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How to get rid of cigarette smoke smell in your house

By
Updated on January 24, 2024
Written by
Teddy Booth
Teddy joined HouseFresh in 2019 as a senior content producer, producing written content as well as product photography and YouTube videos. He supports Danny as a product tester and is our lead how-to writer.
TL;DR

You can remove these smells from your room in several ways. The most effective way is running an air purifier with an activated carbon filter. These filters will pull in air and trap pollutants, removing them from your environment.

Other methods include ventilating your room, washing the fabrics affected and using natural odor neutralizers like baking soda and white wine vinegar or synthetic odor neutralizers like Febreze.

Smoking used to be as common as having a coffee. Now that we’re more aware of the dangers of tobacco, it has become a lot less common. But it’s not only the adverse health effects that deter people from smoking indoors; it’s the smell it leaves behind as the toxic particles in cigarette smoke cling to the surfaces in your home.

Even if you don’t smoke yourself, the smell of cigarette smoke can drift from outside, from a neighbor and/or from another room in the house.

I’m not here to tell you to quit or promote a feud with your neighbors; I am here to give you my top tips on getting the smell of cigarette smoke out of your room so that you and your family can enjoy a fresh, clean, odor-free home.

1. Open your windows and doors

When smells attack, you need ventilation STAT. The easiest way of removing smells from your home is to open your windows and doors to let the odor out and the fresh air in. This won’t help if the smell comes from a source outside, but if you smoke inside, try to direct your exhale out of an open window or door.

2. Use baking soda and/or white wine vinegar

Sodium bicarbonate, as well as being an excellent alternative for cleaning and oral hygiene products, is a natural odor-absorber. Instead of masking smells, baking soda eliminates them by neutralizing the acidic odor molecules.

Sprinkle baking soda liberally around your room, covering your furniture, floors and surfaces and leave until the smell has dissipated. You can also leave bowls of baking soda around your home for several days to absorb any remaining odors.

White wine vinegar is also a natural odor neutralizer. You can use it to wipe down your fixtures, furnishings, walls and floors to remove smoke smells from your room. As with baking soda, you can leave bowls of white wine vinegar around your home, changing them every few days if the smell persists.

Tip

If you can’t stand the smell of white wine vinegar, add a little lavender oil to the mix for a more fragrant odor.

3. Wash anything made from fabric

Smoke particles from cigarettes are very attracted to fabric; they stick to it like magnets. These odors will remain on your cushions, clothes, carpets, curtains and bedding for a long time if left unchecked. Simply throw all these items in the washing machine using regular detergent or (if instructed) have them dry-cleaned.

Tip

Add white wine vinegar to your wash if regular detergent doesn’t remove the smell.

4. Wash your walls

In the days before smoking bans, bars that allowed smoking had a yellow/brown tint on the walls due to the nicotine and tar from cigarette smoke. If cigarette smoke has ever been inside your house, wipe down the walls with lukewarm water, 2-3 drops of soap and half a cup of vinegar.

5. Use odor-eliminating spray

If you need to get rid of odors fast, try using an odor-eliminating spray around your room(s). Most brands like Febreze or Zep use chemicals that connect with odor molecules to absorb them and fragrances that make the space smell fresh. All you need to do is spray liberally around the affected room for instant odor masking.

Tip

Odor-eliminating sprays are a short-term solution, so it’s best to use another of our tips to remove smells permanently.

6. Make or buy a charcoal bag

Charcoal bags use the same adsorption process as activated carbon filters in air purifiers. They are material bags filled with chunks of activated charcoal with odors that come into contact with it. It’s best to have a charcoal bag close to the source of the odor to maximize its effectiveness.

Tip

You don’t have to buy a charcoal bag to remove smoke smells. Learn how to make your own in our guide: Do Charcoal Bag Air Purifiers Work?

7. Dispose of butts and ashtrays

Smoke smells will linger on your finished cigarette and the ash from the burnt tobacco. Make sure to dispose of cigarette butts and empty your ashtray immediately after you’ve finished smoking. Doing this will minimize the chance of odors escaping and sticking to your surfaces.

8. Use an oil diffuser

There are a few different ways oil diffusers work. 

  • Ultrasonic diffusers create electronic waves to disperse oils into the air
  • Vaporative diffusers use a fan
  • Nebulizing diffusers use a high-pressure air stream
  • Heat diffusers use…heat.

Whichever you go for, they all release fragrant oils into the air in your room that cover up the smell of cigarette smoke.

Tip

Some air purifiers, like the Levoit Core Mini, have built-in oil diffusers: two birds, one stone.

9. Light a candle or incense stick

I don’t need to explain how candles and incense sticks work. These are both great ways of creating new, long-lasting smells that will disguise the smell of cigarettes.

10. Buy an air purifier with an activated carbon filter

Air purifiers are specifically designed to remove pollutants from the air in your home. Using a fan, they extract airborne pollen, dust, dander bacteria and viruses by pulling them through HEPA filters. Most air purifiers also include activated carbon filters engineered to eliminate odors and VOCs from your air.

Activated carbon filters use adsorption, where gas molecules pass through them and become attached to the charcoal pellets they contain. This includes odors produced from cigarette smoke. 

Take a deeper look into adsorption with our guide on How Does an Activated Carbon Filter Work? 


The best air purifiers for cigarette smoke

We don’t just provide handy guides about removing smoke smells here at HouseFresh; we also test and review products to keep your home…fresh. Introducing an air purifier is the most effective way of removing cigarette smoke smells from your room.

But, it has to be the right air purifier for the job.

We’ve bought and reviewed many air purifiers and put them through their paces with our performance tests.

Using our test results, I have picked the best units for removing cigarette smoke because of their cleaning performance, filters they use, size and budget.

👑 BEST OVERALL💰 FOR TIGHT BUDGETS🛋️ FOR LARGE SPACES
Alen BreatheSmart FlexLevoit Core 300SEverestAir
AIR CLEANING SPEED ⚡34 minutes40 minutes13 minutes
CADR 👩‍🔬225 CFM (Smoke:  191 / Pollen: 245 / Dust: 209)141 CFM (240 m³)360 CFM (612 m3/h)
FILTER TECHNOLOGY 💨H13 HEPA with an option for activated charcoal (Fresh, Odorcell and Heavy Smoke options available)3-Stage H13 True HEPA Filtration with Activated Carbon3-Stage Filtration (Pre-filter, H13 HEPA and activated carbon)
MAX ROOM SIZE 📏Up to 700 sq. ft.Up to 219 sq. ft.558 sq. ft.
WEIGHT ⚖️15 lbs (6.8 kg)5.95 lbs (2.7 kg)20.7 lbs (9.38 kg))
OUR REVIEW 🔍Alen BreatheSmart Flex ReviewLevoit Core 300 reviewLevoit EverestAir review
PRICE 💵$249.99$99.99$769.00

Tip

If you need more options, check out what we think are the best air purifiers for cigarette smoke.

Final thoughts

The smells caused by smoking can plague your home long after you’ve extinguished your cigarette. Even when the smoke clears, the microscopic molecules it produces can stick to clothes, bedding, carpets, curtains and other fabrics in your home.

The most effective way to resolve this issue is to introduce an air purifier with a packed activated carbon filter to your room. Other methods include washing your fabrics, including clothes, curtains and carpets or using baking soda and/or white wine vinegar to neutralize odors.

One or a combination of these tips will remove these nasty cigarette smells from your room.

SOURCES

Last update on 2024-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the author

Teddy Booth

Teddy joined HouseFresh in 2019 as a senior content producer, producing written content as well as product photography and YouTube videos. He supports Danny as a product tester and is our lead how-to writer.