If you live with someone who smokes, there's a good chance one or more of the rooms in your home smells like used tobacco. But that distinctive scent doesn't just reek—it's also bad for you.
You may have heard about passive smoking or hazardous secondhand smoke inhaled by people who aren't smokers. Thirdhand smoke is less well known and refers to the chemically active residue that sticks to surfaces well after a cigarette is done and dusted. It builds up over time and can be stubborn. Here's what you can do to neutralize this toxic nose-scrunching odor on your person and in your pad.
Used car purchases sometimes turn up stinking like stale cigarettes. To fight this, some specialists employ "smoke bombs." You place one in a car with doors and windows shut, the fan blasting, and it sinks into soft fabrics. It might not remove the stench altogether, but it will dampen it. You can also try applying fabric freshener sprays weekly for a few weeks.
If you're an active smoker, always open your windows when puffing and dispose of cigarette butts promptly. In place of an expensive car wash, wash your carpets and wipe your seats with diluted vinegar if appropriate for the material.
If you've recently worn a leather jacket to a barbeque or smoked socially in a pair of leather shoes, you'll notice hints of cigarette lurking about afterward. The solution? Cat litter. Open a bag and put half of it next to your precious leather goods. Repeat if round one doesn't quite deliver odorless results.
And if your leather couch is the culprit, place an open bag of coffee grounds on or near it for at least one day.
Chuck washable drapes and throws in your machine. For non-washer-friendly accessories like large carpets, couches, cushions, and patio furniture, sprinkle baking soda straight out of the box and vacuum after an hour.
Steam clean if the baking soda hack doesn't do the trick, and reupholster as a last resort.
First, swiftly dumping the contents of dirty ashtrays will help your cause. Second, switching from traditional cigarettes to nicotine vapes or heated tobacco devices is worth the investment if you don't plan on quitting anytime soon—bad smells become less of a factor.
In addition, an air purifier will filter odor molecules and contaminants, so look into installing one. Finally, buy an essential oil burner, reed diffuser, or electric diffuser to replace yucky smells with more pleasant perfumes like lavender or grapefruit. Aromatherapy for the win!
Products with activated charcoal are detoxing, and affordable conventional charcoal (the kind you use on the grill) can assist too. Hang the coal in pouches around your house. Or fill a large open bowl and place it anywhere you need to treat cigarette smells.
Baking soda works similarly and is an effective and more natural deodorizer than many chemical-laden cleaning products on the market. Opt for natural solutions like cleansing sunlight and vinegar first.
Cigarette smoke coats mouths resulting in smokers' breath — a pretty big turn-off. And if you work in close quarters with others, it's not something you want to subject your colleagues to daily.
To maintain fresh breath, double down on your oral hygiene immediately after smoking. Chew sugarless gum and stay hydrated.
Make it a habit to wash your hands directly after lighting up, and wash your face, too, if possible. Mixing baking soda with hand soap can effectively remove cigarette traces between your digits and underneath nails, but a gentle waterless hand sanitizer may work for exposed skin too.
Nicotine also has an impact on how you sweat and the scent you give off. So if it's a hot day, you might want to run a slightly damp cloth with a dry shower product along your underarms, and if you've been exercising, prioritize that post-workout shower.
Shampoo and condition daily, including your beard if relevant, and keep dry shampoo on you at all times so you can refresh at will. It sounds weird, but ryer sheets also do an excellent job of eliminating cigarette smells, so if you don't have sensitive skin, you can try rubbing one all over your head.
Without these steps, cigarette smells will linger in your hair, and others might notice the scent anywhere you rest your noggin, like on your office chair or pillows.
Is your closet smelling a little iffy? Air any clothing items that require dry cleaning outside in the sun or somewhere you keep air purifying plants and can set up a fan. This process could take a day or need a multi-week set-up. You'll need to send these unique clothing pieces to the pros if the au naturel treatment doesn't work.
Wash the rest of your non-delicate clothes with laundry detergent after soaking overnight in a baking soda bath, and repeat if necessary. Prematurely putting your clothes into a hot dryer will bake leftover cigarette smells into clothing fibers, making them more challenging to remove on the next wash.
Rub a dryer sheet on your shoes and use a suitable fabric deodorizer spray on clothing between washes.
When disinfecting, you might not assume your floors, walls, ceilings, glass, and mirrors need attention. But cigarettes' carcinogenic residue lingers even if you can't see it. Test a small area with bleach first, and continue if it responds well. When in doubt, consult with an expert. This rule applies to all items you're considering cleaning.
As is probably clear from all these tips, the best way to minimize cigarette smells around the home is to smoke outside.