My Home?

If all your hard work doesnt pay off, it may be time to call in a professional. Be sure and find one that not only specializes but is also trained in smoke and odor removal. These professionals use their products to thoroughly clean and deodorize your home. Professional cleaners will sometimes follow up with ozone generators for a full deep clean if its needed.

As we mentioned above, ozone should not be emitted into a home unless its done by a professional expertly trained to use the technology. Breathing in ozone can be harmful to your health. Technicians will bring in an ozone generator, clear the house of any people or pets and turn it on. It will run for some time before its retrieved, and you will be required to stay out of your home for 48 hours or more to ensure the ozone is out of the air. The ozone will rid the air of smoke and smell and then dissipate over time when it cannot be harmful to you or your family.

How Do I Get Rid of the Smell of Cigarette Smoke on Me?

If youre a smoker, live with one or have visited a smoky place and come home smelling like it, you may want a quick fix to get rid of the odor thats on you.

Wash Your Hands

Cigarettes can make your hands and fingers smell. So, washing your hands after you smoke can help reduce the odor. If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer works too.

Wash Your Face

Just like your hands, your face will smell. Facial cleanser wipes can cut down on the odor.

Take a Shower

Sometimes the best option to get rid of the odor is to shower thoroughly, being sure to wash your hair. Smoke can get trapped in your hair and linger for hours.

If you have stopped smoking or live with someone who has recently given up the habit, youll want to refresh your closet. You cant throw all your clothes into the washer at once, but you will want to wash everything in your closet and drawers strategically. Section them out and be sure to keep the newly washed, clean clothes from the ones that still need cleaning.

Wash your clothes on the hottest setting the label allows. Add one cup of white vinegar and ¾ cup of baking soda in with your regular detergent. Run an empty cycle when done with the clothes to clean the washing machine. Dry clean the items that require it and tell the cleaners you are trying to get rid of the smoke smell.

How Do I Purify My Body?

You may want to consider ways to purifyyour lungs and the rest of your body if youve removed smoking from your life. Theres no complete way to reverse the damage from smoking or secondhand smoke exposure. But you can try living in a way that can reduce the long-term effects:

  • Try to spend more time outdoors. The fresh air will help your lung tissue expand and keep your respiratory system working correctly.
  • Try breathing exercises. Specific exercises can help improve the function of damaged lungs. You may want to speak with your healthcare provider about activities that will work well for your particular circumstances.
  • Eating a healthy diet is an essential part of staying healthy. It can help improve the effects you may suffer from smoking or long-term exposure.
  • Exercise! Getting out and active can help improve your lung capacity and heart function. Experts recommend 150 minutes a week of aerobic exercise.

Air Purifier Recommendations for Ridding Your Living Room of Cigarette Smoke 

Air purifiers are a great and nearly immediate way to clear the air in your living space. When looking for an air purifier for your home, youll want to make sure it works to eliminate smoke. Look for purifiers that use a HEPA filter but also contain an activated carbon filter. Carbon filters use a bed of activated charcoal to trap smoke that comes through the purifier. Here are our suggestions for the best purifiers to remove smoke:

Air Purifier

$1,300 Buy Now
Austin Air
Healthmate Plus
Air Purifier

$855 Buy Now
Air Purifier
6000 DXS

$1,100 Buy Now
Alen Breathesmart
75i with Carbon
Air Purifier

$769 Buy Now
Air Purifier

$900 Buy Now

Getting Rid of Cigarette Smoke

Truly getting rid of cigarette smoke from your home or car is no small task. Its a big undertaking that can take days, weeks, and even months to complete. But its undoubtedly well worth your time and effort. Thirdhand smoke – which is the surface residue left behind by cigarettes, cigars, and pipes – can cause significant health issues and stay on surfaces for months after smoking. Its important to do what you can to get it out of your living spaces and help you and your family breathe easier.