Getting rid of the odor left behind by tobacco is a challenging task. If you are about to move into a home where the previous occupant was a smoker you might be wondering how you can remove the ill effects that nicotine has left in the place. While you may well need to employ a variety of different methods to eliminate it completely, we thought we would offer a few tobacco odor removal suggestions.
Initially you will want the home to get as much fresh air into it as possible so leave windows and doors open for as long as you can. Its also good to place odor absorbers throughout the home. You don’t simply want to mask the smell but get rid of it, some good natural odor absorbers are coffee grounds, citrus peel and baking soda.
Nicotine produces a horrible brown oily residue that tends to adhere to most surfaces. Start with replacing all HVAC or air conditioner filters. Another good thing to do at first is replace or clean any light bulbs left behind, otherwise, when turned on these will heat up and diffuse the bad odor throughout the home. Take down any blinds that have been left behind and, if you wish to keep them, soak them in a tub, give a good scrub and then hang to dry. For hard surfaces it’s good to clean them with detergent containing ammonia which works well for removing nicotine (not good on wooden surfaces though)
Carpeting is one area where nicotine is very difficult to completely remove. If you want a fresh home, it may be best to just replace it. Before laying new carpet, however, be sure that the underneath flooring is well scrubbed and thoroughly dry.
You will most likely wish to freshen up your new home with a coat of paint. But, before you go ahead, find out what type of paint works for homes with nicotine problems as you may find that horrible brown residue seeping back through the paint.
Devereaux Van Dyne, Certified Professional Home Inspector