The first step to eliminate cigarette smoke odor sources in your home has to be eliminating the source of the smoke. Any work you do to clean the smell will be undone very quickly if the smoke odor is still coming into the house. Here’s how to stop it.
Ban Smoking in Your Home
If anyone currently smokes in the home, have them stop immediately. Smoke is extremely good at penetrating everything and leaving it’s odor behind for years to come. In order to eliminate the smell, you absolutely need to eliminate the sources as a first step. This vital first step is a matter of removing the direct sources of smoke, and is the primary step to eliminate cigarette smoke odor sources.
Stop Smoking Completely
I’ll spare you a lengthy lecture here, but will say that I am an ex-smoker and quitting is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’m much healthier, much happier, and it’s saved me a lot of money to boot. The only way to truly eliminate cigarette smoke odor sources is to stop smoking.
If you don’t want quit smoking, consider switching to e-cigarettes, or ‘vaping’. Vaping produces a lot less odor, and doesn’t produce the hard to remove tar which is the root of the cigarette smell problem. It also comes with far fewer health concerns, so might be a win-win.
If quitting completely is off the table, take it outside and away from the house. Try to get at least 20 feet away from the house as smoke can very easily come in through windows and doors. Think about where the smoke is going, and pay attention to the wind.
As much as possible, smoke outside. This gives the smoke more chance to dissipate into the air around you, meaning less will wind up in your clothing and hair. If you smoke in a confined space, a lot of the smoke and smoke odor eventually comes back into the house with you.
Use an Air Filter
If you are smoking in a confined space, consider a filter to remove odor from the air. I’ve written a bit more about air filters in our Smoke Removal Machines article.
Use a Smoke Buddy
A Smoke Buddy is much less expensive than an air filter, but a bit more hands-on to use. You exhale cigarette smoke through the Smoke Buddy, which filters and cleans the air. While this can be extremely helpful, it cannot fully filter the air. Furthermore, it is only filtering the air exhaled through it. Smoke leaving the cigarette does not get filtered.
A Smoke Buddy is not a full air filtration solution, but is helpful no matter what and costs less than $20.00, so might be well worth trying out.
Experiment with different brands. Many people report much more or less odor with different brands of cigarettes. Camel is commonly thought to have the strongest smell, while American Spirits is said to produce the least amount of smell.
Your skin and clothes will absorb a lot less smoke if they are covered. Take steps to cover yourself as much as possible. Any dedicated smoking clothes can be left outside. This will do a lot to eliminate cigarette smoke odor sources entering your home.
Shirt or Jacket
Failing gloves, putting anything between your hand and cigarette will help a lot. Consider using a paper towel or napkin in your hand as you hold it.
Keep your non-smoking clothes clear, if possible
Air out before going back inside. A few minutes of wait time after finishing a cigarette before going back inside allows for a lot of the smoke smell to dissipate. Make sure you spend this time away from where you’ve just smoked, especially if that is a confined area. If you have any routine outdoor chores, gardening, or yard work, you might look for ways to break them into 10 minute sessions you can do with this time. Alternatively you could have a game like horseshoes set up to occupy you for this time.
Clean Yourself on the way back Inside.
A little effort can go a long way to eliminate the odor if done quickly after smoking.
Eliminate Indoor Smoking Residue
Once the smoking is out of the house and away from windows and doors, make sure any other lingering primary sources of smoke smell have also been removed. Get any cigarette butts or partially smoked cigars or cigarettes out of the house. Any ashtrays which have been left behind in old smoking areas should be eliminated, as well as any trash cans or other receptacles which might contain cigarette butts.
Stay on Top of Laundry
With these steps complete, the primary source of new odor entering your home is likely to be the clothing of any smokers. Do anything you can to combat this. While the direct smoke is gone, you need to think about indirect sources of smoke such as clothes when you try to eliminate cigarette smoke odor sources.
Wash clothes as quickly as possible. Consider doing a small load nightly to keep the smokey clothes from spending too long in the home.
Store dirty clothes in a closeable receptacle, such as a lidded hamper, rather than somewhere open like a laundry basket. Anything that allows less air to circulate past the clothes will help. You may want to consider using an air sponge or other odor absorption solution as described on our Odor Absorption Techniques page with your clothes as well.