Wet clothes… certain pungent foods… the odd, dead critter…
These are all serious smells that might funk up your apartment for days.
Few odors stick with – or stink up — a space, however, as powerfully as cigarette smoke.
If you’ve moved into a formerly smoky spot, here are some tips that will help with the toughest odor removal.
Before you attempt cleaning like this, do check in with your landlord or apartment community manager. Your landlord may prefer to provide a cleaning service to help remove the offensive odor.
Air out the room
When you need to remove cigarette smoke smell, your first step is to air out the room. The easiest way to do this is open all the windows and leave them open for 24 hours, if you can. You might also invest in an air purifier to add oomph to your effort.
Veteran cleaners believe in the bowl method. Fill a bowl with vinegar or coffee grounds. (Inexpensive coffee will do just fine.) Place the magic bowl in your stinky room, and let it sit there for a few days, one bowl per room. This is an economical and earth-friendly cleaning option, plus you can use the vinegar to tackle other smelly areas.
Treat walls & surfaces
Vinegar, that magical eco-friendly cleaning product, can be used in many ways. Cigarette smoke creates a residue on every surface it touches, so to remove it, you’ll need to clean walls and other surfaces thoroughly. One of the best (and cheapest) methods is to mix 2 parts white vinegar with 1 part baking soda and a little warm water to create a “green” cleaning concoction. Use a scrub brush to scour away the cigarette smell.
Clean your carpet
Carpets are notorious for trapping odors, so cleaning your carpet is a must if you want to rid your apartment of cigarette smell. You can turn to another trusty friend in green cleaning, baking soda. Sprinkle it on the carpet and leave it on for at least 30 minutes or up to 72 hours; then, vacuum. This should lift away the stink and residue.
If the baking soda/vacuuming combination doesn’t work, you might try steam cleaning or a powerful cleaning product like Nature’s Miracle. Consumers rave about its ability to eradicate pet odors, and the word online is that it also works on cigarette smoke. Look for it at most pet stores.
Wash windows & mirrors
Here are two spots you may not have considered to be cigarette smell traps: windows and mirrors. Like walls, these surfaces can get covered with residue. Be sure to clean them thoroughly with — you guessed it — vinegar and warm water.
Replace air filters & clean vents
If you’ve cleaned every surface and things still smell a little stale, try replacing your HVAC filter, as well as wiping down air vents. This is a quick tip that will help get cigarette smoke out of air circulation. Note that replacing filters may be a maintenance call, depending on your apartment community rules.
Change out light bulbs
The final frontier. This might come to you as a surprise, but changing your light bulbs will definitely help remove the smell. Plus it prepares you for brighter and better-smelling days ahead as you settle into your apartment!
Photo credits: Shutterstock / Artex67, Alexander Marushin, Lara Barrett