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Old 08-03-2008, 01:28 AM
 
16 posts, read 149,118 times
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Is it possible to get rid of the smell of cigarette smoke from a house where previous owners were smokers? If so, what are the methods that work best?

My wife and I found a house we really like except for the smell of cigarette smoke. We were wondering if we could ever get rid of that stink. I have read that it is hard to clear up the smell because the smoke penetrates the walls, ceilings, insulation, a/c ducts, carpet, everything. Is it really that hard to get rid of?

Thanks
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:02 AM
 
153 posts, read 493,522 times
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We bought something of a dump from a smoker, and certainly after replacing the carpet and repainting(both were necessary anyway), the smoke odor disappeared. I don't know if you can get away w/o repainting or replacing the carpet. You'll certainly need to clean the walls with TSP before repainting--it was ridiculous how much grime came off the walls.
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:13 AM
 
Location: Texas
28,114 posts, read 24,084,256 times
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We also found a house we liked...but the minute you walked in...ugh! Clearly people had smoked in there for years.

We consulted several contractors, real estate agents, etc. One agent even stated she would never deal with a smoker's house. Several different people told us (and I read more about it online) that you have to change out carpet (and carpet pads), rip out wallpaper, clean and then repaint the walls and the ceilings, potentially redo the ductwork, potentially replace doors/cabinets...even after all that, if it's in the wood or has seeped into the framing, you're just always going to have that smell.

Like Ben (above), people were just amazed at how much brown gooky grime came up off of everywhere.

We walked away. That house was on the market for a very long time in a pretty hot neighborhood.
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:29 AM
 
12,547 posts, read 12,059,590 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowtie350 View Post
Is it possible to get rid of the smell of cigarette smoke from a house where previous owners were smokers? If so, what are the methods that work best?

My wife and I found a house we really like except for the smell of cigarette smoke. We were wondering if we could ever get rid of that stink. I have read that it is hard to clear up the smell because the smoke penetrates the walls, ceilings, insulation, a/c ducts, carpet, everything. Is it really that hard to get rid of?

Thanks
It depends on how bad it is. Cleaning the carpets and cleaning the walls will usually clear the smell oh and the ducts.
The stuff on the walls is from the cig smoke and holds allot of the smell as welll.
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Old 08-03-2008, 07:17 AM
 
Location: At the lake house in sunny Florida
16,123 posts, read 16,236,695 times
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We once bought a house from 2 heavy smokers. This is what we did and we did eventually get rid of the smell.

1. Get rid of all material. Carpets, drapes, curtains, etc.
2. Prime the walls with an "oil based" primer like Kilz. We put on 2 coats.
3. Scrub everything until clean. Window and door jams, windows, cabinets, counters, door knobs, hinges etc.
4. Change out all air filters. Open all windows and doors and run the heat and the a/c. Spray lysol or something better through the venting as much as you can.
5. Keep the house open as long as you can.
6. Start re-painting and put in new carpet or if no carpet, scrub those floors until they are super clean.

This worked for us and that house was really disgusting. Don't get me started on cat houses they can be even worse. Anyway we didn't have to change the ducting. I guess it all depends how bad it is.

Good Luck,
Lisa
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Old 08-03-2008, 07:54 AM
 
Location: Knoxville
3,351 posts, read 10,920,412 times
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Besides the obvious cleaning like others have posted, I saw an amazing demonstration of an air cleaner a while back.

I did an inspection on a house where the owners were heavy smokers. The Realtor made a comment to them about comments she heard from people looking at the house (it was for sale). They put an air cleaner in, and when I came back a week later for a re-inspections, the odor was gone.

I got a card from the woman that sold them the system: it's from Ecoquest International. Home. I don't have any idea what they cost, but I do know it really worked.
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Old 08-03-2008, 11:23 AM
 
8,424 posts, read 24,425,211 times
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Why dont people CLEAN that smoke like that?! Its so gross.

I dont think its a big deal. Nothing is forever.
Just clean clean clean!

Repaint
Shampoo the rugs.
Cover with baking soda before vaccum. Leave on overnight if you can.


The smell will usually be strongest in the room they smoked in. That may be the only room you have to replace carpet in.
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Old 08-03-2008, 11:24 AM
 
8,424 posts, read 24,425,211 times
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p.s. you should have the duct work cleaned anyway, plus changing the filter. That in itself makes a huge difference.

good luck!
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Old 08-03-2008, 01:49 PM
 
222 posts, read 749,633 times
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We bought a condo owned by a chain smoker for ~15 years. We replaced carpet, painted, and placed an ionic breeze in the LR and MBR. The smell is completely gone. However, there is still tar in places not cleaned when we first moved in (above the medicine cabinets, on top of pipes, in light fixtures, ect). In addition, for the first two years, tar seeped out of the walls in the bathroom when it got all steamed up. This has only stopped in the last year.

It can be done, but you just need to be aware of the challenges.

GL!
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Old 08-03-2008, 10:42 PM
 
16 posts, read 149,118 times
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Well thanks for the input. Even though we really, really like the home, I think we will keep looking. If we donít find anything, maybe we will reconsider this home. Too bad the current owners are killing the appreciation value of this home with their habit.

BTW, younglisa, when you say cats can be worse, do you mean cat hair being a problem for someone with allergies. If so, I would like to hear more about that because there is another house we are considering but the owner had indoor 3 cats... And I am allergic to cats.

Thanks
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