If you’re a homeowner who smokes tobacco or you live with a smoker, you may be wondering how to get the smoke out of the house in order to sell. After all, smells — especially the smell of cigarette smoke — may be a deal-breaker for potential buyers.
As reported by Realtor Magazine, studies indicate that smoking inside a house can reduce resale value by up to 29 percent. So-called “third-hand smoke,” or the chemicals and compounds released into the air by cigarettes, coats walls, and other home surfaces. This film and its accompanying odor can last for months, surviving even deep cleanings.
Read on to learn how to get smoke out of the house (hint: it’s not easy!) and how to sell a smoker’s home.
The Importance of Removing Smoke Residue
Many smokers simply don’t notice the smell of cigarettes in their home because they’re so used to it. But for buyers, smoky odors are extremely off-putting. That means bad smells can make or break a home sale.
A quick swipe with wet wipes isn’t enough to remove the source of the smell. According to Healthline, burning cigarettes release toxic gases, tars, and particles that contaminate multiple surfaces in your home, both soft and hard. Even drywall and dust absorb that cigarette smell!
Removing years of built-up toxins may involve a serious renovation such as ripping out drywall, carpets, and other flooring. Realtor.com also suggests painting affected surfaces with a sealing primer (such as Kilz) that knocks out odors.
Tackle Hard Surfaces
Start the cleaning process by opening windows and doors, and turning on fans to improve ventilation. Once you’ve established airflow, it’s time to wipe down every hard surface in the home.
Rainbow International Restoration recommends using a solution of half white vinegar, half water to clean non-soft surfaces. These may include:
- Knobs and handles
- Windows and frames
- Light fixtures (don’t forget the bulbs)
- Fan blades
Wash the Soft Stuff
Once hard surfaces have been scrubbed, turn to the soft surfaces. Grab a big bag of baking soda and sprinkle it on carpets, rugs, upholstery, and any other soft fabric that isn’t machine washable. Let the soda sit and absorb odors for a few days.
After vacuuming the baking soda, rent a steam cleaner, and tackle the carpets. Most steamers have an upholstery attachment, so you can clean furniture upholstery, too.
Take down curtains and draperies, remove washable upholstery covers, and strip all the beds. Give it all a spin in the washing machine, using a half cup of vinegar rather than detergent, then wash again with detergent and let the items air-dry.
Clear the Air
Cleaning the air itself is often the last step to get smoke out of a house. In most cases, cleaning measures will help reduce — but not eliminate — the smell of smoke. To really clear the air, you may purchase air purifiers with HEPA filters that reduce odor-causing molecules.
Invest in new filters for your HVAC system and change them monthly. If you can find them, purchase special odor-removing filters that contain neutralizing charcoal. A professional duct cleaning can further remove the source of bad smells.
If the cigarette aroma lingers on, it’s time to call in the big guns: An ozone generator.
Available for rental or purchase, these powerful machines use activated oxygen that oxidizes smoke molecules, removing the smell at the source. In most cases, you’ll need to close the ozone generator in a room and leave it running for up to ten hours per room.
These machines are best used after the source of the smell has been removed, as they will clear the air of any lingering smells.
Remember, these machines need to be used with caution. Be sure to read all safety instructions before operating an ozone generator.
While it is possible to remove the smell of smoke from your home – cleaning, washing, and oxidizing represent a significant investment of time, energy, effort, and money. Why not make it easy on yourself?
Instead of putting off buyers with the lingering smell of cigarettes, sell to HomeGo. We make a same-day cash offer on your home in as-is condition, smoke odors, and all!