How do you get rid off smoke smell in a house?

Asked by Corinne Woodman, Beaufort, SC Tue Jul 8, 2014

I am getting ready to list a house where the owners have been smoking for years. Any advise on how to help eliminate the smell would be appreciated. Thank you!!


Diane Christ…, Agent, Sarasota, FL
Thu Sep 25, 2014
Lots of great advice to which I would add that if owners smoked with AC system running, you won't get rid of the smoke smells without having the AC vents professionally cleaned and perhaps the air handler coils as well. It is very difficult to totally eliminate smoke odors.

If the owners don't want to spend the $$$ necessary to eliminate the smoke odors, you may want to make mention in the private remarks section of the MLS to other agents about the smoke situation. I recently set up a showing appointment for a villa to a buyer with 2 children. The strong smell of smoke was evident the minute I opened the front door. My buyer was angry that we weren't given a heads up about the smoke, he considered the showing a total waste of his and my time. Thanks goodness his children weren't along on that showing as he indicated one of them has asthma. Some buyers may not care about smokers in a home, to others it can cause health issues by just being in a smokers home.
3 votes
Yemi, Home Buyer, Austin, TX
Sat Jun 16, 2018
Real estate transactions can be tricky and you need to have a solution that will be effective for both the seller and the buyer in order to prevent any legal issues upon closing. Since cigarette odors leave visible traces of evidence it is imperative for sellers agents to convince their customer to eradicate the odor before closing in order to prevent price drops and delayed closings. Biosweep offers the best solutions for cigarette smoke odors and can eliminate most odors in 24 hours or less. If you are in need of odor removal services visit for people in the Sacramento metro are visit
0 votes
JamieUSR, Home Seller, Houston, TX
Thu Sep 25, 2014
I hope that these tips can help you:

1. Remove Cloth and Linens
2. Open all the windows and doors to air out the house and do this frequently throughout the cleaning and deodorizing process.
3. Remove all your clothing, duvets and wall treatments in preparation for a deep clean.
4. Survey your carpet if you have one.
5. Wash the floors, ceilings, window screens and other fixtures with a mixture of water and bleach.
6.Wipe all the wood, plastic and metal furniture and appliances with distilled white vinegar. ( I tried once and it seems to work out )
7. Sprinkle your fabric-covered furniture and carpets with Odoban.
8. Dust or rinse all your knick knacks.
9. Use a deodorizing primer on the washed walls.
10. Replace your air filters, furnace filters and air conditioning filters.
11. Buy an air purifier.
12. Place bowls of activated charcoal around the house.
0 votes
Perfect!!! Best answer ever!! Thank you!,
Flag Mon Mar 25, 2019
I was going to suggest the ducts and air filters as well. It's something most people don't think of, but it can make a big difference. The carpets and upholstery seem like a no-brainer, but the smell lingers in the vents as well.
Flag Fri Jun 12, 2015
annafelora, Home Buyer, Beaufort, SC
Thu Sep 25, 2014
The best stuff I have found is OdoBan. It is sold in Home Depot and Sams stores.
0 votes
Gilbert Iaro…, Agent, Augusta, GA
Thu Aug 21, 2014
Happened to the house that we live in now, we would wipe down the walls and the nicotine would seep back out. Took several coats of oil based kilz, no smoke smells for over 10 years now
0 votes
Anthony Schi…, Agent, Myrtle Beach, SC
Fri Aug 1, 2014
Steam or wash any and all fabrics, re paint everything as suggested and that should do the trick.
0 votes
Jean Pasvar, Agent, Dallas, TX
Tue Jul 8, 2014
I just sold a house with the same situation. Here is what she did. Removed all carpet & pad, had popcorn ceiling removed, entire house was primed with Kilz Max, all rooms painted including baseboards, wood trim, and new textured ceilings. Oil Base paint needs to be used where the owners smoked (this was the Master Bedroom for my client's house). The Oil Base keeps the smell from coming back. Air ducts & vents cleaned as well as the AC unit and fogged. Filters changed. Clean the windows with vinegar & water. Set out bowls of vinegar throughout the house to help absorb the odor. Remove all window treatments and either replace or clean if possible. Even the light switch covers, ceiling fans and light bulbs can hold the smell of cigarette smoke. It is a really big job. How do you think they could stand the smell on "Mad Men"? Just a different time, Right?

Good Luck with this house. Maybe you might just want to advertise to smokers. There's not too many places they can smoke indoors anymore.

Jean Pasvar, Realtor
William Davis Realty
Representing Buyers & Sellers in the Dallas area since '93
0 votes
Nick Sakalis, Agent, Syosset, NY
Tue Jul 8, 2014
Priming and Repainting is a good start. I would also either try to professionally clean all the items that would retain oders, such as carpets, drapes, seats, etc.... It may be easier or more cost efficient to to get rid of the items as well.
0 votes
Micah Matson, Agent, Athens, AL
Tue Jul 8, 2014
Re-priming and painting the walls and ceilings, getting new carpets, wiping down all other surfaces may work.
0 votes
Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Tue Jul 8, 2014
Advertise as 'smoker friendly' or adjust price to include cost of replacing all fabrics and for the wash and painting of all surfaces. Still, on a humid day, you'll still detect a smoker lived there.

The HVAC will prove problematic.

Best of success,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Palm Harbor, FL

PS: don't waste your money on ozone machines, air purifiers and masking the nicotine with an fleet of scented candles.
0 votes

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