Why do smoke odors linger?
Throughout the day, we encounter all sorts of different smells. Some may be good, such as a freshly baked loaf of bread from the bakery or a bunch of flowers, but we must also deal with the more offensive ones. For example, smoke smells bind to our clothing and linger around the home, like on soft furnishings in the living room or bedroom. With the right technique, though, it’s easy to eliminate smoke odor from your home. Follow our top 9 tips below to find out how.
Eliminate smoke odor from fabrics and surfaces
- Clean any glass and mirrors around the home
When you think of scrubbing the smell of smoke out, you might go straight for the sofas and other pieces of upholstery. But hard surfaces like mirrors and windows attract a surprising amount of smoke odors — tar and soot from smoke collects on the glass, leaving behind the smell of the burned items. Simply wash the surfaces with a mix of half-warm water, half vinegar and then rinse the surfaces down with clean water.
You can also use standard window cleaner, but be sure to follow the instructions on the label and test a small area first1 2.
- Wipe down the ceilings
This might sound like a difficult task, but hot air rises, and smoke is no exception. Using the vinegar like before, gently wipe off the whole ceiling, paying special attention to areas above where smokers sit. Do not rinse off the vinegar; allow it to dry<3.
Do not use vinegar, however, on waxed surfaces —it can strip away the top layer of wax. Most importantly, do not combine it with bleach as it will result in chlorine gas, which is toxic.
- Wash soft furnishings
Collect any soft furnishings such as curtains, bedsheets and any clothes and wash them all thoroughly — don’t forget unusual things that might not be so obvious, such as wall hangings. These sorts of fabric items can soak up smoke odors much better than harder parts of the room such as a wall or a bed frame, so it is best to start with these.
- Re-upholster soft furnishings if they are too far gone
You might find that some fabrics are not salvageable and need to be thrown away, but re-upholstering can be inexpensive if you learn how to DIY4.
- Work on the carpet
The carpet is another soft item that will need a thorough cleaning, but you cannot just throw this one in the washing machine. Instead, try shampooing and washing the carpet with a steam cleaner. If you are unable to do this yourself, it is also possible to hire a professional to do the job for you. Another simple tip is to sprinkle the carpet with baking soda and then vacuum it up a day later — this should also help to soak up and remove the smell5.
Take care of your carpets by following all usage and manufacturer instructions when cleaning or using commercial carpet cleaners or shampoos.
This is an easy one! Simply leave a few bowls of activated charcoal around the house. It works to absorb odors such as smoke, so they don’t linger in your home7.
- Let in some fresh air
Thanks to improved insulation in modern buildings, air can stagnate and even lead to the growth of fungus and mold given the right conditions (moisture and darkness).
To combat this, simply open all of your windows to allow the smell to escape and be replaced by fresh, odor free air. Speed up the process by placing a fan in the room to help circulate air around the room.
- Use Air Wick® air fresheners
With a variety of beautiful scents to choose from, Air Wick air fresheners can help you keep your home smelling fresh by eliminating odors. Pick from Ocean Breeze Pure aerosol to bring a touch of sea air into your home or Purple Lavender Pure aerosol, both of which help to eliminate odor and diffuse a pleasant scent.
- Use an air purifier
These work to filter odor molecules from the air8 and are a great way to eliminate smoke odor and keep your home smelling fresh. Be sure to read the instructions to install and use your purifier correctly.
Keep the smell of smoke out of the home
In addition to these tips to eliminate the smoky smell from your home, you can also prevent the smell from becoming overpowering in the first place. These include cleaning out any ashtrays regularly and avoiding smoking indoors.
Follow these simple steps to help you have an odor free home you can be proud of in no time at all!