August 10, 2018 | Barb Huntley
Have you recently moved into a home that a previous smoker occupied? Or, are you a recently retired smoker and want to get rid of the lingering smell? It’s important to note that the smell of cigarette smoke is not just an odor, it is a residue called third hand smoke (THS). THS residue exposure can be especially dangerous for pets and small children, who often pick up dust and particulate matter on their hands or paws, and then put them in their mouth. These pollutants remained even after the homes had been cleaned and vacant for two months. Removing cigarette smoke can be difficult, but it is doable.

Clean the Air Ducts – Cleaning your air ducts is an effect way to eliminate odors that hide and manifest in your furnace or AC system.

Change the Filter on your HVAC – You are supposed to do this every few months, but if you are living where a previous smoker has resided, increase the change to every month and half. This will make a significant impact on the third hand smoke residue.

Wash Walls and Ceilings – Smoke and heat rises; therefore, the tops of your walls and your ceiling likely hold on to cigarette odor. You can buy cleaning products that are okay for these surfaces or you can create your own all-natural solution out of a 3:1 vinegar-water mixture.

Wash Curtains and Drapes – Smells tend to linger on fabric which means you’ll need to invest in washing your curtains and drapes. Check the tag on the materials, some can be put in a washing machine, others need to be steamed or taken to a professional.

Change Lightbulbs – Lightbulbs collect dust and dust carries odor. Change all lightbulbs to eliminate smoke residue.

Repaint – If washing walls and ceilings isn’t effective in removing the cigarette smell your next best option is to repaint the walls. First, make sure you seal them with an odor-neutralizing odor primer before painting. If you don’t apply the primer the smell will eventually seep through the new paint.


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