How to remove cigarette smoke smell from a home

The acrid, stale smell of cigarette smoke lingers long after the cigarette has been extinguished. When cigarettes are smoked regularly in your household, the smell and stain will infiltrate your walls, furniture, draperies and flooring. While the obvious solution would be to have smokers who live in your home smoke outdoors, you can remove cigarette smoke smell with supplies found in your home. When the cigarette smell is gone, ask smokers to step outside before they light up, as it is better for your home and your health.

Fill your washing machine with the hottest water possible for your washable curtains, draperies and furniture slip covers. Add the recommended amount of washing powder plus 1 cup of white vinegar to rid your items of cigarette smoke smell. Hang-dry your drapes and slip covers outside for an extra boost of fresh air.

Place small bowls filled with white vinegar in your rooms, one bowl in each room. The vinegar will neutralise the rooms as you work on cleaning and removing the cigarette stains and odours.

Combine 2 cups white vinegar, 8 cups hot water and 1/2 cup of baking soda in a bucket. The vinegar and baking soda will fizz up, which is normal and completely safe.

Scrub all surfaces with the vinegar solution. Use cleaning cloths on upholstered and non-upholstered furniture and a plastic scrub brush on hard surfaces such as doors, walls and hardwood or tile floors. Refresh the solution on your cloth or scrub brush often and make a new cleaning solution when the water looks dirty.

Wash the vinegar and baking soda solution off your surfaces with a clean cloth dipped in water. Continue to wash to remove the cleaning solution and cigarette stains and odour. The vinegar and baking soda both remove greasy nicotine residue and neutralise stale cigarette odour.

Wet-vacuum your upholstered furniture to remove the moisture from the cleaning and rinsing process. Dry hard surfaces and furniture with a clean cloth.

Run a carpet-cleaning machine over your carpet, using carpet shampoo and an odour neutraliser. Wash carpeting twice, if needed, if the water continues to come up dirty-looking after the first washing. Open windows, if possible, to help your carpet dry.


Place citrus peels in bowls and leave them around your home to freshen air and remove cigarette smoke odour.


If smokers must smoke indoors, fill the ashtray with cat litter that contains charcoal. The charcoal in the litter will help absorb the cigarette smell.

Things You'll Need

  • Washing powder
  • White vinegar
  • Bowls
  • Bucket
  • Baking soda
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Plastic scrub brush
  • Wet vacuum
  • Carpet-cleaning machine
  • Carpet shampoo
  • Carpet deodoriser or neutraliser
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About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.