Want to Buy a Smoker’s House? 3 Ways to Oust the Odor

You’ve found a home you love. The only problem is it smells of cigarette smoke, which leads you to suspect that a resident is a smoker.

Although sellers aren’t obligated to tell you that their residence is home to a smoker, you can ask your home inspector for their opinion. Also, if you ask, a reputable listing agent won’t lie about the condition of the home.

So, if you buy the house will you be able to get rid of the stench?

Eliminating cigarette odor, or third-hand smoke, is no easy task because the smell permeates nearly everything in its surroundings. But consider these three ways to help oust the odor.

Washing the walls and ceilings

You can clean the walls using a 3 to 1 vinegar-water solution. You can also use trisodium phosphate (TSP), which is a strong general purpose cleaner, to help remove odors and stains. While washing down the walls can be a tedious task, cleaning the ceilings may be an even more challenging chore.


After washing the walls, if the smell of smoke persists you should repaint them. But first, use an odor-neutralizing primer. If you don’t add the layer of primer the smell may eventually return.

Changing lightbulbs and washing windows

This may sound a little farfetched, but it’s not. Lightbulbs can actually hold smells because odorous dust can fuse onto the bulbs as they heat up. So it’s best to swap them out.

Smoky odors can settle and collect on window surfaces, and when they’re warmed by the heat of the sun the smell can be released. So give all windows in the house a good washing using vinegar or TSP. You can also wash blinds in the same manner, or toss them out.

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