OT: Anybody had any success in getting rid of cigarrette smell from a home?

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Submitted by jimminycrikut on March 30, 2011 - 11:16am

Hi everyone,

We're about to purchase a home. The current home owners are cigarrette smokers and lived in this house for 10 years. I'd like to know if it's easy to get rid of the smoke smell. I plan to repaint the house and redo the flooring. Will this get rid of the smoke odor? Or will the smell surface during summer times? Anybody had any success in covering it up?

I'd appreciate any feedback or tips anyone has to offer. Thanks in advance.

Submitted by bearishgurl on March 30, 2011 - 12:15pm.

Wash the walls in TSP before you paint. Do not keep ANY of their carpeting or cloth window coverings, including cornice boards, cloth-covered vertical blinds or silk shades. If any custom window coverings are VERY expensive and in good shape otherwise, spray lightly with Febreze and leave them draped over tables or chairs outside for a week if no rain is expected. Flip them over and spray again after half the week is over. Better yet, if there is a clothesline there or you can string a makeshift one, hang them up outside and spray both sides with Febreze.

Luckily, it is getting warmer and you can air the house out with the windows open now.

Remove all accoustical (crunchy) ceiling and retexture. Paint all ceilings regardless. Scrub any rust off the bathroom ceilings and repaint with Kilz. It's a pure white color and is sold at Home Depot.

Many smokers who smoke inside do so primarily in the kitchen, living room and bathrooms but the odor permeates everything in the house/apt.

Submitted by jimminycrikut on March 30, 2011 - 1:14pm.

Thanks bearishgurl. This is helpful. Should we also clean the ventilation/duct system?

Submitted by bearishgurl on March 30, 2011 - 1:17pm.

jimminycrikut wrote:
Thanks bearishgurl. This is helpful. Should we also clean the ventilation/duct system?

Yes, but you will probably have to pay a service to do this as it requires specialized equipment.

Submitted by dbapig on March 30, 2011 - 1:19pm.

Don't mean to hijack the thread but at least the previous residents were normal people.

I never understood why some smokers would come out of their home to patio/yard to smoke and let all the smoke escape. I always wondered wouldn't smoking in enclosed place (own house/apt/car) be better as it will allow them to get more enjoyment out of their expensive cigarettes....

Submitted by sdduuuude on March 30, 2011 - 3:45pm.

It is not an impossible problem, but one to take seriously.

I have a secret formula that works very well. This has worked on two houses for me, including my current residence.

Three aspects to formula:

1) Change out all the soft materials - carpet, drapes, etc. (no secret there)

2) Clean everything with a strong ammonia-based solution. We renovated our current home in 1998. Smoke residue was caked on every wall of the house. The aluminum window frames were badly yellowed. I tried everything - comet, bleach, paint thinner, engine cleaner, lacquer thinner. Even with elbow grease, walls and windows were yellow. One easy wipe with ammmonia left me with a yellow rag and shiny new aluminum. Same with the panelling/walls.

3) Oil-based primer and only oil-based primer. My first try, I put on three coats of water-based primer. I believe Kilz brand has both water and oil-based. The water-based one won't work. Yellow stains leaked through every time, even on ammonia-wiped walls. Oil-based primer does much better. Some walls still needed two oil-based coats.

Duct-cleaning service may not work, either. Those services are designed to remove dust, not caked-on smoke residue. I would go in with ammonia and clean what you can by hand. That probably isn't a big source of the smell, though.

Good luck.

Submitted by jimminycrikut on March 31, 2011 - 10:07am.

Thanks sdduuuude. Should I also clean the kitchen cabinets/doors using the same solution and replace the baseboards/crown moldings?

Submitted by NotCranky on March 31, 2011 - 10:12am.

Just as a masking agent for the duct work you can put one of those jelly type air fresheners in the return air line or the FAU.

Submitted by ranchob on March 31, 2011 - 11:03am.

I live in a different state and had a problem with smoke odor from the fireplace. I hired someone to use a machine to neutralize the odor. It worked perfectly, no odor, and was told that the same machine works for cigarette odor also. Don't know who does this kind of work in San Diego but I am sure you can find someone.

Submitted by lifeizfunhuh on March 31, 2011 - 12:14pm.

The machine you are thinking of is an "ozinator." They are commonly used to remove smoke odors caused by fire damage. Costs about $600. ServPro has them.

Submitted by 5yearwaiter on March 31, 2011 - 12:28pm.

jimminycrikut wrote:
Hi everyone,

We're about to purchase a home. The current home owners are cigarrette smokers and lived in this house for 10 years. I'd like to know if it's easy to get rid of the smoke smell. I plan to repaint the house and redo the flooring. Will this get rid of the smoke odor? Or will the smell surface during summer times? Anybody had any success in covering it up?

I'd appreciate any feedback or tips anyone has to offer. Thanks in advance.

Few tips from these links how to eliminate

How to Remove Cigarette Smoke Odor

http://www.ehow.com/how_4837309_remove-c...

How to Eliminate Cigarette Odor

http://www.ehow.com/how_113209_eliminate...

How to Remove Cigarette Smell From an Apartment

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/remove-ciga...

Also you can lit some sort of aroma sticks non stop in the rooms and they continuously provide a very plesant smoke. If you do this over the period of time from the Walls one can get rid of this cigarette smell permanently.

Submitted by sdduuuude on March 31, 2011 - 12:34pm.

jimminycrikut wrote:
Thanks sdduuuude. Should I also clean the kitchen cabinets/doors using the same solution and replace the baseboards/crown moldings?

Yes. I would clean everything w/ ammonia. Then, if you are going to paint it, use TSP like the other poster mentioned. They are not substitutes for each other.

Not sure why you would get rid of the baseboards/crown. Just clean & prep them well.

The ammonia gets rid of the film and TSP preps the surface for primer.

The more delicate the surface, use less ammonia-to-water ratio. Try it somewhere first to see if it causes any trouble.

Submitted by sdduuuude on March 31, 2011 - 12:45pm.

Rustico wrote:
Just as a masking agent for the duct work you can put one of those jelly type air fresheners in the return air line or the FAU.

I think there are two issues - one is odor and the other is color/staining.

Also, there are three kinds of surfaces - hard, semi-porous, and soft.

Hard surfaces (panelling, ducts, baseboard, cabinets) probably aren't so bad for odor.

For hard surfaces you don't paint, you will want to clean them so they aren't yellow-ish and don't smell. Probably don't need to mask the odor if you clean the hard surfaces.

For hard surfaces you do paint, you will need to clean them for odor and oil-prime them them so the stains don't seep through the paint.

Semi-pourous stuff ( panelling, drywall) will take on some odor. If you aren't going to paint it or replace it, you may be stuck with a bit of odor. I would clean, oil-prime and paint all the drywall and panelling to remove the odor.

Soft stuff is the worst for odor and you can't really paint it or clean it well. Best to get rid of it. If you have to keep it and a good cleaning doesn't work, maybe one of those machines or air-fresheners or ozone filters will do.

Submitted by svelte on April 1, 2011 - 2:54pm.

dbapig wrote:
I never understood why some smokers would come out of their home to patio/yard to smoke and let all the smoke escape. I always wondered wouldn't smoking in enclosed place (own house/apt/car) be better as it will allow them to get more enjoyment out of their expensive cigarettes....

Lol.

Yeah, it kills me when i see'em driving with the cig hanging out the window. Don't want that stuff in their car interior, but it's just fine for their lungs.

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