How To Remove Cigarette Odor: Car & Home Smoke Removal

Cigarette odor... unmistakable, pervasive and - to non-smokers and even many smokers - unpleasant to say the least. In cars, homes and businesses, an ongoing battle rages to keep allergies under control, create a more hospitable environment or prevent girlfriends from knowing the truth... Are you fed up with aerosol air fresheners that just layer a nauseatingly sweet odor over the static cigarette odor? Tired of commercial products that don't deliver on their promises? 

To all of you, whatever your reasons, we at HowToDoThings have some tips for getting rid of that troublesome cigarette odor so you can breathe easier.

Of course, one of the best ways to remove odors - especially if there are associated nicotine stains - from carpets, furniture and walls is by using hydrogen peroxide.  If you want to learn how to do this, I strongly recommend the popular and handy 101 Home Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide.

In any case, cigarette smoke removal isn't impossible...but it does take some effort to get rid of the smell.

  1. Launder whatever you can. If an entire room smells like last year's bachelor party, removing cigarette smoke smell will require washing or dry-cleaning everything possible in order to maximize cigarette odor removal.
  2. Vacuum. Before you use any chemicals or resort to desperate measures, vacuum up as much of that cigarette odor residue as possible. Use vacuum attachments to suck the smoke out of furniture and upholstery in your house or car. Beat out and vacuum car foot mats.
  3. Vinegar. A bowl of white vinegar, left out overnight, can do a surprisingly good job removing foul cigarette odor.
  4. Citrus. Some swear by citrus peels when they need to get rid of foul odors. Leave a liberal amount of citrus peels in your car or home for several days (until the peels are completely desiccated). When you remove them, you will also remove cigarette smell - or at least some of it. 
  5. Baking soda - one of the tried-and-true methods of odor removal. Whether cleaning your carpet, smelly used couch or dingy car seats, baking soda is your friend. Sprinkle it over the smoke-infused area and let it sit for a few hours. Then whip out your trusty vacuum cleaner to suck up the soda, finishing the job.

    One word of advice: before sprinkling at will, test the baking soda out on a concealed part of the surface to make sure the surface or fabric doesn't interact unfavorably with the baking to remove cigarette smell

  6. Coffee. When my old high school friend and I used to fantasize about a coffee-grounds-enhanced laundry detergent, who would've guessed that there might have actually been odor-fighting merit to that seemingly absurd concept? Utilize the odor-absorbent quality of coffee grounds to get rid of your cigarette odors. Don't sprinkle them all over the place like baking soda, though, since coffee can stain. Instead, pour coffee grounds into several individual coffee filters and tie them closed. Place the coffee bags on whatever is harboring the cigarette odor.
  7. Air out the room or car. Requiring less effort than peeling an orange or going to the store for white vinegar, you should definitely open all your windows and doors for several hours to encourage cigarette odors to lift from their cushions, carpets and other surfaces. If a particular piece of furniture reeks of stale cigarette smoke, bring it outdoors for a few hours on a dry day.
  8. Charcoal. There's nothing fancy or particularly aesthetically pleasing about charcoal in a bowl, but when you scatter some bowls of charcoal around your room or car (as long as you're not planning to drive), you'll find that it has absorbed the cigarette odor after about a week. It's one of the unexpectedly effective forms of cigarette odor removal.
  9. Smoke residue on surfaces. Don't neglect linoleum floors, glass and wood surfaces either; in a room or car that has witnessed heavy smoking, you can often see the residue! Use glass-cleaners, diluted ammonia and wood-cleaning solutions to scrub the stinky residue off of these surfaces.
  10. Light bulbs. Light bulbs are a double-whammy when it comes to cigarette odor. First of all, they attract smoke. Secondly, each time you turn them on afterward, the heat releases odors from the smoke's residue. Clean those light bulbs.

    As a side note, at least one company (Technical Consumer Products, Inc.) has decided to capitalize on a light bulb's heat to actually combat odor. "Fresh2 Odor Eliminating Light Bulbs" claim to neutralize odors, thanks to a coating of Titanium Dioxide activated as the light bulb heats up.

Cigarette odor can make your home feel like a bad night club and make your car smell like somebody's oversized ashtray. Smokers don't want the stale smell to linger, and for some non-smokers, the smell triggers coughing or even headaches. Give these remedies a try.


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DON'T USE any artificial air freshener. Without exception they are just chemicals. You are breathing these chemicals in, all the time you are in the room. Is it a coincidence that asthma cases haven risen sharply with the use of these chemicals. Use the natural products mentioned in the article and maybe you'll even live longer.

By Clive Looker

An old real estate agent trick is to put half a dozen drops of pure vanilla extract into an 8-ounce spray bottle and spray the drapes 30 minutes before an open house. Febreze also helps on furniture and carpet, for sure. But long time smoking evidence is nearly impossible to banish, short of tossing and remodeling.

By Murry Shohat