How to Deodorize a House of Cigarette Smoke

Updated February 21, 2017

Most unpleasant odours quickly dissipate, but cigarette smoke is pervasive and can penetrate every nook and cranny in your house, lingering long after the cigarette has been extinguished. Often, the odour of cigarette smoke intensifies, becoming stale and even more unpleasant as time goes by. Although removing cigarette-smoke odour can be difficult, there are a number of remedies that deodorise your home, leaving the atmosphere fresh and odour-free.

Place bowls of vinegar or activated charcoal in smoke-affected rooms, leaving the bowls overnight, to absorb mild cigarette odours. Alternatively, use sliced orange peels, leaving the peels until they shrivel.

Sprinkle baking soda on carpet in affected rooms. Allow the baking soda to remain on the carpet for a few hours, or overnight, before vacuuming using a clean filter and bag. If possible, use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. If the smoke odour is severe, rent a steam cleaner or contact a professional carpet cleaner.

Ventilate the area as much as possible. Place fans in affected rooms or turn on ceiling fans. If possible, open your windows and doors.

Remove light bulbs from lamps and/or overhead fixtures, as warm bulbs may attract cigarette-smoke residue. Wash the light bulbs carefully. Allow the bulbs to dry thoroughly before replacing them in the fixtures.

Scrub walls with an ammonia-based cleaning product and cloths or sponges. Clean or dust other hard surfaces, furniture or woodwork.

Clean window blinds by wiping them with a damp cloth or sponge, or scrub the blinds in your bathtub. Launder washable curtains. Take draperies to a dry cleaner.

Replace furnace filters or air filters, as filters absorb smoke odour.


Coffee grounds may help to neutralise cigarette-smoke odour. Place the coffee grounds in small mesh bags or clean coffee filters. Tie the tops closed, then hang the bags in affected areas.

Things You'll Need

  • Bowls
  • Vinegar
  • Activated charcoal
  • Orange peels
  • Baking soda
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Carpet steamer (if necessary)
  • Fans
  • Ammonia-based cleaning product
  • Cloths or sponges
  • Washing powder
  • Furnace filters
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About the Author

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.