No matter how much you love the smell of a good cigar, the odor can become tired and unpleasant over time. If you’re not ready to give up the occasional cigar but want to keep your home smelling fresh, go back to the basics.
Capture and Contain
Try to limit smoking to only one area of the room of your home if you’re able, open windows and keep air moving through the space to prevent smoke from lingering in the air. Lingering smoke is what seeps in and clings.
When possible, try to bring sunlight into space; if your den or office is your chosen smoking space in the evening, air out the room overnight by cracking the windows and running fans. If possible, invest in a fan that incorporates a charcoal filter to remove the smoke odor. In the morning, open the curtains and invite in the sunlight.
Cigar aficionados know that air movement can destroy their favorite smoke, so be sure you invest in the best humidor cabinet for your favorite cigars before opening up space or altering the airflow and humidity level.
The smell of smoke gets captured in furniture, upholstery, and fabrics. It can also cling to your walls over time. For soft goods, put baking soda to work. Sprinkle it on your carpets and soft or open weave furniture. Leave it to sit for at least two hours, then vacuum it away with the proper attachment.
Pull down drapes and soft goods that can be machine washed and wash them in cool water on the regular cycle. In addition to detergent, add 1/2 cup of baking soda to pull odors.
It should be noted that baking soda can also be used as an abrasive. If your carpets are a fine wool weave or need to clean a piece of fabric with a sheen, don’t use baking soda. In these cases, a deodorizing spray with a neutralizer in the chemistry maybe your best option. Be sure to test this product before applying it to the whole rug or fabric panel.
White vinegar targets lingering smoke on a chemical level. Because it’s a lower pH than the higher pH smoke molecules, it does more than mask. It truly neutralizes the smoke odor by bringing back alkaline balance. Not only is white vinegar relatively inexpensive, but you can use this product passively. Fill small bowls with it and leave them in the space to evaporate. The vinegar smell will take over the smoke in the area, but only for a time. Vinegar dissipates more quickly than smoke; once the vinegar has permeated the space, open up the windows, and both smoke and vinegar scents will soon clear the area.
Mix one gallon of warm water with three tablespoons of white vinegar to clean walls in a room impacted by smoke. For those who don’t like the smell of vinegar, a few drops of essential oil, such as lavender or rosemary, can give you the benefits of vinegar without the sharp odor.
If you don’t know the last time the walls were painted, work your sponge as dry as possible. Vinegar will break down anything sticky on the walls, and you may end up with streaks if the walls are filthy or if the humidity in the space has been high. However, if you’re already planning to paint as a way to ban the smoke odor, cleaning with vinegar and rinsing with water is an inexpensive way to prep your walls.
For those who’ve already tried deodorizing fabric with baking soda, it is possible to freshen fabric with a similar mix of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Be ready for some fizzing; any remaining baking soda in the fabric may react with the spray’s vinegar. If your item still smells smoke, open the cushions as possible and check for odor in the foam or filling. If the filling is contaminated with old smoke, you may need to get the piece repaired or rebuilt by an upholsterer.
Smokers love their cigars, but you don’t have to live with the odor of old smoke. If possible, invest in furniture for your less absorbent smoking space, such as leather, and avoid heavy fabric drapes—the less porous area, the less likely that odors will linger.