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How to Remove Cigarette Odor from a Rental House

A Oxbow Renter Smoking InsideOne of the more difficult clean-up jobs is getting rid of the smell of cigarette smoke in an Oxbow rental home. Whether you allow your tenants to smoke, didn’t always keep in mind to add in your smoking policy in the lease, or if you did and had a strict no-smoking policy, you certainly may still be left to deal with the smelly chore 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 be a health risk to future tenants and must be taken very seriously.

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

Air it Out

The best place to start when you’re about 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 use fans or an air purifier to circulate the air. There are air purifiers notably devised to get rid of the smell of cigarette smoke from the air. If your budget allows, this is most probably a good option. Certainly, you may need to leave the fans running for as long as possible – potentially even many days – to help alleviate the smell.

Wipe Everything Down

While at this time you’re 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 whole surface.

Since working on the ceilings, consider cleaning the light fixtures and ceiling fans up there, too! Wipe the tops and bottoms of ceiling fan blades to always make sure 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. Make sure to clean the tops of the door trim, baseboard, and other nooks and crannies.

Though, it’s critical to make mention that just cleaning the walls frequently won’t get rid of the smell. And paint will help, but it won’t eliminate the smell, either. To effectively remove the cigarette smoke smell, you will need to apply an odor-sealing primer, then a good quality paint over the top.

Wash the Windows

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

If your rental has fabric shades or curtains, investigate to see if you can wash them in a washing machine. If not, you may want to consider replacing them all the way. Cigarette smoke is a real headache to get out of fabrics.

Sanitize Cabinets and Counters

Always keep in mind to clean the inside and outside of kitchen and bathroom cabinets, closets, and drawers. Go through each one, clear any debris, and then wipe down both inside and out with a cleaning solution. For countertops and islands, have recourse to a sanitizing cleaner to rid them of smoke residue. If the smoke smell persists, try putting a bowl of dry coffee grounds or white vinegar inside the smelly cabinet or drawer and leaving it there for a few days. This may help get the cigarette smell out.

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 entire carpet, let it sit for at least an hour, and then vacuum. Various Oxbow property managers decide to hire professional carpet cleaners when preparing a rental for a new tenant. They may be able to completely remove the odor from the carpet. As a rule, however, the best option is to replace the carpets and pad fully.

For hard surface floors, clean thoroughly by mopping with a proven disinfectant. If you’ve got various floors to clean, change your mop water often to completely make sure that the smoke smell isn’t just getting spread back around.

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


Still, if in case deep cleaning your rental property is something other than what you’d want to spend your time on, take into account giving the professionals at Real Property Management Optimum a call. We can help with everything from cleaning services to finding a very good new tenant for you – and much more! Contact us online today to see what we can do for you.

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