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How to Remove Cigarette Odor from a Rental House

A Raleigh Renter Smoking InsideOne of the more very difficult clean-up jobs is getting rid of the smell of cigarette smoke in a Raleigh rental home. Whether you allow your tenants to smoke, didn’t bring to mind to count your smoking policy in the lease, or if you did and had a strict no-smoking policy, you may perhaps still be left to deal with the smelly work of cleaning up the horrible odors left behind. And it’s not just about the smell; cigarette smoke leaves residual contamination on walls, fabrics, and other surfaces. Known as “thirdhand smoke,” this residue could create a health risk to future tenants and must be taken very seriously.

To help make your clean-up job as successful as possible, here are some cleaning tips suggested by the pros.

Air it Out

The best place to start when just about ready to clean up after cigarette smoke is to air out every room in your rental house. Open all windows and doors to let in the fresh air, and provide fans or an air purifier to circulate the air. There are air purifiers particularly designed to clear up the smell of cigarette smoke from the air. If your budget allows, this could be a dependable and helpful option. Still and all, you may need to leave the fans running for as long as possible – certainly even several days – to effectively alleviate the smell.

Wipe Everything Down

While you are in the process of airing out your rental, your next step is to wipe down every surface in every room – starting with the ceilings. Applying the cleaning product of your choice, wipe down smooth ceilings with a wet cloth. For popcorn ceilings, put your cleaning solution in a spray bottle and carefully spray the entire surface.

While you are working on the ceilings, always remember to clean the light fixtures and ceiling fans up there, too! Wipe the tops and bottoms of ceiling fan blades to always make certain that the odor isn’t being recirculated back into the house.

Working your way downward, clean walls with the same cleaning product and a cloth. Always make sure to clean the tops of the door trim, baseboard, and other nooks and crannies.

But at the same time, it’s really important to note that just cleaning the walls, as often as you can, won’t get rid of the smell. And paint will help, but it won’t resolve the smell, either. To properly remove the cigarette smoke smell, you will need to use an odor-sealing primer, then a good quality paint over the top.

Wash the Windows

Along with the walls, it’s principal to give all of the windows and window coverings in your rental property a deep clean. If you have blinds, that entails wiping down each piece of the blinds on both sides. Clean the windows with your selected glass cleaner, then wipe down the frames and sills.

If your rental has fabric shades or curtains, pay attention to see if you can wash them in a washing machine. If not, you may want to consider replacing them thoroughly. Cigarette smoke is very difficult to get out of fabrics.

Sanitize Cabinets and Counters

Always remember to clean the inside and outside of kitchen and bathroom cabinets, closets, and drawers. Go through each one, remove completely any debris, and then wipe down both inside and out with a cleaning solution. For countertops and islands, use a sanitizing cleaner to rid them of smoke residue. If the smoke smell keeps on, try putting a bowl of dry coffee grounds or white vinegar inside the smelly cabinet or drawer and leaving it there for specific days. This may help take out the cigarette smell.

Deodorize Floors

Once you’ve cleaned everything above floor level, it’s time to deal with your carpets and hard surface floors. One way to help remove the smoke smell from carpets is to sprinkle baking soda over the whole carpet, let it sit for at least an hour, and then vacuum. But most of Raleigh property managers settle on hiring professional carpet cleaners as soon as they are preparing a rental for a new tenant.  They may be able to dispose of the odor from the carpet. Mostly, however, the best option is to replace the carpets and pad utterly.

For hard surface floors, clean thoroughly by mopping with a dependable disinfectant. If you’ve got several more floors to clean, change your mop water often to establish that the smoke smell isn’t just getting spread back around.

Although labor-intensive and time-consuming, by taking these steps, you can successfully clear away the smell of cigarette smoke and gainfully get it back to a clean, fresh-smelling rental.


Still, if you are thinking that deep cleaning your rental property is something other than what you’d plan to spend your time on, assess giving the professionals at Real Property Management Raleigh a call. We can help with everything from cleaning services to finding a likable new tenant for you – and much more! Contact us online today to see what we can do for you.

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