How to Rid an Apartment of Cigarette Smoke Smell

If you have just kicked the habit, you'll want to kick something else too -- the lingering stench of cigarette smoke out of your apartment. Cigarette smoke is among the most pungent and stubborn of odors, and infiltrates everything it touches. You'll need to launch a comprehensive, offensive strategy to eradicate it.

Begin by using an appropriate cleaning product for the surface of your kitchen and bathroom cabinets and counters. Then clean the walls, furniture and carpets. If you still detect a whiff of smoke, a few other proactive steps should seal your victory.

Clean the Walls

  1. Remove fabric window treatments and launder them or have them dry-cleaned. Wipe down aluminum shades or blinds by spraying them with a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water or, if you prefer, vinegar at full strength.

  2. Fill one bucket with 1/4 cup of ammonia and warm water, and another bucket with water only. The latter will be your rinse bucket.

  3. Saturate a soft sponge with the ammonia solution and then wring it out. Clean the walls, from top to bottom, by working in manageable, 3-foot sections. Follow up by rinsing the walls with water and another sponge. Replace the water in the rinse bucket when it gets dark and dirty.

Clean Fabric Furniture

  1. Place removable cushions from couches and chairs on the floor. Sprinkle them and the the base of the couches and chairs with a liberal layer of baking soda, which effectively absorbs odors.

  2. Work the baking soda into the fabric. Minimize the “spray factor” by placing your hand inside a plastic bag and slowly working the baking soda into the fabric.

  3. Let the baking soda sit on the fabric for as long as possible -- at least overnight or for 24 hours. Then vacuum it up with the appropriate attachment. You might have to repeat the application, depending on the strength of the cigarette odor and how long you left the original application on.

Clean the Carpets

  1. Deodorize your carpets one room at a time so you can move furniture around as you work. Cigarette smoke settles even underneath couches, chairs and other heavy objects, and you'll be glad in the end that you were thorough.

  2. Sprinkle a liberal layer of baking soda on the carpet of one empty room at a time, starting at the far end. Stop every so often, so you can bend down and work the baking soda into the carpet fibers with your plastic bag-covered hand until you reach the door.

  3. Let the baking soda work on the odor at least overnight or for 24 hours. Then vacuum it up, moving over the carpet in sections, first horizontally and then vertically.

Finishing Touches

  1. Fill several small bowls at least half-full with white or cider vinegar -- two other effective “odor chasers.” Place the bowls around your apartment to absorb the cigarette odor.

  2. Place fresh coffee grounds, dried herbs or flowers in a bowl to absorb the cigarette odor. Alternatively, place a houseplant in each room in your apartment.

  3. Infuse your apartment with some soft scents by simmering cinnamon sticks, orange peels or cloves on your stove. Or place your favorite spice inside cheesecloth or knee-high pantyhose; fasten the end, and place it on top of your apartment's heating registers to release the scent.

  4. Tip

    Nothing ventilates an apartment better than clean, fresh air, so keep your windows open when the weather permits.