Why Do I Smell Smoke All the Time?

Updated February 21, 2017

If you smell a lingering smoke odour in your home or in your car, you may find cigarettes and a variety of other reasons are contributing to the smell. Get to the heart of the matter by using a few simple cleaning tricks aimed at the parts of your house and car that hold smoke odours. You will want to make sure that no appliances or wires in your home are releasing smoke, as these items need to be repaired or tossed out because they can cause fires. In some cases, a person can think she smells smoke when smoke is not in the air. This may indicate a sensory disorder called phantosmia, in which case you will need to consult your doctor.

Smoke Odors are Trapped in Your Fireplace

One common culprit in the home is a fireplace. Fireplaces essentially are smoke houses all on their own. To get rid of smoke odours in a fireplace, you will need to scrub it out. First, once the ash is cool in the fireplace, sprinkle "damp tea leaves or coffee grounds" on the remaining ash, recommends Good Housekeeping magazine. Then scoop and dump the ashes into a metal can or bucket. Squirt water on a brick fireplace to keep "the cleaning solution from soaking in too fast," recommends the magazine. Mix 1/4 cup of all-purpose cleaner and 1 gallon of water in a bucket, and use a brush to apply the solution to the fireplace. Scrub, and rinse clean. Good Housekeeping Magazine recommends not using a cleaner if your brick is more than 50 years old because the brick may crumble.

Smoke is Lingering in the Air

Smoke lingers in the air. If you have guests who smoke, the odour can remain in your home or car for a very long time. Smoke fills fabrics and lingers. To help dissipate the odour, consider burning a natural incense of sage throughout your rooms and your car, recommends Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. You also can fill bowls with white vinegar or ammonia, and set them around the house for a few hours, recommends Good Housekeeping Magazine.

Smoke Remains in Your Carpet

After a fire or even after a party with many smoking friends, smoke odours can get trapped in your carpet. To get some of the odour out, sprinkle your carpet with dry carpet cleaner granules. Let them stand for about an hour, and then vacuum them up. You also can sprinkle a carpet deodoriser on, allow it to stand and vacuum it up, recommends Good Housekeeping Magazine. If that does not work, consider hiring a professional carpet cleaning company or renting a carpet cleaning machine.

Smoke is Stuck in Your Paint

Good Housekeeping's cleaning guru Heloise recommends washing down your walls with a nonabrasive and all-purpose cleaner. Smoke can get stuck in your wall paint. If the smoke smell does not get better, you may have to repaint your walls. Heloise recommends putting on a sealant first to trap the smoky paint and then applying your fresh wall paint.

An Appliance is Malfunctioning

You may smell smoke in your house or car if you have an appliance that is malfunctioning. Check the durability of all the wires and cords connected to your appliances. Pay attention to the appliance when they are plugged in because smoke is not always noticeable at first. Unplug your appliances when you are not using them. Also, make sure you are plugging the correct voltage cord into the correct voltage outlet. You can "blow" an appliance by mismatched voltages, which will result likely in seeing smoke.

You Have Phantosmia

If you think you smell smoke often when there is no indication that smoke is near you, you may be suffering from an olfactory hallucination called phantosmia, according to the Mayo Clinic. This condition often occurs when someone suffers from a head injury, upper respiratory infection, sinusitis, brain tumour, temporal lobe seizures, Parkinson's disease or even a stroke. Phantosmia, which is a sensory disorder that is not just limited to smelling smoke, is treatable with a variety of methods, including nasal saline drops, anti-seizure medications, antidepressants and sedatives, according to the New York Times.

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About the Author

Vera Leigh has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2008. Her work has appeared in "Learn Overseas" and "Grad Source" magazines. In addition, she received an honorable mention in "Newsweek's" My Turn contest. She has written features for nonprofits focused on literacy, education, genomics and health. In her spare time, Leigh puts her English major to use by tutoring in grammar and composition.