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Detox Your House: How to Get Rid of Cigarette Smells

Detox Your House: How to Get Rid of Cigarette Smells

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Whether you’re a recent ex-smoker or just fancy freshening up stale air in your home, the lingering smell of cigarette smoke can stick around much longer than the bad habit—even after you’ve emptied the ashtrays, chucked your last pack and opened the windows.

It’s not just an aroma aesthetic thing either. Research reveals that the residual tar residues and toxic gases clinging to cushions, carpets and walls, dubbed “third-hand smoke,” can combine with indoor pollutants to create new, more carcinogenic compounds.

Eliminating old tobacco odours and particles won’t be easy, but your home stands a fighting, fresh chance with some elbow grease, patience and deep cleaning techniques. Read on for our top tips…

Remove and deep clean all cloth and linens:
Any fabric that needs to be washed or steamed—rugs, wall hangings, curtains, tablecloths, clothes, duvets and towels—should be removed and washed prior to a deep home cleaning.

Air it out:
Open the windows and doors to ventilate your home as much as possible with natural, fresh air throughout the de-smoking process. Replace any filters on fans, like the one above the hob in the kitchen, to make sure no residual smells get pumped back into the atmosphere. You could also buy air purifiers to place in multiple rooms to help remove contaminants from the air.

Charcoal or white vinegar:
Place small bowls of activated charcoal or white vinegar around your home for several days to absorb odours and neutralise the smoke smell—but make sure to keep them out of reach of children and pets.

Wipe your windows and mirrors:
Glass and mirrors attract smoke like you wouldn’t believe. Spray all surfaces with a mixture of vinegar and water or a glass cleaner, and wipe them down with a microfibre cloth.

Steam clean carpets:
Depending on the severity of the smoke smell, you may need to replace carpets entirely; but first try a carpet deodoriser, which you can sprinkle on affected areas before vacuuming or steaming. As a last resort, call in the pros for a deep steam clean.

Wash and repaint the walls:
Besides carpeting, walls will retain the most amount of smoke residue inside your home. Use a gentle, all-purpose cleaner to scrub, scrub and scrub the walls and ceiling. If the smell isn’t sufficiently removed, then you’ll need to repaint—while this is a more intensive project, it’s the best way to eliminate smoke odours, along with any staining. Start with a deodorising primer or sealant to prevent any existing smells from seeping through the new paint job; then follow up with two coats of latex paint in your colour of choice and top with a gloss.

Now, breathe in and relax: Your home is smoke- and odour-free – and after all that hard work you’ve got even more incentive not to start again and make it a wasted effort!

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