nicotine stained wall

A nicotine stained wall halfway through the initial cleaning process.

The lingering smell of cigarette smoke in a home can cause a buyer to sour on a property that is otherwise perfect for them. This is understandable. There is, perhaps, no smell quite as off-putting as stale tobacco odor. It seeps into the very bones of a house. The smoke’s nicotine clings to the walls, causing them to yellow and absorb the pungent stench. 

If you find yourself tasked with removing tobacco odor from a property, you have quite the job ahead of you. It might be a difficult challenge, but it is not an impossible one. We are hopeful that this blog can help you get the results you need. 

DIY Tobacco Odor Removal

The internet is full of DIY suggestions for how to remove that persistent tobacco smell. Some good, some bad, but all are time-consuming. Solutions like these are certainly capable of making a dent in the problem.

 A few techniques we recommend are:

  • Open up all the windows to let the property air out. Keep them open as long as the weather permits. 
  • Using a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and hot water, wipe down everything, including floors, tabletop surfaces, knickknacks, fans, doorknobs, everything. 
  • Clean all fabrics. Everything from the sheets to the drapes needs to be washed. For larger objects that can not be placed into the washing machine, sprinkle them with baking soda and let them sit for a few days to absorb the smell. Then vacuum them to remove the baking soda.
  • Steam clean the carpets. Steam cleaners are available for rent in a variety of places, including hardware stores and some grocery stores. 
  • Replace all HVAC filters.
  • Place bowls of baking soda in the affected rooms and leave them in place for a full day. 

Consult a Professional Cleaning Service

Eliminating tobacco odor is no small feat, especially if the exposure took place over a prolonged period.

Nicotine stained ceiling being cleaned

A nicotine stained ceiling halfway through being cleaned.

When it comes to preparing a smoker’s property for sale, cutting corners on odor removal is not an option. When you show a property, you want the buyer to imagine themselves living there, and no one wants to imagine living in a home that smells bad. 

The best option for eliminating all of the smell is to hire a professional cleaning crew. Spaulding Decon has extensive experience in eliminating the stench from smoking. That experience has lead to us creating a tried and true odor elimination process. 

Our Three-Step Process to Eliminating Cigarette Smell

Our three-step process has been perfected over time to eradicate even the most stubborn tobacco smells. 

  1. Wash the Walls: We are not talking about a simple washing, and we go well past vinegar, baking soda, and other home remedies. Our professional, highly-trained technicians use products specifically designed to eat through tar and nicotine. This initial cleaning will strip away all the built-up residue restoring the walls to their natural state.

    cleaning tobacco residue from walls of a home

    Spaulding Decon technician spraying down the door in a smoker’s home.


  2. Installing an Air Scrubber: The air itself will be filled with the lingering, stale scent of tobacco, and although opening the windows will help, it is often not enough. An air scrubber draws in contaminated air and uses purification filters to remove contaminants from the air. We use the appropriate air scrubber for the size of the home. This air scrubber will stay in place and run while we are cleaning until a day after we paint. 
  3. Sealing the Walls: Now that the walls are cleaned and the air is being scrubbed, we must ensure that we take steps to ensure that this can not happen again. Before repainting your walls, we add a sealant to protect the walls from future cigarette stench or nicotine stains seeping into them. This will help to ensure you will not have to repeat this time consuming process. 

Restoring a heavy smoker’s home to a healthy space has a multitude of challenges. Whether you are a realtor working for a client, selling a property yourself, or just looking to clean up your own home, your time is probably better spent on other tasks besides steam cleaning carpets and scrubbing walls. 

Contact us to get an estimate on how we can help get your property back to pristine shape.

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