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How to Remove Cigarette Odor from a Rental House

A Torrance Renter Smoking InsideOne of the more exacting clean-up jobs is getting rid of the smell of cigarette smoke in a Torrance rental home. Whether you allow your tenants to smoke, didn’t have in mind to include your smoking policy in the lease, or if you did and had a strict no-smoking policy, you may still be left to deal with the smelly task of cleaning up the dreadful 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 on a health risk to future tenants and must be taken very seriously.

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

Air it Out

The best place to start when gearing up 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 on fans or an air purifier to circulate the air. There are air purifiers specifically created to clean up the smell of cigarette smoke from the air. If your budget allows, this could be a very good option. In whatever way, you may need to leave the fans running for as long as possible – perhaps for many days – to help effectively alleviate the smell.

Wipe Everything Down

All the while you’re airing out your rental, your next step is to wipe down every surface in every room – starting with the ceilings. Take advantage of your chosen cleaning product and wipe down smooth ceilings with a wet cloth. For popcorn ceilings, put your cleaning solution in a spray bottle and gently spray the whole surface.

Also, don’t forget, while working on the ceilings, make sure to clean the light fixtures and ceiling fans up there, too! Wipe the tops and bottoms of ceiling fan blades to make certain 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 it a point to clean the tops of the door trim, baseboard, and other nooks and crannies.

Be that as it may, it’s essential to understand that just cleaning the walls several times won’t get rid of the smell. And paint will help, but it won’t do away with the smell, either. To effectively remove the cigarette smoke smell, you will need to apply an odor-sealing primer, then a good quality paint over the top.

Wash the Windows

Along with the walls, it’s very important to give all of the windows and window coverings in your rental property a deep clean. If you have blinds, that connotes wiping down each piece of the blinds on both sides. Clean the windows with your fave 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. Cigarette smoke is very tough to get out of fabrics.

Sanitize Cabinets and Counters

Have in mind to clean the inside and outside of kitchen and bathroom cabinets, closets, and drawers. Go through each one, discard any debris, and then wipe down both inside and out with a cleaning solution. For countertops and islands, make use of 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 maybe a few days. This may help clean 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 area of the carpet, let it sit for at least an hour, and then vacuum. Multiple Torrance property managers favor hiring professional carpet cleaners when the time comes to prepare a rental for a new tenant.  They may be able to clear out the odor from the carpet. In general, however, the best option is to replace the carpets and pad completely.

For hard surface floors, clean thoroughly by mopping with a useful disinfectant. If you’ve got many floors to clean, change your mop water often to warrant that the smoke smell isn’t just getting spread back around.

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


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

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