So you've moved into the perfect home but there's just one problem…the previous residents were smokers and your new home smells of cigarette smoke. This is not an easy problem to fix, but with time, patience and a lot of hard work, you'll be smelling sweet, clean air again. It's important to understand that while air and fabric fresheners cover the smell of smoke, they won't get rid of it - they simply mask it for a while. The smell will always come back.
Clean the Air: Fresh air is your friend so open all windows. Get as much fresh air into your home as possible. While this won't get rid of the smell, it'll help. Also, set bowls of white vinegar around your home, at least one per room (depending on the room size). If you have an air purifier or can borrow one or two from friends, this is a great way to decrease smoke smell. It takes time for the air to become clean, so I suggest keeping the purifier in the room you use the most.
Clean Walls and Ceilings: When it comes to smells cleaning the entire home is key. It's important to know that ceilings are the worst culprits for retaining smoke. Many people make the mistake of cleaning just the walls of their home, thinking that will be enough. But it's probably more important to thoroughly clean the ceilings, too.
Use cleaning products that contain ammonia and glycol - key ingredients for neutralizing the smell. Just be aware that these are harsh chemicals so you need to keep pets and small children out of the room you're working on.
After cleaning thoroughly and letting surfaces dry, smell the walls. Can you still smell cigarette smoke? If you can't - great! But make sure you keep checking after a day or two; the smell of the cleaner may be masking the smoke. If you can still smell smoke, you should consider repainting the walls and ceilings. A sealant may have to be applied to the walls and ceilings first before repainting to prevent smells from seeping through your new paint job.
Clean Carpets: Carpets are responsible for retaining a lot of the smell. If you have carpet in your home, first try to clean it yourself. Use a strong rug cleaner. Make sure you spread the product generously around the room, getting into corners and covering floor edges. Follow the instructions, leaving the product on for the maximum time allotted. Vacuum thoroughly. Let the carpet dry, then do a smell test. If you can still smell smoke in the carpet, you may need to hire professionals to do a deep cleaning. Call some professional companies for quotes, letting them know that you need to get rid of smoke. In the end, paying someone to get rid of the smell in your carpets is a good investment.
Clean Floors and Doors: For wood floors and doors, make sure you use cleaner that is wood-friendly. Mop the floor thoroughly, making sure you change the water regularly. If necessary, you may need to hand-scrub corners and floor edges. I also recommend cleaning the baseboards and door frames as well.
Clean Drapes and Blinds: Remove all drapes and blinds. Drapes may need to be dry-cleaned. If so, make sure you tell the dry-cleaner about the smoke smell and that it needs to be removed. If your drapes can be washed, wash them in hot water (if possible). Add some vinegar to the wash water - vinegar is a great neutralizer and natural cleaner. Use one cup vinegar per full load. Just make sure you add the vinegar to the water before placing drapes into washer. Vinegar is a natural bleach and will fade colors so you should never let fabrics sit for a long time in vinegar and water.
To clean non-fabric or non-wooden blinds, place the blinds in the bathtub. Fill the bathtub with hot water and a cup of vinegar. Let blinds soak in the tub for 15 minutes then scrub them using a fine scrub brush. Hang blinds to dry.
Clean Windows and Mirrors: Clean windows and mirrors using vinegar and water. Make sure you clean into corners, and while you're there, clean the sills and window frames, too.
Before you know it, all will be fresh as a daisy!