How To Get Smoke Smell Out Of Your House: A Complete Guide

20 tips on eliminating smoke odors, featuring diy deep clean methods.

There’s a lot of reasons you’d need to get smoke smell out of the house. Burnt toast, cigarette smoke, or an unfortunate house fire… whatever your reason, no one likes a smoky house, and we’re here to help you get rid of that smoke smell that won’t quit.

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As a general rule of thumb, increasing ventilation, enhancing natural light and decreasing humidity can help with house smells, including smoke. Depending on how irritating the smell is, a full-on, deep cleaning could be on the horizon for your house. Go through our following guide thoroughly and we hope it helps you come out on the other side with an odor-free home. It’s full of smell neutralizing tips and suggestions to clean items you may have overlooked that could be harboring lingering smoke smells.

  • Air out your house by opening all of the windows and doors and let the sunshine in, which can help kill germs and bacteria. (Plus, it’s good for morale!)
  • Turn on all the fans, even the exhaust fans in the bathrooms and kitchen. Get some cross-ventilation going by sticking box fans in your windows — facing out! — to recirculate your home’s air and replace that smoke smell with a fresh, outdoor breeze.
  • Sweep, mop, vacuum, repeat. And don’t stop vacuuming at the carpet — vacuum everything! The rugs, curtains, furniture (under the cushions and under the furniture), floors. And double-check to be sure your vacuum’s filter is clean between sessions. Then sprinkle baking soda all over the carpet, leave it there overnight and vacuum it up the next morning. You can do the same thing with upholstered furniture.
  • Meet your best friend, ammonia. Ammonia is a hardcore cleaning agent and you can use it to wipe down most hard surfaces, but be careful! Don’t let ammonia get anywhere near bleach and make sure your house is well ventilated (open all the windows!) while using it. It might be wise to wear protective eyewear, as well, when using ammonia. Follow directions carefully, and be wary of using ammonia on finished or sealed surfaces, like floorboards or cabinets.
  • Steam clean your carpets or hire a service to do so. Smoke smell removal is a serious business.
  • Clean all glass and mirrors with a mixture of vinegar and warm water and then rinse with clean water. These hard surfaces hold onto a surprising amount of tar and soot from the smoke. If your DIY cleaning solution leaves your glass streaky, finish them off with a once-over with some basic glass cleaner.
  • Spray smokey smelling rooms with Febreze Air for a quick burst of freshness and to eliminate lingering odors.
  • Set out bowls of activated charcoal throughout your house, which will absorb the smoky odor. Alternatively, try setting out bowls of kitty litter, baking soda, or coffee grinds which may also help absorb lingering smells.
  • Set up a dehumidifier, which will dry out your home and discourage bacteria and germs from breeding in an otherwise humid environment.
  • Simmer vinegar or some lemon peels in water on your stove for twenty minutes or so to neutralize the surrounding air, sort of like a natural potpourri.
  • Deep clean upholstered furniture by washing all removable covers in the laundry, scrubbing out smoke smells with baking soda. Baking soda is odorless but absorbs other odors — making it the perfect deodorizer. Sprinkle and let it sit, soaking up the smoke smell — and other odors — for at least 20 minutes, then vacuum. Have leather furniture? No problem. Leather can be wiped with a mixture of vinegar and water, but be careful not to oversaturate the fabric.
  • Lightly mist any hard-to-wash fabric items with your favorite scent of Febreze Fabric Spray to eliminate unsavory odors.
  • Wash the walls — and ceilings! — with vinegar. Oh, also your kitchen cabinets. And countertops. Might be time to invest in a good ladder. Don’t rinse the vinegar off, let it dry completely. If your walls still stink, sorry to say, it’s probably time to repaint.
  • Mop finished floors with Swiffer WetJet Mops, which will save you the trouble of having to haul out buckets of water and detergent. Just make sure to sweep first. The wet mopping cloths are also disposable, so just toss them when you’re done.
  • For further deodorizing, you can whip up a little cocktail of vinegar and baking soda to spray on fabrics such as curtains and carpets. Don’t be afraid to add a pinch of apple cider vinegar to your laundry detergent when washing bedding, linens, duvets, slipcovers, or towels.
  • Try changing the air filters in your home’s heating and cooling systems to maximize the airflow and circulation. Particles containing smoke odor can easily get trapped there.
  • Invest in an air purifier, which — bonus — doesn’t only help get rid of smoke odors, but helps kill bacteria and fungi in the air. Or, perhaps, save on your energy bill and get yourself some air-purifying plants.
  • Purchase an essential oil diffuser, scented candle, or Febreze PLUGS and place strategically throughout your house. Bonus: Febreze doesn’t just mask the odor, it eliminates it.
  • Empty all ashtrays and stop smoking in the house, if that’s your thing. Take it outside to the porch and backyard, where there’s less opportunity for absorbent material to gobble up your exhalations. Try keeping your clothes, which carry smoke smell, in a covered laundry basket, and wash your clothes frequently.
  • And for the love of your upholstered furniture, be mindful while cooking and remember to set timers (and crack kitchen windows when frying food!) if you’re easily distracted.

There you have it. Whether you’re trying to get cigarette smell out of your apartment, attempting to get rid of burnt food smell, or dealing with something more severe, like smoke damage, these tips should help you breathe a little better.

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