When the previous owners of a house you have just purchased were smokers, it’s almost guaranteed that the smell of smoke will linger unless you take action. So how do you get rid of the pervasive, stale smell of smoke?
1. Wash everything. Wipe down baseboards, doors, and plastic blinds, as well as light fixtures and fan blades. Anything you can take down or off the walls and windows – do so, and scrub them in the sink (or hose blinds down outside).
2. Remove carpet and padding and replace it if possible. If not, give the carpet a thorough shampooing. Change the water frequently and use professional soap. Be sure to use any extensions on the carpet shampooer to get into hard-to-reach areas.
3. Use a heavy-duty primer, like KILLZ, to seal in any smoke on the walls (including closets), then paint over. Oftentimes, smoke residue will gather on walls, making any paint job uneven and contributing to the odor of the house. With a base primer, the odor and residue is locked in; the subsequent layers of paint will not be affected by the grime underneath.
4. Spritz baseboards with a lemon juice-water mixture, set out coffee beans (they absorb odor), and burn candles. If season permits, open windows and let fresh air into the house.
5. In extreme cases, it may be necessary to have duct works and chimneys cleaned. Houses that have endured years of consistent exposure to smoke may need to have these measures taken to improve the air quality throughout.
If you are considering purchasing a house filled with the odor of smoke, take into consideration the work it may require to get the smell of smoke out of your new home. If appropriate, you may want to offer a price for the house that takes into consideration the unpleasant odors.