Once you’ve worked through surfaces as described in the rest of this site’s Eliminate Cigarette Smoke Odor and Tar guide, you should clean all the remaining hard surface in your home. When possible, use a mixture of equal parts hot water and vinegar, along with a few drops of soap. You will need to make a judgment call on if this is safe on a surface-by-surface basis based on the materials it is made from. Scrub the surface as hard as you are comfortable scrubbing it with this mixture. This will work the soap and vinegar in and give it the best chance of penetrating the breaking apart the tar.
Clean Every Surface
Look for any surface you haven’t cleaned and try to find a way to clean it. If it’s flat, it’s a surface and should be addressed. Review our Eliminate Cigarette Smoke Odor and Tar Overview page to make sure this guide doesn’t have specific advice that the material type.
Surfaces You May Have Missed
This is a list of easy to overlook surfaces. While there are good examples, this list is in no way exhaustive.
- Counter tops in the kitchen and bathroom
- Kitchen appliances such as refrigerators, microwaves, and oven.
- Cabinets in kitchen and bathroom.
- The blades of ceiling fans.
- All doors.
- Any non-carpeted floors.
- The trim around doors and walls throughout your home.
Not Just Bare Surfaces
Shelving should be emptied and cleaned, with the possessions slowly cleaned and put back on place.
Hard to Clean Surfaces
With any surfaces you don’t want to use water on, use Odor Absorption Techniques. A pan with coffee grounds spread flat left on the surface overnight will help, but will require several rounds to make significant progress.
Anything you can do to isolate the surface with the absorbent together will help. If possible, place baking soda directly on the surface and using cling film to cover it overnight. This will prevent the baking soda from ‘breathing’ any air other than that exposed to the surface, and will maximize the amount of odor removed. While this will speed things up, it will still require multiple passed to be effective.