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How to get smoke smell out of a room

Updated on November 14, 2023
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.

Whether it’s from wildfire or smokers next door, the smell of smoke can linger in your home for quite some time due to its microscopic particles that cling to walls, furniture, floors and clothing. 

You need to remove the smoke from the air via ventilation and/or purification and then clean all other surfaces, from floors to all upholstery.

You can also use other methods like making a charcoal bag, washing your clothes and furnishings, and concocting bowls of vinegar and baking soda.

The microscopic particles of smoke cling to surfaces like walls, furniture, floors, and clothing, so the smell of smoke can persist for a long time. But it’s not only the adverse health effects that deter people from smoking indoors; it’s the smell it leaves behind.

Here are 14 things you can do about it right now:

1. Ventilate your room

If smoke is trapped inside your home, the gasses containing odor particles can’t escape. Open your windows and doors and turn on your AC unit (if you have one) when smoking indoors. You can also use fans to direct smoke towards your open windows to avoid smoke building up and sticking to your furnishings.

2. Wash all your upholstery

The soft furnishings and textiles in your home are like magnets for smoke particles as they are highly absorbent. They will capture and hold onto the smell if exposed to smoke, worsening over time. You can remove these odors from your upholstery and furnishings by washing or steaming them regularly. 


Make a schedule for washing your furnishings so your home always smells fresh.

3. Wash everything made of fabric

Once the smoke has dissipated from your room, it’s best practice to clean everything made from fabric. As the odor particles cling to bedding, cushions, curtains and rugs, the smoke smell will remain until these are properly cleaned.

4. Use activated charcoal

Charcoal or bamboo carbon bags are sacks filled with chunks of activated carbon. They use the same adsorption process as activated carbon filters found in air purifiers to trap smells; only air isn’t pulled through them. They are most effective when you hang them close to the odor source or blow smoke directly into them.

Here’s how to make your own:


Try and blow your smoke straight out of a window or door so that it has no chance of interacting with your room.

5. Use bowls of baking soda and/or vinegar

Vinegar and baking soda are great substitutes for detergent when it comes to cleaning your home and act as odor absorbers. All you need to do is leave bowls of vinegar and/or baking soda around your house, and the unwanted odor will dissipate.


Have your vinegar and/or baking soda mix near where the smoke smell is at its worst.

6. Dispose of the roach and ashtrays 

Even when you’ve finished smoking, and the joint has gone out, the remaining roach and ash will still emit odor. Make it part of your routine to dispose of your finished joint and ash when you’re done and pack away your weed. This will stop any other smells from being released into the air.


Invest in an airtight container to store your weed like this Honeypuff Smell Proof Jar to block any smells from escaping.

7. Use an essential oil diffuser

Diffusers release water vapor mixed with essential oils into your room, giving your space an odor that isn’t smoke. This is only to be used as a short-term solution as, unlike an air purifier, diffusers only cover smells; they do not remove odor particles from the air.

You can find air purifiers containing essential oil diffusers like the Levoit Core Mini and Levoit H128.


Check out more ways to avoid getting smells in the first place: How to Smoke Weed Inside Without Leaving a Smell

8.  Wash your clothes with one cup of vinegar

Washing your clothes will help you eliminate the smell of smoke they absorb. If thick wildfire smoke is your problem, normal washing detergent may only sometimes do the trick. If you’re struggling, add one cup of vinegar to your usual wash to help remove the odor. If the smell is powerful, you might need to wash your clothes multiple times before it disappears.

9. Clean your ceilings, walls, and other hard surfaces 

The particles in smoke don’t only stick to your clothes and curtains; they also attach to your walls, ceilings and other surfaces. Your walls and ceiling might seem clean, but tar and nicotine can stick to paintwork, so you should use vinegar, lukewarm water and 2-3 drops of soap to wipe down walls and remove any material that causes smoke odors.


Make sure you clean the right way by checking our guide on 8 Cleaning Mistakes That Will Make Your Home Smell Bad (and What To Do Instead).

10. Repaint your walls and ceilings

If wildfire smoke has done more than leave a smell and visually damaged your ceilings and walls, you may also want go to the effort of repainting. Before you start, follow the tip above and wash your surfaces thoroughly. Using a primer, especially one designed for odor, before repainting is recommended to remove any remaining odors.


For wildfire smoke, use a coat of Rust-Oleum Zinsser Odor Killing Primer before you repaint.

11. Clean your pans and dispose of burnt food

If you have an issue with smoke odors in the kitchen from burning food, throw away any burnt items quickly. This will minimize the odor particles from becoming airborne and entering the rest of your house. For the same reason, you must also wash the pots, pans, and/or utensils.

12. Change your HVAC filters

If you have a central air conditioning system, you should change your filters every 3 months. If there has been wildfire smoke in your area or smoking indoors, you will want to change it more regularly. Inspect your HVAC filters every month to see how dirty they are, as filthy filters will lose effectiveness. 

If you live in an area prone to wildfire smoke, use at least MERV 13+, as these effectively remove smoke particles before they enter your home.

13. Consider using smoke odor eliminators

Smoke odor eliminators are not cheap, especially as they only last a week or two before needing replacing, but they can be a great way of getting on top of smoke smells if nothing else in our list works. Smoke odor eliminators are cyclodextrins that cage the odor-causing chemicals inside themselves, making odor particles undetectable by the nose. 

Two top-performing odor eliminator brands are Ozium and Febreeze, but we recommend using them only in the long term as they don’t remove odor particles from the environment. 

14. Invest in an air purifier with an activated carbon filter

Introducing an air purifier is a great way to remove odor-causing particles before they become attached to surfaces in your room. Air purifiers remove odors by pulling air from your room and passing it through filters that trap harmful contaminants. As well as having a HEPA filter, you’ll need a unit containing an activated carbon filter and, if possible, the pellets vs. impregnated fabric that often doesn’t contain enough carbon to make a difference.

Compared to air fresheners or odor eliminators, they remove the odor-causing particles and trap them inside the activated carbon filter, removing them from the environment. 

Activated carbon uses a process called adsorption, where odor particles pass through the filter and become stuck to the charcoal pellets, removing them from the air.

  • When washing your pots and pans, use plenty of dish soap with hot water and let them soak before scrubbing them.
  • Don’t use coarse scrubbers or wire wool to scrub your pots, especially on nonstick pans. Abrasive brushes will further damage your cookware.
  • Check out our full guide on how to remove burnt smells from your house

Final thoughts

The critical thing to remember is that smoke odors can quickly impregnate all the surfaces in your home, from the walls to the soft furnishings. You first need to clean these surfaces of odor particles. Still, you should also look for a gadget like an air purifier to remove odor-causing particles from the air. An air purifier or HVAC with at least MERV13 filters will help to remove these particles before they can interact with your room surfaces in the first place and also keep these particles out of your lungs.


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.