Best Way Get Rid of Cig Smell.

Updated on January 10, 2012
R.B. asks from Decorah, IA
14 answers

My husband and I both are quitting smoking. ( We did it cold turkey and so far we are doing good! ) I need to go through and wash all of our laundry and everything that can be washed or washed down ( furniture, walls etc) to rid the smell. But what is the best way to get the smell out of "house"?

I dont want to just cover up the smell with cleaners. Its suppose to be nice today (45) and I can open the windows for a bit. I do have bowls of baking soda in each room and changing them e/o day.

What else can I do.. or has worked for you?


** Is there a way with out repainting? I wouldn't mind in my bedroom... that has needed it for a while lol. But my living room and kitchen were both painted not even a year ago.

There is no carpeting in our house at all. Other than the living room and bathroom and 1/2 the kitchen, the rest of the walls are plaster in the house. will that make a difference?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers


answers from Columbia on

Paint. Smoke will stay in the walls unless you prime with Killz (an awesome sealant), air out, and then repaint.

Congrats on quitting!

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Oklahoma City on

I bought some odor stuff at Walmart that was awesome. It was a small pump bottle, shaped like Windex not hair spray, it took out urine smells, pet smells, cigarette, cigar, pipe, etc...they have several options too.

I think my sister would cut apples and put them in drawers to draw out the musty and smoke smells when she did antiques. They should be empty I

The curtains, picture frames, TV screens, windows, dining room chairs, etc...all those things that live in the house with you that you don't really touch are covered with a fine brown substance that is tobacco debris. They need to be cleaned so they don't put off an odor.

The first time I went and cleaned my FIL's house I went to clean the glass on the pictures in the hallway and his certificates from living at the North Pole for a year and my rag was brown on the first one alone. Each and every one of them had to have their own paper towels after I realized the rag was too dirty to wash out. Even the fan blades on the ceiling fans had to be taken down and "rinsed" off with soapy water.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Congrats on quitting!! That is AWESOME! I would buy an air purifier along with the repainting and hopefully that would suck up the smell of both of them.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on


The poluttants in the cigarette smoke settle on everything. That's why it will smell until you wash them off or paint over them. OR you can just wait it out and the smell will eventually go away. If you smoked in your car, have the car detailed. That will take away most of the smoke smell, but the chemicals in the duct work will have to just fade away.

Don't forget to replace the airfilters in your home and vehicles.

Good luck to you and yours.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Fantastic! Both you and your husband are smart people to quit and I wish you the best as you start a smoke-free life. You'll be around to see your kids grow up.

I went through this with both our own house, which a smoker had owned previously, and with my mom's house, which I had to prepare for sale after she died. (Of a lung-related disorder brought on by years of smoking.) You're right to start with clothes and walls and furniture but basic cleaning won't be enough. Yes, do keep windows open every day you can, as long as you can, even if it's chilly. But baking soda only does so much to absorb odors.

As others have noted, cigarette odors are extremely difficult to get rid of. I second those who say you must have all the curtains dry cleaned or wash them (it may take more than one wash or cleaning or you may need to buy new ones).

Get the upholstery of your chairs and couches cleaned too; you might be able to rent a machine or hire someone to do that. (Just spraying "Febreze" on fabrics will not work more than a few days! Go for real, professional "wet" cleaning because the scent is way down in the foam core of the furniture, not just in the fabric upholstery.)

Wash all the windows on the inside because it's on the glass, believe me.

Do a steam cleaning on your wooden or tile or laminated floors (you can rent floor cleaners at many supermarkets for a pretty small fee).

You can wash down all the walls and ceilings -- yes, think of the ceilings; the smoke rises and it's clinging to them. But I would strongly advise washing and then repainting. If you can't afford a huge repainting job, wash every room but then go back and repaint the room or rooms where you smoked the most often.

Do launder everything -- and I do mean everything, the bedspreads, etc. too. But also go into the drawers and wipe them down inside well.

Don't forget the bathrooms. You may even find that the grout in your bathroom is yellowed. Ours was, because the smoke gets into the white grout and yellows it. So it's holding smells as well as looking bad. Consider grout cleaners or those "pens" that clean and whiten grout.

If your house has more than one level, be sure to clean the stairwell walls. Why? If you smoke on a lower level, the smoke is rising to the highest place, so it goes right up the stairwell like it's a chimney--every single day. When we got our house and scrubbed down the basement, the off-white walls of the stairwell from the basement to the main floor looked a little dingy -- but when we washed them, they ran a dark brown, sticky goo that stank of cigarettes. So be sure to get the stairwells cleaned well.

This is a huge job and I hope it does not daunt you or make you give up. Having the cigarette smell out of the house will help your lungs and nose open up and you will find you smell things so much better and regain the lost sense of smell many smokers suffer without realizing it! In the brief time my mother wasn't smoking, she regained her sense of smell in a big way, so she could taste food fully again; and her skin went from gray and ashen to pinker and fuller.

You CAN do this cleaning job--put on some great music or a beloved movie in the background and make it fun. It's for life. Take care of yourselves and be sure to reward yourselves well when it's done. It will be well worth the money spent on paint or cleaning machine rentals.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Wipe the walls with a damp rag.


Replace the snuggy/blanket you used as a cover while watching tv.

Then give it a few months. Most of the smell will go away, but you may need to replace the worst smelling of the furniture. If it's really bad - it just doesn't go away. But give it some time first. Just do what you can do, and it'll get better. (from an ex-smoker and son of a smoker)

BTW - congrats! Just focus on today - can you make it today without a cig. Don't worry about smoking tomorrow. It'll take care of itself. :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Don't forget to wash curtains and wipe down shades.
Particles from the smoke coat surfaces.
If you are removing the particles from surfaces, the cleaners are not covering up a smell so much as they are removing the source.
Washing walls, ceiling, carpeting and floors will help to remove the smell.
Use a wood polish on cabinets, furniture and paneling.
It can take some time but the smell will go away eventually.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You can try rock salt. I know one of our grocery stores sells it in big bags. Rock salt absorbs odors. The people who owned the house before us had animals and the rock salt absorbs odors. Do you have carpets or area rugs? Carpets absorb smoke like crazy. I recommend getting them cleaned by someone like ZeroRez. You don't want to use anyone who uses soaps and shampoos. The solvents in it will just make it worse.

I totally agree with others, wash the walls and paint. Get your ducts and vents cleaned can really help. Ducts hold on to so many things. Get your furniture upholstery cleaned. (Again, steam cleaned.) Or replace it. Don't get anything dry cleaned for the smoke. (drapes, comforters, etc.) The chemicals will make it really worse. Replace ALL your pillows. Get a good air purifier.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Good for you! When my mom quit smoking she literally washed every wall down with vinegar and water and then repainted what she could. There were nicotine stains on the walls and around the pictures, it was pretty gross, so be prepared!

You could probably rent a steam cleaner to get carpets and large pieces of furniture and throw everything you can in the wash with some vinegar.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Huntsville on

Congrats on quitting! That is awesome!! :)

Along with things other people mentioned, you could try getting an air freshener for your air conditioner filter. I got one of these for our last apartment because it had an odd smell lol

I found mine at Home Depot or Lowe's, and there were several fragrances to choose from. You might have to use more than one at a time. I used one for our small apartment & it did fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

This is the reason why we never smoked inside the house.

Washing down all the walls and hard furniture is a good start, but if you smoked inside your house, you are pretty much stuck with the smell for a good long time.

What you should be worried about is your textiles - drapes, curtains, blankets, CLOTHING.

That smoke is embedded in everything you own. Now that you've quit and you don't have fresh cigarette smoke clogging your "smellability" you will notice that all your clean clothes stink.

My neighbor (who smokes like a chimney in her house) left her coat here just before Christmas. I washed it, and it still stunk like smoke. I washed it 4 more times. It still stunk like smoke. I then hung it outside for 3 days. It still stunk. It is hanging on my front porch as we speak and the smell it still stinks.

This neighbor also gave me cookies this Christmas season. I couldn't eat them because they smelled and tasted like an ashtray.

Smokers don't realize that the smoke they pump into their homes gets into EVERYTHING.

If you have a piano, you will smell it every time you play.

If you have books, you will smell it every time you open one.

Congratulations on quitting cold turkey. That is how I did it and I much preferred it to the crazy-dream-inducing-Chantix my husband used.

Stay strong!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

Congrats on quitting! Sorry I don't have any advice that hasn't already been said............BUT OMG............. 45 is a nice day to open windows?!?!?! LOL I am a true Floridian and that is un imaginable to me. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lexington on

Congrats! I've suggested the Himalayan salt rock lamps on here before when it comes to smells. Our previous home was over 150 years old and had that musty old house smell....I tried everything and couldn't get rid of it. Someone suggested the rock lamp and within a week the smell was completely gone. The rocks dont emit any type of smell, but rather suck up all the yucky smells. Plus, the glow of the lighted rocks is really pretty =o )

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Congratulations!! It's a hard time to quit cold turkey!!

In order to rid of the smoke smell in the house - air it out - and paint. Wash the walls down prior to painting.

Taking the drapes, bedding, etc. out and cleaning those will help as well. If you have carpeting instead of hard wood floors? Rent a steam cleaner - or hire a professional to come in and clean the carpets.

Wiping down the cupboards in the kitchen as well. It's not an easy project but it is do-able!


1 mom found this helpful
For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions