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How to Remove Cigarette Odor from a Rental House

A Portsmouth Renter Smoking InsideOne of the more demanding clean-up jobs is getting rid of the smell of cigarette smoke in a Portsmouth rental home. Whether you allow your tenants to smoke, didn’t consider putting in your smoking policy in the lease, or if you did and had a strict no-smoking policy, you may still be left to deal with the smelly concern of cleaning up the unpleasant 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 develop into a health risk to future tenants and must be taken very seriously.

To help make your clean-up job as beneficial and productive as possible, here are some cleaning tips pointed out by the pros.

Air it Out

The best place to start when preparing 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 operate fans or an air purifier to circulate the air. There are air purifiers precisely designed to take out the smell of cigarette smoke from the air. If your budget allows, this is possibly an acceptable option. Anyway, you may need to leave the fans running for as long as possible – in all likelihood, even a few days – to assist in alleviating the smell.

Wipe Everything Down

At the same time you’re airing out your rental, your next step is to wipe down every surface in every room – starting with the ceilings. Putting into service 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 lightly spray the general surface.

As you’re working on the ceilings, put in mind to clean the light fixtures and ceiling fans up there, too! Wipe the tops and bottoms of ceiling fan blades to ascertain 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. Always remember to clean the tops of the door trim, baseboard, and other nooks and crannies.

Still, it’s critical to understand that just cleaning the walls many times won’t get rid of the smell. And paint will help, but it won’t clean up the smell, either. To accurately 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 very important to tender all of the windows and window coverings in your rental property a deep clean. If you have blinds, that suggests wiping down each piece of the blinds on both sides. Clean the windows with your favorite glass cleaner, then wipe down the frames and sills.

If your rental has fabric shades or curtains, look to see if you can wash them in a washing machine. If not, you may want to consider replacing them entirely. Cigarette smoke is such a pain to get out of fabrics.

Sanitize Cabinets and Counters

Consider cleaning the inside and outside of kitchen and bathroom cabinets, closets, and drawers. Go through each one, eliminate any debris, and then wipe down both inside and out with a cleaning solution. For countertops and islands, apply 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 many days. This may help get rid of the cigarette smell.

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 whole carpet, let it sit for at least an hour, and then vacuum. Several Portsmouth property managers take to hiring professional carpet cleaners instantly when preparing a rental for a new tenant. They may be able to do away with the odor from the carpet. Generally, however, the best option is to replace the carpets and pad completely.

For hard surface floors, clean thoroughly by mopping with an acceptable disinfectant. If you’ve got several floors to clean, change your mop water often to always make certain that the smoke smell isn’t just getting spread back around.

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


Still, if you’ve ascertained that deep cleaning your rental property is something other than what you’d aim to spend your time on, seriously think about giving the professionals at Real Property Management Seacoast New Hampshire a call. We can professionally help with everything from cleaning services to finding a splendid new tenant for you – and much more! Contact us online today to see what we can do for you.

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