How to get rid of smoke smell


Betty asked: How do I remove smoke smell from a bedroom, feather boas, dream catchers, etc. I had a small fire in my bedroom from a heating pad that was left on. I can’t get the smell out of the bedroom or the box spring. I have several feather things and fur stuff. How can I clean this and get the smell out?

Smoke smell can be strong and difficult to remove when the items cannot be washed. In these cases, it may take more time, but there are other odor-absorbing methods that can be  used. Choose from the list below to find an option that works for you.

You Will Need:

  • Clothes line or Drying rack

Steps to Remove the Smoke Smell:

  1. When items cannot be washed or dry cleaned, sometimes the only way to remove the smell is to allow them to air out.
  2. Place a drying rack outdoors or near an open window. If possible, use a clothesline, but avoid leaving items in direct sunlight or they may fade.
  3. Hang the affected items on the rack and allow the fresh air to move through them.
  4. Leave them outside for several hours, repeat for several days if the smell persists.

You Will Need:

  • Baking soda
  • Brown paper sack

Steps to Remove the Smoke Smell:

  1. Baking soda absorbs unwanted odors well and can be used for items such as feather boas, stuffed animals, wigs, etc. that cannot be washed or cleaned with other methods.
  2. Place the item in a brown paper sack.
  3. Add baking soda to the bag.
  4. Close the bag by folding over the top.
  5. Shake the bag gently to move the baking soda around and cover all areas of the object.
  6. Allow the baking soda to set on the object for several hours.
  7. Take the bag outside and remove the item.
  8. Shake the item to remove the excess baking soda.
  9. Repeat as necessary until the smell is removed.

You Will Need:

  • Fresh coffee grounds
  • Brown paper sack

Steps to Remove the Smoke Smell:

  1. Place the smoky item inside of the brown paper sack.
  2. Add fresh coffee grounds to the bag.
  3. Close the bag and allow the coffee grounds to absorb the odors for several hours to overnight. It is not necessary to shake the coffee grounds around or place them directly on the item. As long as they are in the bag, they will absorb odors.
  4. Remove the item and shake off coffee grounds, if necessary.
  5. Repeat until the smell is removed.

You Will Need:

  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Spray bottle

Steps to Remove the Smoke Smell:

  1. If the item can tolerate moisture, vinegar is a great odor-fighter.
  2. Fill a bottle with one part vinegar and one part water. For especially strong odors, straight vinegar can be used.
  3. Test a small, hidden area on the piece by spraying some of the vinegar onto it. Allow it to set for several hours. If there are no unwanted effects to the surface or color, it should be safe to apply the vinegar to the entire piece.
  4. Mist the piece lightly with the vinegar and water mixture.
  5. Allow it to air dry.
  6. There may be a slight vinegar smell which will dissipate in a few days.
  • If the item can be dry cleaned, that may be a quick way to clean it and remove the smoke smell.
  • Depending on the severity of the smoke damage, it may take time and repeated applications to fully remove the smell from the item. As long as the item is not becoming damaged from the method, it is safe to repeat it multiple times.
  • For the most sensitive items, it is best to leave them outside, in the shade, on a breezy day. The air movement will flush the odor from the item.
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Commercial Odor Removing Products

If it doesn’t have a cleaning agent in it, you’re not going to get rid of the smoke smell. Scent-generating deodorizers only serve to mask the smell. Two example of odor removing products are:

  • Febreze which uses a chemical compound that has been used in household and custodial cleaning products for quite some time. The sugar-like substance doesn’t necessarily “clean” the odors out, but acts as an absorbent like baking soda or charcoal, to help soak the odor out.
  • Activated charcoal cleaning products is used not only to filter water and other things, but is also used to soak up odors, just like baking soda. If you see activated charcoal in an odor removing product, it’s likely to succeed at removing smoking odors over time.

Source: How To Get Rid of Things.

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Back to Fact Sheets

How to get rid of smoke smell in house:

  • prime and paint
  • remove wallpaper
  • update curtains
  • clean or replace carpet
  • have ductwork cleaned
  • baking soda in a bowl

how to get smoke smell out

After I mentioned it to Allyson, she let me in on a little secret…volcanic rock. I’ll be honest, I was skeptical. Really skeptical. With nothing to lose but $15, it was worth a shot.

eliminate smell of smoke

How volcanic rock work:

  • absorb moisture and odors
  • natural, non-toxic and environmentally friendly
  • place them in discreet places i.e.: under beds, sofas, etc
  • recharge by placing them in the sun

Crazy, right? We started using them last fall, only putting them out in the sun twice and when we returned to our lake cottage this spring, there was absolutely no evidence of odor thanks to these volcanic rocks! I’m still blown away. Who knew it could be so easy?

You can use them for pet odors, shoe bins, and even in a refrigerator just as you would baking soda.

Have you tried volcanic rocks before or have you had a smoke smell in your home?

entertaining expert and lifestyle blogger Julie Blanner

Many of the links on this blog are affiliate links. receives a small commission when certain items are purchased, but the price is the same for you. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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4. Clean Carpeting/Rugs

Carpets take up a lot of surface area, so they can be one of the worst offenders when it comes to trapping cigarette odors — even though smoke rises.

  • Sprinkle baking soda over the carpet or rugs.
  • Vacuum it up after 30 minutes or longer
  • Spritz the carpet with a light mist of two parts water to one part vinegar (if the odor remains).
  • Turn on a fan to speed drying time.
  • Use more baking soda afterward (if necessary).

Related: Ask Lucas #10: How Much Can a Landlord Charge for Carpet Damage?

6. Refresh Cabinets and Furniture

Cigarette odor even finds its way into closed cupboards and drawers.

  • Wipe washable surfaces down with one cup of white vinegar per quart of water, using a soft, lint-free cloth.
  • Spritz the insides of cupboards and drawers with a fine vinegar mist.
  • Leave the doors and drawers open to air out and dry.
  • If any odor remains, place bowls of dry coffee grounds and wads of newspaper inside the cupboards or drawers for a few days.

Not many people will want to rent a place that reeks of cigarette odor, even other smokers. If you don’t already have a no-smoking policy in your lease, put one in, and let potential tenants know that no smoking is allowed.

Share Your Techniques

What other techniques have you used to eliminate a smoke smell from a rental unit? Share your “worst” story in the comments below.

Topics:  For Landlords, Maintenance & Renovations, Move-in/Move-out

Kathy is an award-winning investigative journalist, not to mention a writer, brand blogger, decor/DIY expert, renter, commercial landlord. She also writes for brands such as Behr, Kroger, Canon and Black+Decker on topics pertaining to home and apartment decorating and maintenance.

Cozy - Online Rent Collection and Tenant Screening

White Vinegar

There is a chance you know about this method as a lot of people use it, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is pretty efficient. You probably have a cup holder in your vehicle, so make sure to add some white vinegar to a cup and place it there. Feel free to leave it for several hours or overnight for optimal results. In the morning, there is a good chance that the odor will become less strong and more bearable than before.

smell smoke in the car


Love the smell of cinnamon? A lot of people do, and this is why this is their favorite hack to remove the smoke odor from a vehicle. The process is a bit more complicated than the previous steps as it requires you to put cinnamon in a small pot with water and boil it. Use a travel mug to transport the boiled cinnamon-water mixture to your car. Make sure that the windows are shut and let the ingredient blend work. You should keep it in your car until the water cools down to the standard room temperature.

smoking cigarette inside of a car

Nothing Can Replace Thorough Cleaning

The hacks mentioned above can be extremely helpful in getting rid of the smoke odor, but there is no substitute for thorough cleaning of your car. This is why we will explain how to perform vehicle cleaning in a way that focuses on dealing with the cigarette smell. The first thing you want to do is to ensure that you park your car in a location that is well-ventilated. Your driveway is the perfect spot, although a parking lot will also do. We suggest steering clear of a small and tight garage.

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smoking in the car

First, roll down your windows and keep them like that during the cleaning process. Opened windows along with proper ventilation will remove a small portion of the smell themselves. Now, throw out those cigarette butts that have been in the car ashtray for days. While you are doing that, why not throw away the other litter as well?

The next step is to take your vacuum and focus on thoroughly cleaning the interiors. Make sure that you have enough time and patience because you do not want to miss a cigarette but that fell on the carpet and other debris and dirt that needs to be vacuumed. We suggest taking out floor mats and carpets and allowing them to air out in the open for a while. You might have specific agents that you use on leather seats or any other type of upholstery you may have. If it is your first time using the agent, make sure to read the instructions and confirm that you can use it on the interior surface. You can also try using white vinegar combined with water as it is known to be a natural cleaner for all types of surfaces. Make sure to wipe out everything, including the dashboard and the steering wheel as them and the upholstery, are probably critical sources of smell.

You should also ensure to ventilate the duct system by turning the engine on and setting the full fan and lowest air conditioner temperature settings. Make sure that windows are down and that you turned off air recirculation to secure the conditions needed for blowing out the smell. In the meantime, look for the location of the air intake and spray a neutralizer directly into the system. Next, change the settings to maximum heat and spray the neutralizer directly into the system again. This is the best way to ensure that you removed as much of the smell as possible from the air condition vents and interior ducts.

The bad news is that sometimes you cannot remove the smoke odor from your car completely. It might have been there for years, and there is nothing you can do about it now. In fact, the only solution is to replace your car mats and carpets, as well as the upholstery. While you are doing that, make sure that you also replace the air filtration system. And once you are done with all that, the only reasonable thing to do is to put the “no smoking” sign inside your vehicle so that everyone would know that lighting a cigarette is not allowed.


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