How to Get Cooking Smoke Out of Apartment

1. Give everything a deep clean

Stale tobacco smells can work their way into many nooks and crannies in your apartment. Begin by opening all the windows. If you have portable fans, place them in front of the windows to help circulate the fresh air throughout the space.

Then, it’s time to clean: Spray floors, walls, windows and ceilings with a mixture of half hot water and half vinegar. For really bad cigarette odors, you can use a solution made of a quarter-cup of vinegar, a half-cup of baking soda, a half-cup of ammonia and a gallon of hot water. Wash all hard surfaces thoroughly, including kitchen and bathroom cabinets plus countertops.

Toss all laundry-safe fabrics, such as curtains, bedding and sofa covers — if you’re renting a furnished apartment — into the washing machine and add a half-cup of vinegar. Because the sun’s UV rays may neutralize cigarette smoke odors, hang everything outside to dry if possible. For other soft furnishings like lampshades or rugs you can’t machine-wash, a thick layer of baking soda can help soak up odors overnight. You can vacuum up the baking soda the next day. Be sure to get rid of the vacuum bag afterward.

For tiled surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen, mix up nine parts of water to one part of bleach. Wash everything, then rinse with water.

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2. Wipe Down Surfaces With a Vinegar Solution

Mix together a cup of white vinegar with 2 cups of warm water and a half cup of baking soda. Use a sponge to scrub the walls, counter tops, and other hard surfaces with this mixture. Set up fans to dry out everything.

Apartments.com also suggests wiping out the inside of your cabinets, as smoke can make its way inside the cabinets and become trapped.

Step Four: Repaint

After removing all the tar and cigarette build-up from the walls, you are ready to repaint. You have also cleaned the walls and deglossed any eggshell or satin enamel. This will ensure that any regular paint will bond firmly. There is no need for odor-blocking paint.

Cosmetic considerations may lead you to prime the walls first, for instance, if you are switching from a dark color to a light color. Some new paints claim to mix color and primer in one. After deglossing, there may be nothing special left to be done with the walls or ceiling. Just read the label and paint however you normally would, or hire a pro painter. Note that you should not skip the final rinse when washing the walls, above. If you leave TSP residue on the walls, your new paint may dissolve before it bonds.

4. Details Matter: Light Bulbs and Air Filters

Change your light bulbs. Working similarly to scent-diffusers, light bulbs may disperse nicotine residue throughout your rental space the same way once they’re turned on.

Heating and air filters tend to spread smoke odors and residuals around the living area; your best bet is to replace them altogether.

5. Repaint the apartment

Check your lease or speak to your landlord about getting a fresh coat of paint for your apartment once it’s been cleaned. Some landlords will pay for the paint and supplies if you offer to do it yourself, while others might agree to hire professionals and split the cost with you — especially if you make it part of the agreement when you first agree to rent the apartment.

Even if the landlord won’t kick in any cash, painting the walls after they’ve been washed will help get rid of any lingering cigarette smoke odors. Plus, it will also cover up any remaining yellow or brown stains. You can buy an odor-blocking primer to further reduce whatever smells remain. Roll it on before you paint.

Never paint over walls that have not first been cleaned. Smoke stains and odors will just start coming through the paint a few weeks later.

6. Refresh Cabinets and Upholstery

Cigarette smoke can certainly find its way into cabinets with doors and cloth furniture, so you should definitely go over the remaining furniture inside the suite.

Sprinkle baking soda over upholstery in your rental unit such as sofas and beds. Tap it into the fabric gently and let it sit overnight. Use a vacuum to suck it up the next day. Alternatively, you may wet a lint-free rag with white vinegar and rub down your fabric furniture to get rid of the smoke odor. For cabinets and drawers, you can use the same method to wipe down the surfaces, spray the inside with a light white vinegar mist, and leave the doors open to air dry the inside.

5. Steam Clean the Furniture

Steam clean the furniture if the baking soda does not get rid of the smell. Rent a small hand-held steam cleaner and follow the instructions to get the furniture really clean.

Step One: Soft and Disposable

Anything that is soft, like curtains, or replaceable, like smoke detectors or mini-blinds, should be removed and thrown away. Replace the smoke detectors now, replace the rest later.

Don’t want to use chemicals? Here’s how to get smoke smell out of your house naturally

If you’re concerned about toxic or harsh chemicals that may be in some cleaning products, there are several naturally-derived things you can do. Place activated charcoal, apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar in a bowl in each room. If you are a coffee lover, you could also use coffee grounds. All these substances can help to absorb odors in a non-invasive way.

You can also mask the smoke smell with vanilla extract. Use a cloth to wipe it over different surfaces in the home, or put some on cotton balls. You can also do the same with essential oils or use scented candles to get rid of the smell. House plants are also excellent at absorbing chemicals and purifying the air. Buy some and place them throughout the house.

See Ya, Smoke Smell

Moving into a new home that stinks of smoke is not a pleasant experience. But thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to try and eliminate the odors once and for all.

Once you’ve got rid of them for good, try a nice room spray or blend of essential oils to add new life and fragrance to a room. Soon, the smoke smell will be a distant memory.

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