Unlike other smells such as fresh paint job, the cigarette odor is known for its tendency to permeate on the fabrics and concrete walls and keep lingering for a long time. So if you have just quit smoking or rented a new apartment whose last tenant was a heavy smoker, you are more likely to be inclined to restoring the apartment to its fresh and habitable conditions. Here is how to get rid of the cigarette smell in your apartment using inexpensive methods and materials.
Get Rid of Cigarette Smell in Apartment
1. Go the vinegar and ammonia way
Vinegar is to odor removal as the oven cleaner is to scorch marks – the most effective solution. This time around, to remove cigarette odors, consider adding ammonia in the mix. Here is how to go about it: take two separate bowls and fill one with vinegar and ammonia in the other and place them at a location you think the cigarette odor is most pungent. Let the bowls stay there unmoved for up to a week – you could forget to remove them because the odor would have disappeared drastically. However, you may need to take additional measures to neutralize the air if the smell can be still detected on the furniture and other fabrics in the room, including window curtains. If you don’t, the odor will come back in a matter of days.
2. Clean your rugs/carpets
No other fabric in the house takes more surface than your carpet. Since the cigarette odor tends to stick on fabric more than concrete surfaces readily, you are up to a tough task of giving your entire floor carpet a new smell. Don’t panic; arm yourself with about 500mg of baking soda (this can depend on the size of your carpet) you can find in your local cleaners store and sprinkle it all over the rug or carpet. Next, vacuum it for about 30 minutes. Proceed to spray it with a mist of one part vinegar and two-part water. After misting it, turn on your fan and let the carpet dry slowly. Go back to your carpet after around 12 hours; how does it smell?
3. Refresh your furniture and cabinets
The most dreadful fact about cigarette odor is that it is capable of creeping its way into closed drawers and cupboards. Take a cup of vinegar solution – one part vinegar and two-part water – and sprinkle it on a soft and clean cloth. Spray the interior of the cupboards and drawers with vinegar mist before scrubbing them with the soft fabric. If the cigarette odor persists, take wads of old newspapers and a bowl of ground coffee and place them inside for around two weeks and come back to check the results.
4. Take the cleaning to the blinds and drapes
Drapes and blinds may require dry-cleaning. Start by carefully removing the blinds and drapes with the help of an installer or dry-cleaner. You need to remind the dry-cleaner that the cleaning is intended for removing cigarette smoke. As a great natural cleaner and odor neutralizer, vinegar should be added in a bowl of water in a relatively small amount (about one part vinegar and two-part water). Ensure that you begin with sprinkling vinegar in water before placing the drapes. Please note that vinegar has bleaching properties and will easily fade your curtains if left in the solution for a long time.
If you are dealing with mini blinds, consider placing them in your bathtub and proceeding to fill it with hot water and a small cup of vinegar. Leave the blinds in the bathtub for about 15 minutes before scrubbing them using a gentle scrub brush. Hang your blinds outside and let them dry.
5. Decide on the floor
There are two situations that would require you to make radical changes to your floor just to eliminate the cigarette odor: a) the carpet is badly affected by prolonged smoking that you can’t eliminate 100% and/or, b) cigarette burns have extensively ruined the beautiful rug or carpet that you’d be better off replacing it. After trying out the Rug Doctor and OxiClean with minimal success, you may need to remove the entire carpet or rug, clean the bare floor with a vinegar solution, or any other odor remover and install new vinyl or hardwood flooring. If it is the vinyl or hardwood floor that is affected with the odor, buy Murphy’s Oil Soap or any other similar cleaner and use it to wash the floor – the smell should disappear as quickly as it takes the wooden floor to dry.
Eliminating cigarette odor forever
Now that you’ve cleaned your apartment and you would like to take measures to keep the odor at the forever, what next? Consider the following tips:
- Improve cross ventilation of the apartment by installing window fans or box fans strategically in every room.
- If possible, always keep the windows open if you feel the stale odor is not sufficiently escaping the house. Wash your walls and ceilings as the tar from cigarette smoke glued on the surfaces.
- Invest in the latest air purifier. Air purifiers are excellent tools when it comes to removing odors and dust particles from indoor air. An air purifier is a must-have if any family member is allergic to tobacco smoke particles. Don’t forget to select an air purifier with an activated charcoal filter included. Read our complete guide on how to select an air purifier for smoke. Also, you can check our top selections of air purifiers for smoke and odor with the room size and the air changes per hour calculation.
- You can use charcoal bags in your apartment to trap smells coming from cigarette smoke. Get from amazon’s best selling charcoal bags list.
- If the odor persists even after making numerous cleaning efforts, consider repainting the walls and the ceiling with oil-based Kilz primer. Consult the paint store on the best paint for the walls with cigarette odors; chances are your local paint dealer will provide you with an appropriate sealant that can be applied on the ceiling and walls before repainting. A sealant serves to prevent the odor from seeping through the freshly applied paint.
Cigarette odors are unpleasant to everyone even, sometimes, to smokers themselves. No one wants to end up in an apartment that reeks with cigarette odor. If you do, however, there are ingenious “detoxification” methods you can use to return your apartment to its habitable conditions. You need white vinegar, carpet shampoo, clean water, paint, blow dryer, and ammonia to get started.