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How to Remove Cigarette Odor from a Rental House

A Gainesville Renter Smoking InsideOne of the more complicated clean-up jobs is getting rid of the smell of cigarette smoke in a Gainesville rental home. Whether you allow your tenants to smoke, didn’t put in mind to write in your smoking policy in the lease, or if you did and had a strict no-smoking policy, you may, regrettably, still be left to deal with the smelly task of cleaning up the awful odors left behind. And it’s not just about the smell; cigarette smoke leaves residual contamination on walls, fabrics, and other surfaces. Known as “thirdhand smoke,” this residue could bring about a health risk to future tenants and must be taken very seriously.

To help make your clean-up job as usable as possible, here are some cleaning tips favored by the pros.

Air it Out

The best place to start when trying to clean up after cigarette smoke is to air out every room in your rental house. Open all windows and doors to let in the fresh air, and put into use fans or an air purifier to circulate the air. There are air purifiers particularly created to clear out the smell of cigarette smoke from the air. If your budget allows, this is presumably a safe and helpful option. In any case, you may need to leave the fans running for as long as possible – likely even a whole lot of days – to be effective to alleviate the smell.

Wipe Everything Down

While you are, at this time, airing out your rental, your next step is to wipe down every surface in every room – starting with the ceilings. Putting into use the cleaning product of your choice, wipe down smooth ceilings with a wet cloth. For popcorn ceilings, put your cleaning solution in a spray bottle and gently spray the entire surface.

Even as you’re working on the ceilings, be mindful to clean the light fixtures and ceiling fans up there, too! Wipe the tops and bottoms of ceiling fan blades to make sure that the odor isn’t being recirculated back into the house.

Working your way downward, clean walls with the same cleaning product and a cloth. Always keep in mind to clean the tops of the door trim, baseboard, and other nooks and crannies.

Even so, it’s pertinent to be aware that just cleaning the walls over and over won’t get rid of the smell. And paint will help, but it won’t clear away the smell, either. To suitably remove the cigarette smoke smell, you will need to put into use an odor-sealing primer, then a good quality paint over the top.

Wash the Windows

Along with the walls, it’s great to execute on all of the windows and window coverings in your rental property a deep clean. If you have blinds, that indicates wiping down each piece of the blinds on both sides. Clean the windows with your ideal glass cleaner, then wipe down the frames and sills.

If your rental has fabric shades or curtains, ideal to see if you can wash them in a washing machine. If not, you may want to consider replacing them. Cigarette smoke is very complicated to get out of fabrics.

Sanitize Cabinets and Counters

Put in mind to clean the inside and outside of kitchen and bathroom cabinets, closets, and drawers. Go through each one, clear away any debris, and then wipe down both inside and out with a cleaning solution. For countertops and islands, apply a sanitizing cleaner to rid them of smoke residue. If the smoke smell persists, try putting a bowl of dry coffee grounds or white vinegar inside the smelly cabinet or drawer and leaving it there for several days. This may help take out the cigarette smell.

Deodorize Floors

Once you’ve cleaned everything above floor level, it’s time to deal with your carpets and hard surface floors. One way to help remove the smoke smell from carpets is to sprinkle baking soda over the whole carpet, let it sit for at least an hour, and then vacuum. Some Gainesville property managers opt to hire professional carpet cleaners when preparing a rental for a new tenant.  They may be able to effectively remove the odor from the carpet. In most circumstances, however, the best option is to replace the carpets and pad.

For hard surface floors, clean thoroughly by mopping with an effective disinfectant. If you’ve got several floors to clean, change your mop water often to make sure that the smoke smell isn’t just getting spread back around.

Although labor-intensive and time-consuming, by taking these steps, you can easily clear away the smell of cigarette smoke and get it back to a clean, fresh-smelling rental.


Still, if you feel that deep cleaning your rental property is something other than what you’d want to spend your time on, seriously consider giving the professionals at Real Property Management Diversified a call. We can help with everything from cleaning services to finding a very good new tenant for you – and much more! Contact us online today to see what we can do for you.

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