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How to Get Rid of Smoke Smell in Apartment

Published by Nanni on Friday, July 13, 2012

Photo credit by Anders Adermark

Smoke smells have a way of working into just about everything in an apartment, from the carpeting to the drapes and even the paint. It can take some effort to remove the stale aroma caused by cigarette smoke, or even the smoke from a small accident in the kitchen. Fortunately, there are several strategies that can help take away the stale smell and freshen your space quickly.

If you are looking for ways to get rid of the smell of stale cigarettes after a party, one of the best things you can do is open all the windows and allow the place to air out. While this does not completely get rid of the noxious smell, it can go a long way toward minimizing the scent. Cutting into the smell of stale smoke even a little will make it much easier to get rid of the rest, which means that you will spend less time cleaning the carpets, upholstery, and the drapes.

Baking soda is a great way to begin removing smoke odors from carpets, window treatments, and furniture upholstery. In order to get the best effect, spread an even layer of baking soda over all the fabrics in the room. Let the baking soda set for a day, or at least overnight, then vacuum up the residue. Much of the smell will be gone after the first round, but keep in mind you may have to repeat this a couple more times over the next several days to really get the deep rooted scent from the carpeting and the underlying pad.

Steam cleaning will also go a long way toward restoring the scent of sweet air in your apartment. You can rent a steam cleaner at a local supermarket or other retail outlet for relatively little money, and do the carpets and upholstery in a couple of hours. For the window treatments, take them down and send them to the cleaners. That will get rid of any residual odors, as well as give the drapes a crisp look to go with the clean smell.

Don’t overlook other porous materials in the apartment that have been exposed to the smoke. This includes lampshades, blinds, and wall tapestries. A vinegar and water solution on vinyl blinds and lampshades works very well. For fabric blinds and lampshades, look for some type of color fast cleaner that will remove the scent but not damage the hue of the material.

While you clean, set out small containers of white vinegar around the house. The acid in the vinegar helps to cut through the tar and resins left from the smoking, and can help to absorb some of the odor. While the vinegar smell may seem a little strong, it gradually dissipates, so you won’t have to live with it long. Be careful about applying even a light misting of vinegar to some woods and upholstery, since it could change the color.

If you’ve moved into an apartment previously occupied by smokers, the only way to rid of the stale smoke smell is to have the walls painted and the carpet professionally cleaned. Talk with the landlord about doing this before your move in, or making arrangements to do the work yourself and take the cost off the first month’s rent. The landlord gets the benefit of a fresh smelling apartment, and you can enjoy your new place without feeling as if you’ve moved into an ashtray.

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