Wet clothes … old cat litter … spoiled meat … these are all serious smells that might funk up your apartment for days. And few odors stick with – or stink up — a space, as powerfully as cigarette smoke. If you’ve moved into a formerly smoky spot, or have other smelly issues of your own, here are some tips that will help with the toughest odor removal.
When you need to remove a bad 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 or plants to increase your efforts.
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. There's also the obvious, getting a good air freshener. But if these aren't enough, there's more that you can do.
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.
If you have wooden floors and doors, be sure to use a wood-friendly cleaner. Mop the floor first and make sure you change the water when needed. You might need to hand-scrub the corners, baseboards and door frames. If it’s really bad, you should consider replacing them.
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.
Take down all of the drapes and blinds. Wash them in hot water and add some vinegar to the wash – add this to the water before the drapes and use one cup per load. Vinegar is a great natural cleaner, however it is also a natural bleach and can fade colors, so never let fabrics sit in it for an extended period of time. If they need to be dry-cleaned, be sure to mention the smoke smell to your dry cleaner, they’ll know what to do.
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.
This isn’t an easy task but it’s necessary when trying to eliminate cigarette odor. One trick is to clean with a soft cloth dipped in a blend of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts warm water and wring out any excess moisture before wiping down the ceiling.
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!
Now you know how to get cigarette smoke smell out of your apartment, so follow these simple steps to fresh, clean-smelling air.
Hot Tip: Before you attempt to remove a really bad smell, 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.