Removing Cigarette Odor

jadonApril 9, 2006

We have just purchased a house from a chain-smoker. We have cleaned the walls, painted some of the walls, taken down the drapes, cleaned the blinds with STP Sodium tri phosphate and disinfectant. Nothing seems to work.

Does anyone have any ideas and/or suggestions?

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Is there carpet? Odor might still be in the carpet. Also it will be in/on any unpainted walls, ceilings. Wipe down everything in the kitchen, including any vents, light fixtures, under cabinets, etc. I don't envy you; it's a tremendous amount of work.

Did you wash walls with TSP before painting?

Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 10:14AM
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Also clean the furnace ducts!
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 1:08PM
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We used a product called Vamoose 1808T... you can purchase it from a company in Austin, TX. It gets the odor out of all kinds of fabrics like carpets, car seats, drapes, mattresses, etc. It work really well. You can contact them at or call them at (512) 784-4024.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 8:31PM
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Kilz paint will conceal the stains, and seal the odors from painted surfaces. Otherwise, clean washable surfaces with a solution of ammonia/water, rinsing well. Then spray with 'smells begone', which seems to me to be the only deodorant spray that really eliminates (rather than covering up) the scent. The next day, clean the washable surfaces again -using 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. (Begone seems to precipate onto surfaces, and while it doesn't smell, it does leave a thin film I don't like); and then have the carpets cleaned. Linda is right, be sure to clean all air ducts and replace all air filters as well. The attic will probably also need to be deodorized and cleaned. Don't forget to clean "out-of-sight" areas like the edges of doors, the underneath side of shelves and cabinets, under appliances (as well as their motors and electrical cords). Try to imagine what surface a fog could touch -- and then clean.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 7:35AM
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I bought a car from a chain smoker back in the 60s. I thought the interior was green until I cleaned it with 409. It was blue. GROSS!

I did get the smell out when I changed the carpet, took the seats apart and cleaned in every crevice, and repainted the dash.

I'm thinking there are absorbent surfaces you have missed somehow.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2006 at 1:33AM
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Try ATMOSCLEAR (I got mine at Ace Hardware). The used car auto dealers use this to remove smoke smells. I am a smoker and when we had to sell our house we sprayed (no film) the whole house with it and no one noticed the smell. Current owners don't smell it either and furniture we sprayed does not smell up new home. I smoke outside now.

It is expensive, but cheaper than painting and buying tons of cleaning supplies. Get the biggest jug.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2006 at 4:07PM
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my husband smokes - a lot! I keep the fan on 24 hours a day on the AC/furnace. Also open windows when the weather is cool enought. and of course air freshner once a day. When people come to visit they are amazed that a smoker lives in the house.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 1:07PM
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Get and run an electonic air cleaner/freshener machine. 24 hours in a closed house, no more odor.


    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 11:04AM
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I had one of those ionic cleaners and got rid of it after reading these articles:

The American Lung Association of California is sponsoring legislation to protect consumers from the dangers posed by some "air purifiers" that generate ozone.

Do a Goggle and you will find more info out there. These cleaners raise the indoor ozone levels and that is not good.

As far as those aerosol air freshners in a can go - they do NOTHING to *remove* odors. NOTHING. What they do is spray a fine mist of OIL into the air which coats your nasal membranes so that you do not smell the odors. The odor molecules are still in the air but your nose cannot detect them. That's all.

Smoke tends to 'settle' and carpets are the worst offenders. They build up layers and layers of smoke that drifted down and settled into them.

If the odor problem is REALLY bad you may have to use spar varnish or something like that to *seal in the odor*. I had a bad closet in my house when I purchased it, and it smelled like BO. Awful. I washed the walls and painted and still smelled it! I had to varnish the floor and shelves, and also varnish the walls and paint over. That cured it.

I had a friend who bought a house that had cat odor. I made you gag it was so bad. House smelled so bad nobody wanted to buy it. He got it CHEAP. Real cheap. He used the varnish trick and there is no more odor. None. Now he has a gorgeous Craftman Prairie style home, that he got for a song - and a couple drums of varnish.

Sometimes the odor is in the wood floors and trim around the windows. Wood is porous and soaks up odors. I know it sounds like a lot of work but a light sanding and sealing may solve it for you.

I know this may sound like an extreme case, but I do know a guy who bought a home that smelled of smoke so bad that nothing he did could remove it. He even hire professionals to come in for the smoke removal problem. He put in new carpet. Put in new kitchen cabinets. New vinyl flooring.

He found out that the house had had a FIRE at one time, and the timbers (if that's what you call them) in the walls were either charred or just caked and coated soot and smoke from the fire. The walls had been nicely repaired but the wood structural part of the house had soaked up smoke odor from the fire. The smell was coming through the walls. There was nothing he could do about this.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 3:24PM
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I'm wondering if a year later the smell is gone? I hope so as we are in the process of purchasing a smokers home.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 9:25PM
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When you paint you should use a primer anyway - I use a shellac based primer that seals out odors and stains. Don't by the latex primer won't work as well. Clean the carpets, wash the drapes and go out and buy a lampe berger type lamp and use it. We have cigar smoking at the holidays and I swear by those catalytic lamps. They really work to get any smoke odors out. You can by a nuetral odor fuel - I prefer the citrus ones, but they do work to clear the air. I buy mine online and you can make your own fuel.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 12:38AM
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clg7067, I'm confused. If you want to advise someone on a product to help them, unless you are the owner of the company, than I don't think that is advertising. Posts like this appear on these forums everyday as people write back and forth trying to help each other. I don't get it!!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 11:32PM
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We bought our home from a heavy smoker. So heavy the man had actually died of lung cancer. The bathroom was wallpaper painted over pink. We noticed that when we took showers, brown stains appeared on the wall-smoke and nicotine. Along with an odor of tobacco. The only thing that helped was to steam the wallpaper off and put up new paper. Good luck with your home.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 11:08AM
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