How To Get Cigarette Smell Out Of The House

You know the smell well and you want to be rid of it. Maybe you live with a smoker and maybe you’ve just bought a house that belonged to a smoker. The point is that you want to take measures to get rid of that smell for good.

That smell is actually known as thirdhand smoke. It’s the smoke left behind by smokers and it can linger for years. Especially in small spaces like RVs with little ventilation.

But don’t worry. We’re going to go over everything you need to know to get the cigarette smell out of your house. Even if that house is a stuffy mobile home! Or an innovative school bus turned into a home!

How Is Thirdhand Smoke Harmful?

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You may be wondering what thirdhand smoke is by now. Firsthand smoke affects the smoker. Secondhand smoke affects those around the smoker. While thirdhand smoke affects those who are around even when the smoker isn’t. 

Although thirdhand smoke isn’t as harmful as secondhand smoke, it can still cause the same health problems. These problems are more common with first or secondhand smoke, but do occur with thirdhand some. Included are the following:

  • COPD
  • Asthma
  • Lung Cancer
  • SIDS
  • Damaged DNA

Other Signs Of Thirdhand Smoke

If you’re a smoker, you probably don’t even smell the cigarette smoke that has lingered in the air and on furniture. If you want to find out if there is thirdhand smoke in your home, then consider asking someone else to smell for you.

However, there are other ways to check for thirdhand smoke. The most common sign is yellowing furniture, wallpaper, and carpet. Nicotine yellows surfaces, so this is a great way to find out if there is thirdhand smoke in your home. 

How To Get Cigarette Smell Out Of Your House

This isn’t as simple as cleaning your house. You need to take a few precautions to ensure that the thirdhand smoke is removed. This will include deep cleaning, and making sure the air is kept clean. 

But most importantly, it will include preventing it from happening again. We’ll go over these precautions later. For now, let’s talk about the thirdhand smoke that’s already there and how to get rid of it.


The first thing you want to do is open a few windows. This will allow the smoke to leave the air if there is any hanging around. It will also help when cleaning with chemicals like bleach that is harmful to inhale. 

If it’s warm enough outside, you can even open the door for a while. If you have a screen door, even better, as you can safely leave it closed while you clean. 

Repaint The Walls

Clean your walls really well. Take warm, soapy water and scrub your walls down. Afterward, dry them well with a clean cloth. Then, repaint them with a primer or paint with odor sealant. This is a huge step that can really help out. 

It may seem like a chore to repaint the walls, but it’s really the only for sure way to get rid of thirdhand smoke on your walls. 

Rip Up Carpet

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Carpet is the worst flooring a smoker can have. If you have carpet in your home, tear it up. Even if you are planning on putting carpet back down, the old carpet needs to go. After years of absorbing smoke, it can’t recover. 

Another option would be to get someone to deep clean your carpet, but this isn’t nearly as effective as taking it up. 

Varnish Your Floors

If you have wood floors, varnish them. This will seal them and leave you with a fresh, blank slate. Not to mention, the varnish will prevent smoke from being absorbed into the wood. Because of this, you can simply clean your floors normally. 

Bleach Your Tile

Bleach is a great odor-eliminator. If you have tile or linoleum, you can bleach it to remove a great portion of any thirdhand smoke. You can even clean your countertops and more. Just make sure that you have more water than bleach in your solution. 

If you are set against chemicals in your home, you can always use homemade solutions. Vinegar is a great odor-eliminator and cleaner. These vinegar solutions can tackle any mess or odor.

Clean All Vents And Filters

Replace every filter in your house. This means the air conditioner, the furnace, and even the fish tank. Do this and you may notice an immediate change in the quality of the air. Clean the filters and the house and you will likely eradicate thirdhand smoke for good. 

Preventing Thirdhand Smoke

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If you do have a smoker in the home, all of your cleaning will be for naught if you don’t prevent future buildup. You can get rid of it for a day, but you’re going to have to do more to get rid of it for life.

Odor Absorbers

There are a few options to absorb odors. Things like charcoal, baking soda, and coffee grounds can absorb and mask bad smells. Set them out in every room and replace them every couple of days to help rid your home of thirdhand smoke.

You can also buy odor absorbers online. They are used in laundry rooms and closets, but can truly be placed in any room. 

Fans Blowing Out

You can put fans in windows during the time people are smoking. Leave them there for a while after smoking to make sure that the smoke never settles. If the smoker is considerate, they can smoke by the window. 

Get An Air Purifier

This is absolutely necessary for your health. Get an air purifier, replace the filter or water every single day. Put them in the room where the smoker smokes the most. Even if you don’t have a smoker in the house, an air purifier is a great investment. 

Check Filters Weekly

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You may have to clean the AC and ventilation filters regularly. Check them once or twice a week and keep plenty of filters on hand. This may seem costly, but it’s your health that we’re talking about, which is priceless. 

Wash Everything Cloth Weekly

This includes stuffed animals and table cloths. Pick a day and make sure everything that is in your house that can be washed is washed. Most importantly, anything that your children touch or play with.

You can even add laundry disinfectant to your loads for a deep clean. Finish off with dryer sheets for a fresh smell too!

Steam Your Carpet

Steaming your carpet monthly will prevent the absorption of long-term odors. Do it even more often for best results and make sure that they dry out to prevent mold. Hire someone or invest in a steamer yourself for long-term savings. 

Mask The Smell

Although it’s not ideal, masking the smell can help you cope with the cigarette smell. Light candles, burn incense and get an essential oil diffuser. All of these can help you deal with cigarette smell when cleaning isn’t enough. 

Cleansing Yourself Of The Cigarette Smell

After you finish cleaning your house, you need to clean yourself. Take a shower, of course, but doing more will also help you relax. If you have to choose between doing too much and not enough, do too much. 

Removing Cigarette Smell From Your Body

Taking a shower may do the trick, but there are a few things you can add to your routine. If you’re cleaning, make sure you wear long sleeves so that the smoke won’t set in. It’s easier to wash your clothes than your body. 

For a quick odor-remover, you can also use hand sanitizer on exposed skin. Just don’t use it on your face. Wash your face with an anti-bacterial soap designed for use on sensitive skin.

Removing Cigarette Smell From Your Hair

Your hair will be the first thing to absorb the smell of cigarettes. First, take a shower and wash your hair twice. After you get out, dry your hair and rub it with a dryer sheet. This will keep it smelling fresh.

It can also help to wear a hair wrap while you’re cleaning to prevent the odor from seeping in. 

Removing Cigarette Smell From Your Breath

Pop those breath mints and brush your teeth, but don’t let the preventive measures end there. Even kissing a smoker or sharing a drink with them can give a non-smoker bad breath. Prevent this with good dental hygiene.

Brush, floss, and use mouthwash. Don’t skip any steps. If you want an extra boost, use breath mints or lozenges to go that extra mile. 


Living in the home of a smoker isn’t easy, even if you are that smoker. But there are some things you can do to make it easier on yourself and your loved ones. Keep your house filtered, clean, and sanitized. 

And remember, always keep yourself informed of the dangers of smoke. Firsthand, secondhand, and often-ignored thirdhand smoke.