How to Get Rid of Cigarette Smell and Other Unwanted Smells in Your New Apartment

How to Get Rid of Cigarette Smell

You enter your new apartment and everything looks great — the view is just as you imagined, everything looks clean, and you’re already picturing how you’re going to decorate the walls. 

But, after a while, you notice one small problem — there’s a pungent smell in the air that just doesn’t seem to go away.

While this can seem like terrible news, it’s not the end of the world, so don’t freak out. 

There are many ways to remove unpleasant smells from apartments. 

Check out this guide to learn how to get rid of cigarette smell (and other unwanted smells) from your apartment. 

The Bowl Trick 

One of the best ways to neutralize strange smells from your home is to fill small bowls with ammonia and white vinegar and place them in rooms where the smell is the strongest. 

To further combat the odor, you can also boil orange peels or lemon peels and add them to the mixture. 

However, it’s important to remember while this trick will neutralize the odor, it won’t completely eliminate it.

You will still need to take additional steps to get rid of the odor at its source. 

Clean the Carpets 

To really get to the source of a bad odor, one of the best things to do is to clean your carpets. 

This is because carpets are notorious for trapping odors. 

To get the cigarette smell out of your carpets, sprinkle on some baking soda and leave it there for 30 minutes. Then, vacuum up the baking soda. This should lift the residue from your carpet. 

If this combo doesn’t work, you can also try steam cleaning your carpet with a professional steam cleaner.

These can usually be rented or purchased at your local home goods store. Or, you can also hire a professional cleaning service to clean your carpets for you. 

Deodorize the Air 

When you’re working to get rid of bad smells from your apartment, one of the very first things you should do is air out the place. 

Open all your windows and doors, as this will create a breeze that sucks out the dirty air.

To speed up the process, you can also use a dehumidifier or an air filter. 

Clean the Ceilings and Walls 

In addition to cleaning the carpets, you should also clean the ceilings and walls.

Just like carpet, ceilings and walls can trap in bad smells. 

For eliminating odors on these surfaces, you have two options.

The first option is to use ammonia and water. All you need to do is combine two tablespoons of ammonia and water, and then take a clean cloth and rub the solution all over your walls and ceiling. 

The second way to clean your ceiling and walls is to use water and vinegar. For this solution, you’ll want to mix one part vinegar with one part water. Then, just as with the other solution, take a clean cloth and rub it all over. 

If the smell is not sufficiently moved by using one of these solutions, you may want to think about having the walls and ceilings repainted. (Of course, you’ll need to get permission from your landlord before you do this.)

Likely, if you can’t get rid of the smell from your ceiling and walls with a cleaning solution, it’s because the smell has already seeped into the paint. Adding a fresh coat of paint will help cover up the trapped odors. 

Refresh Cabinets and Furniture 

Cigarette odors and other smells can even find their way into closed cabinets and drawers.

Here’s what you can do to remove smells from these areas:

  • Wipe any washable surfaces down with a vinegar/water solution (one cup of vinegar for every quart of water) using a dry, clean cloth
  • Spritz a vinegar mist inside your drawers and cupboards
  • After spritzing down drawers and cupboards, leave them open to dry

If any odors remain after doing all of this, you can also place wads of newspapers and dry coffee grounds inside the drawers and cupboards for a few days to soak up the odors. 

Clean Blinds and Drapes 

Blinds and drapes are also big magnets for bad smells.

To clean your blinds and drapes, wash them in hot water with a splash of vinegar. But, make sure you add the vinegar to the water before you add the drapes. While vinegar is a great natural cleaner, it can also act as a bleaching agent and fade colors if you’re not careful. 

Therefore, you should never let fabrics sit in it for an extended period of time. 

If you’re not able to machine-wash your drapes and they need to be dry cleaned, be sure to mention the cigarette smell to the dry cleaner, as they’ll know what to do about it. 

If the property has blinds, carefully remove them and soak them in a warm bathtub with some vinegar. Leave them in there for a few hours, and then let them air dry. 

Clean Hard Floors

Many people think that hard floors can’t soak up odors like carpet.

While hard floors may not be able to trap odors as thoroughly as carpet, they certainly can still trap bad smells to a large degree. 

If you have hardwood floors, then you’ll want to mix warm water with a neutral pH soap. Then, use a mop to clean the entire surface, and let it air dry 

If your floors are laminate, go back to the same handy water and vinegar solution you used on your walls and ceiling. 

Clean Windows and Window Dressings 

Cleaning your windows is another very important part of the odor removal process.

But, don’t make the mistake that many people make of only cleaning the main glass surface of the window. 

When cleaning windows, the devil is in the details. Make sure you wipe down the corners, sills, and curtain rods. Whenever a breeze draws from outside, smoke can easily settle in these areas. 

You should also wash any mirrors in the apartment, as these can trap smells in the same way that windows do. 

Give the Apartment a Deep Cleaning 

Even though your apartment should be deep cleaned before you move in, it’s still a good idea to do a deep cleaning of your own to ensure that the smell completely lifts. 

In addition to cleaning everything that we’ve mentioned above, you should also clean your fridge, dishwasher, trash compactors, countertops, sinks, and any other surface in your apartment. 

Replace Air Filters and Clean Vents

If you’ve cleaned every nook and cranny of your new apartment and bad odors still linger, try wiping down the air vents and replacing your HVAC filter. 

This is a quick thing you can do to help ensure that the cigarette smoke is out of the air circulation. 

Also, keep in mind that replacing filters is often a job that only maintenance is supposed to tackle, so make sure you check with your landlord before removing them yourself.  

Change the Light Bulbs 

Here’s one more last-ditch effort to try if you still notice lingering smells after doing all of the above. 

Believe it or not, light bulbs can also trap bad odors.

So, go around the apartment and replace any old lightbulbs with new ones. 

Request Maintenance for More Serious Problems

There are some odor problems that are so serious that they can’t be fixed by doing any of the above.

For example — the smell of mold, cat pee in the carpet, or even some smoke smells that have been on the surfaces for too long. 

So, if you’ve tried cleaning your apartment to no avail, it’s time to contact your landlord.

Remember, this is a property that you’re renting, not owning, therefore serious issues such as this one are not your responsibility to fix. 

However, it’s also important to note that the smell of the apartment is something you should be aware of before signing a lease.

If you do a walk-through of an apartment that has a smoke smell and you choose to sign the lease anyway, then you can’t later complain that you didn’t know about the smell. 

This is why it’s always important to check out an apartment in person before signing a lease. 

Now You Know How to Get Rid of Cigarette Smell

As you can see, there’s a lot that you can do to get rid of bad smells in your apartment.

If you have any questions about how to get rid of cigarette smell, drop us a comment below. 

And, be sure to check out this guide to learn how to avoid rental scams.