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How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Your House: 26 Simple Methods

smoke detector

Whether you’ve moved into a new home with a pervading smell of smoke, are an ex-smoker yourself, or have suffered an unfortunate house fire, the smell of smoke can be overwhelming and a real challenge to get rid of. Even a burned meal can leave a pungent smell in the area.

Smoke particles get into fabric and invade the tiniest cracks and gaps, and while air fresheners can mask the smell for a short time, they won’t permanently get rid of the stench.

Below are 26 tips to help you get rid of the smoke smell from your home.

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The 26 Methods to Get the Smoke Smell Out of Your House

1. Empty Ashtrays

Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

Smoke can and does get into all the surfaces of a house. It even gets into the wallpaper, while layers of tar and nicotine can stain hard surfaces and also lead to a smoky smell in the house. However, cleaning all of these and other surfaces will have little effect if you still have ashtrays around the house. Empty all ashtrays, including makeshift ones, and throw them away or store them out of the way.

2. Get Rid of Burned Pans

If smoking isn’t the cause of the smoky smell, it could be burned food, milk that’s caught on the bottom of the pan, or any of a host of other kitchen-based causes. Ensure all your pans, including skillets and those in the oven, are thoroughly cleaned and all remnants of burned food are removed fully. If any are beyond saving, which is rare, throw them away and invest in new kitchenware.

3. Throw the Garbage

person disposing garbage
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Once you’ve thrown away the offending items that carry the smell of smoke, you need to permanently remove them. Don’t leave them sitting in the kitchen garbage or the smell won’t dissipate. Seal the garbage bag and take it outside.

4. Stop Smoking Indoors

If you want to get rid of the smell of smoke in the home, you need to stop smoking indoors. Even if you stand in an open doorway or hang out of an open window, the smoke will blow back in and is likely causing the smell you want to get rid of. Step into the porch or take a few steps out of the door to smoke.

5. Wash All Your Clothes

man using washing machine
Image Credit: Elnur, Shutterstock

If you do smoke or have recently quit, the smoke particles from your last few cigarettes will linger on your clothing. Get the laundry and wash it. If possible, dry the clothes outdoors because the fresh air will help remove any stubborn smoke smell that remains. If the clothes in your wardrobe also have a smoky smell, you may need to wash them, too.

6. Air Out the House

Open at least one door or window at the front of the house and one at the back of the house, and try to ensure one is on the ground floor and one on the upper floor. If you can open more doors and windows, even better. Airing out the house will help remove smoke particles from all surfaces and start to shift them from fabrics and soft furnishings.

7. Place a Box Fan in the Window

Electric Box Fan
Image Credit: Michael Warwick, Shutterstock

Opening doors and windows can be effective, but you can easily improve the air circulation around your home and do an even better job. Get a simple box fan and place it in the window, pointing outwards. This will draw the air from the room and push it out of the window. If you have two fans, set another on the opposite wall from the window and direct it towards the window.

8. Turn on the Fans

Use ceiling fans and any other static fans in the home to provide yet more circulation. The key to effective airing is to move as much stale air as possible and push it outdoors. It will be replaced with fresh air and help remove the smell of smoke.

9. Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum

yellow and black vacuum cleaner on the floor
Image Credit: cottonbro, Pexels

Smoke doesn’t just hang in the air, though. Particles settle on every surface, and when it comes to carpeted floors, the smoke particles get really deep and ground in. Get the vacuum out and vacuum every carpet in every room.

When you’re finished, do it again. It will likely take a few passes to start to shift the smell in this way, but vacuuming will also help remove ash and other possible causes of the smoke smell.

10. Use a Carpet Cleaner

Vacuuming alone is unlikely to fully remove the smoke smell from your carpets. Use a carpet cleaner, ideally a steam cleaner, to get deep into the pile of the carpet. A professional steam cleaning service may provide the best results and you can have them steam clean the drapes and other fabrics in the house, too.

11. Deep Clean the Furniture

Cleaner Vacuuming a Sofa Chair
Image Credit: Jesus Arias, Pexels

Remove all removable fabric from the sofas, chairs, and other furniture. If they are machine washable, put them in the washer. Otherwise, hand wash the fabrics and let them dry. If you have leather furniture, rather than fabric, use a mixture of water and vinegar to wipe the furniture down.

12. Sprinkle Baking Soda

Baking soda doesn’t have a smell of its own, so you might be wondering why sprinkling it on the furniture and carpets will help. Baking soda is aroma free, but it absorbs other aromas, which means that it can effectively soak up the smoke smell from your room that is lingering around your fabrics.

13. Spray Fabric With Vinegar & Baking Soda

vinegar and cleaning supplies on the table
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Curtains and carpets can also be sprayed with a diluted mixture of vinegar and baking soda. The fabrics shouldn’t be soaked but give them a light misting using a spray bottle.

14. Wash the Walls and Ceilings

Smoke particles not only hide in the fabric: but they can also get into tiny cracks and small holes. The wallpaper on your walls can be harboring the smoke smell.

You can try washing with mild detergents, but your best bet is to use a mixture of water and vinegar and spray it on the walls and ceilings before letting it dry naturally. You will have to endure a vinegary smell for a while, but that is easier to shift than the smell of stale smoke.

15. Mop Floors

Cleaning the floor with mop_Jarmoluk_Pixabay
Image Credit: Jarmoluk, Pixabay

Mop all the hard floors in your home. This not only gets rid of the smoke that has settled in the floor material, but it also clears away films of tar and nicotine. Plus, it gets rid of ash and any other debris that might be adding to the smell.

16. Clean Hard Surfaces

Wipe, dust, and clean down hard surfaces like tables and wooden furniture, as well as kitchen tops, cookers, and anything else in the home.

17. Clean Windows and Mirrors

Cleaning window using sprayer_Vladimir Miloserdov_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Vladimir Miloserdov, Shutterstock

Windows and mirrors count as hard surfaces. Use a good-quality glass cleaner or make your own using a mixture of warm water and vinegar. Once you’ve finished the deep clean, you may need to give the windows another clean to get rid of any smears.

18. Use Activated Charcoal

Like baking soda, activated charcoal is very effective at absorbing other smells and aromas. Its pores can trap chemicals, including those that carry the aroma of smoke. Put some in bowls and place them around the house, especially in those areas where the smell is worst.

19. Get a Dehumidifier

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The smell of smoke lingers in humid air especially, so removing the moisture from the air in your home can help get rid of the smell.

Buy or borrow a dehumidifier and set it up in the room where the smell is the worst. Run it for a day or two before moving to another room. If you have multiple dehumidifiers, set them up simultaneously to really get to work on the smoke.

20. Get an Air Purifier

Similarly, you can use an air purifier to help get rid of some of the smell. Some purifiers have an activated charcoal filter, which really aids in the aroma removal process.

21. Place Bowls of Vinegar

Image By: Vinegar by evita-ochel, Pixabay

Smoke particles have a high pH, whereas white vinegar has a low pH. That low pH will attack and neutralize the higher pH of cigarette smoke, so if you can abide the smell for a few days, you can put out bowls of white vinegar in each room.

22. Place Bowls of Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract doesn’t eliminate the smell, but it has a strong, sweet aroma that can mask the smell of smoke, and, thankfully, it doesn’t take much of the extract to work.

Put a few drops in a bowl of warm water and place the bowl in a room to help reduce the smell. Alternatively, you can put a few drops on a cotton ball and place it in the room.

23. Boil Lemon Water

Lemon Juice Squeezer
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Lemon has a similar effect to that of vanilla extract but is a lot cheaper and you may have more lemons laying around than bottles of vanilla extract.

Boil some water and add a few slices and the zest of the lemon to a bowl of hot water. The hot water will help extract the smell from the lemon to give the results you want.

24. Use Essential Oils

Essential oil diffusers are not only good at extracting the smell from essential oils, but they create vapor-like molecules that can displace those of the smoke you’re trying to get rid of. Choose a scent you like and put diffusers in several rooms for the best effect.

25. Burn Candles

citronella candle
Image By: faithie, Shutterstock

It can seem a little counterintuitive but burning candles can help reduce the smoke smell. Just ensure that they are properly extinguished when you’re finished and consider choosing candles with a citrus scent and low smoke level.

26. Change HVAC Filters

If you have an HVAC system and haven’t changed the filter in a while, it likely harbors smoke particles that are being spread around the house by the HVAC system itself. Remove the filter and either give it a really good clean or replace it with a new one.

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The smell of smoke can be a real challenge to shift, but using the 26 tips and methods above, you should be able to have your home smelling fresh and smoke-free again. It can take time to get the full results, and you may have to repeat some processes to really get the smoke off surfaces and out of fabrics around your home, but it will be worth it in the end.

Featured Image Credit: nikkytok, Shutterstock


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