Using some ideas I had and some that I researched, I put together a plan of attack. So whether you had a visitor who disregarded your home’s no smoking rule, or is moving into a new space that previously housed a smoker, following these steps will help you get rid of smoke smell for good.
Step 1: Use Vinegar on Fabrics
If you’ve ever gone to a smoky bar, you were probably reminded of your outing the morning after – when you could still smell smoke on your clothes. The same thing applies to the fabrics in your home, which will hold onto any lingering smoke from your rule-breaking guests.
While it might not necessarily be practical, or possible, to remove all the fabric from your home (a couch can be a beast to move to the patio!), do remove all the fabric items you can from the smoke smell room. This includes any pillows, bedding, blankets, and curtains. If you have a large washing machine, you can throw all these through a cold wash cycle with 2 cups of vinegar to the load.
Once the fabric items have been washed and the odor has been removed, the last thing you want to do is bring them back into a smoky home. So put them in large garbage bags and store them in an alternate location until you are able to complete the next few steps to remove the odor from the rest of the home.
Step 2: Use Baking Soda on Carpets and Furniture
After you’ve removed the majority of small, soft items from the room, you will likely be left with large items like furniture, mattresses, and carpet. For these items, baking soda is going to be your best friend.
Your goal is to sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on all the soft surfaces in your home. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to use a 2-cup liquid measuring cup and a large colander. Fill the measuring cup with baking soda, then carry it to the area you want to sprinkle. Pour some baking soda into the colander, then shake the colander over the carpet or fabric. This will help you disperse it evenly over the surface.
Let the baking soda work its magic by letting it sit for about 30-60 minutes. During this time, you can help work the baking soda into the soft surfaces by gently rubbing your hand over the mattress or fabric, or by walking around the carpeted room with socks on your feet. While the baking soda is absorbing odors from the soft surfaces, it’s time to clean the hard surfaces.
Step 3: Use Vinegar on Walls
Whether it’s from cigarettes or a candle, smoke smell leaves a greasy residue on walls and the ceiling, as it floats through the air and settles on the first hard surface it comes in contact with.
The best thing for removing smoke smell residue from walls is a vinegar/water mixture. Fill half your bucket with about 75% vinegar and 25% water. If this is too strong for you to smell or touch, you can add a little more water until it’s tolerable to work with.
Submerge one rag or towel at a time into the mixture, and squeeze it to remove most, but not all, of the liquid. Starting at the top corner of a wall, wipe down an approximately 3 foot-by-3 foot section of the wall, then rinse your rag and repeat on the next section.
When you’ve completed that part of the wall, continue repeating the process around the room until all parts of the wall have been cleaned. If the ceiling of the room is flat, repeat the process across the ceiling, as well.