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How to Remove Cigarette Odor from a Rental House

A Watertown Renter Smoking InsideOne of the more dreaded clean-up jobs is getting rid of the smell of cigarette smoke in a Watertown rental home. Whether you allow your tenants to smoke, didn’t take into consideration putting in your smoking policy in the lease, or if you did and had a strict no-smoking policy, you may still, indeed, be left to deal with the smelly toil of cleaning up the wretched 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 contribute to a health risk to future tenants and must be taken very seriously.

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

Air it Out

The best place to start when ready 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 make use of fans or an air purifier to circulate the air. There are air purifiers chiefly designed to drain the smell of cigarette smoke from the air. If your budget allows, this would seem to be a credible option. However, you may need to leave the fans running for as long as possible – maybe even for numerous days – to have an effect in alleviating the smell.

Wipe Everything Down

As soon as you’re airing out your rental, your next step is to wipe down every surface in every room – starting with the ceilings. Simply using 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 just lightly spray the whole surface.

Even while working on the ceilings, always keep in mind to clean the light fixtures and ceiling fans up there, too! Wipe the tops and bottoms of ceiling fan blades to certainly 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. Make certain to clean the tops of the door trim, baseboard, and other nooks and crannies.

But on the other hand, it’s crucial to be aware that just cleaning the walls quite often won’t ever get rid of the smell. And paint will help, but it won’t eradicate the smell, either. To remove the cigarette smoke smell, you will have to utilize an odor-sealing primer, then a good quality paint over the top.

Wash the Windows

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

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

Sanitize Cabinets and Counters

Also don’t ever forget to clean the inside and outside of kitchen and bathroom cabinets, closets, and drawers. Go through each one, take out any debris, and then wipe down both inside and out with a cleaning solution. For countertops and islands, utilize a sanitizing cleaner to rid them of smoke residue. If the smoke smell continues, place a bowl of dry coffee grounds or white vinegar inside the smelly cabinet or drawer and leave it there for a number of 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 effectively 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. Numerous Watertown property managers choose to employ professional carpet cleaners once they’re preparing a rental for a new tenant.  They may be able to take out the odor from the carpet. Usually, however, the best option is to replace the carpets and pad entirely.

For hard surface floors, clean thoroughly by mopping with a really good disinfectant. If you’ve got a whole lot of floors to clean, change your mop water often to see to it that the smoke smell isn’t just getting spread back around.

Although labor-intensive and time-consuming, by taking these steps, you can effectively eliminate the smell of cigarette smoke and bring the place back to a clean, fresh-smelling rental.


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

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