How to Remove Cigarette Smoke Odor From House

Cigarette smoking leaves behind not only smoke odour but also tar and other residues. The same ingredients that turn smokers' lungs black will coat all the surfaces of your home's interior. In severe cases, cigarette smoking turns walls, drapes and upholstery brown. Getting rid of the odour involves a thorough cleaning of the surfaces. Michigan State University Extension's Homemade Cleaners website describes the disinfecting and deodorising abilities of borax, a natural mineral. Arm yourself with the right cleaners and tools for the job to remove the cigarette smoke odour from your home.

Open all the windows and doors.

Remove all the washable cushion covers, curtains, dresser scarves and any other fabric items and wash them. Soak them with 1 cup of oxygen cleaner and 1/2 cup of peppermint Castile soap and then wash them.

Take fabrics that aren't washable, such as drapes and upholstered furniture cushions, and put them out in the sun for several hours.

Mix 1/2 cup of borax with 2 gallons of warm water. Put on gloves and wash washable walls with a sponge mop, working from the top of the wall to the baseboard. Change the water often and change the mop head if it gets clogged with cigarette tar. Rinse the walls with warm water.

Wash washable floors with the borax solution. Rinse the floors with plain warm water.

Clean the cigarette smoke odour out of the carpet with a commercial carpet cleaning machine and enzyme solution for removing odours.

Mix 1/4 cup white vinegar with 1 quart of warm water and 1 tsp of Castile soap. Wash all the windows, mirrors and glass surfaces with the cleaning mixture and rags. Clean any stubborn cigarette tar deposits with undiluted vinegar.


Designate a smoking area outdoors or in a separate room with smoke-catching ashtrays, an open window and an air filter. Soft goods such as cushions saturated with cigarette odour may have to be replaced. Test the borax solution on the wall, floor, counter and other hard surfaces in inconspicuous spots and allow it to dry. Check for colour change. Commercial carpet cleaning machines are available to rent at large grocery stores. Grocery stores carry enzyme carpet cleaner for odour removal. Grocery stores carry borax in the laundry aisle. Wear long sleeves and pull the rubber gloves over your sleeves to keep the wall cleaner from running down your arms when you wash the walls. Severe cigarette residue on walls may require more than one washing. Leave the borax on the wall for 20 minutes before rinsing.


Keeping cleaning products out of reach of children. Borax can cause eye irritation and is toxic if swallowed.

Things You'll Need

  • Oxygen cleaner
  • Carpet cleaning machine, if needed
  • Rubber gloves
  • Sponge mop with extra mop heads
  • Borax
  • Commercial carpet cleaning machine
  • Odour-removing enzyme carpet cleaner
  • Peppermint Castile soap
  • White vinegar
  • Rags
  • Jars
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About the Author

Gryphon Adams began publishing in 1985. He contributed to the "San Francisco Chronicle" and "Dark Voices." Adams writes about a variety of topics, including teaching, floral design, landscaping and home furnishings. Adams is a certified health educator and a massage practitioner. He received his Master of Fine Arts at San Francisco State University.