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How to banish smoke smells from your clothes, car, and home.

Last Updated: April 8, 2021

Smelling smoke everywhere you go? With a few tools and tricks, we’ll teach you how to get smoke smells out of clothes, cars, and your home.

Whether from smoking, fire-pitting, or fiery mishaps, smoke smells love to stick around long after the party is over. Thankfully, banishing smoke smell is simple, and we’re here to air it all out for you. We’ve got the tools and the tricks to help you kick that smokey smell to the curb.

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Why does cigarette smoke stick to your clothes?

Inside every puff of cigarette smoke is a cloud of carcinogenic residue, things like tar, oil, ash, and thousands of chemicals from the cigarette. This smokey molecular concoction is very sticky, and its particles tightly adhere to everything from clothes and hair to upholstery and carpeting. We’re here to help you get rid of it.

What to use to get rid of smoke smells

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Here’s a list of tools and materials that’ll make smoke smells run for the hills.

How to get smoke smell out of your clothes

The most pesky smoke smell comes from our clothes. After all, our clothes follow us around wherever we go, and if they smell like smoke, everything smells like smoke then too.

Machine wash or handwash with baking soda

The best way to remove smoke smell from clothes is by washing them with a healthy dollop of baking soda. Baking soda is a natural laundry booster that will help cut through smoke stains and odors.

For top-loading washing machines, add about 1 cup of baking soda when the water level is getting full. For front-loading washing machines, add 1 cup of baking soda during the rinse cycle. For clothes that must be handwashed, try adding a 1/2 cup of baking soda to your normal handwashing routine.

Use the warmest water temperature your clothes can tolerate. The warmer temperature will open up the fibers in your clothes, letting odor out and clean in.

Use dryer sheets

Not the way you’re used to, though. Place any smoke-smelling garment in a large, resealable plastic bag with one or two unscented dryer sheets, then seal. Leave the bag sealed for a few days, and presto: The dryer sheet will have absorbed some or all of that smoke odor.

Try a deodorizing spray

For lingering smells, or for clothes that cannot be washed, try spraying either a commercial laundry freshener or distilled white vinegar on your garment. This will help mask the smoke smell until you have time for a deeper clean.

How to get smoke smell out of your hair

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Smoky hair reeks, for you and anyone nearby. Luckily, you probably already know how to fix this one.

Deep clean your hair with shampoo

Shampoo is your best tool to clean smoke smell off of your hair. Be sure to shampoo thoroughly and get every layer of hair sudsy.

Grab a dryer sheet

If you need a quicker stopgap, dryer sheets are great dry odor absorbers. Grab a (preferably unscented) dryer sheet and rub it all over your hair.

How to get smoke smell out of your house

Banishing smoke smell from your home can feel like a huge task, but the fresh-smelling end result is well worth it — and well within reach.

Ventilate the entire home

Open as many windows and doors as possible. If you have portable fans, place them near windows to help blow interior air out. Fresh air is a great first step before cleaning more problematic areas.

Clean wood floors

Did you know smoke smell can even stick to your wood floors? To get it out, tackle your flooring in sections. For each section, apply a thin layer of hardwood floor cleaner across the floor. Following the direction of the hardwood grain with a mop, clean your wood floors until all the cleaner is gone.

Clean tiled surfaces

Scrub your tiled surfaces with a tile scrubber. (A dish brush or sponge will work too.) You can achieve a good clean by either using a mixture of nine parts water and one part chlorine-free bleach, or you can concoct a homemade cleaner of equal parts distilled white vinegar and water.

Consider professional ozone treatment

Sometimes, even your best cleaning sessions cannot kick out years of built-up smoke residue. An ozone generator is a surefire way to eliminate smoke smell from your home. We recommend hiring a professional who can bring their own equipment to your home. Be warned — you will have to vacate your home during the process.

How to get smoke smell out of your car

Tricky in theory, but simple in practice; getting smoke smell out of your car has more to do with prevention than removal. Here are some tips for preventing long-lasting smoke smell in your car and tackling smoky car hotspots.

If you’re a smoker, only smoke with the windows open

Smoking with the windows open prevents most smoke molecules from sticking to your car’s interior, as the fresh breeze will take the smoke with it.

Avoid leaving cigarette butts in your car

A stagnant cigarette butt in a stagnant car is a recipe for stagnant smoke smell. Always dispose of your cigarette butts in the appropriate receptacle outside of your vehicle.

Wash your upholstery

Depending on your car’s interior, you can wash smoky hotspots like car seats and carpets with various cleaning solutions, like chlorine-free bleach and water, hydrogen peroxide and water, or distilled white vinegar and water. These will lift smoke smell off your car’s most smoke-loving components. Repeat this cleaning routine once a week to prevent or tackle enduring odors.

4 tips to avoid sticky smoke smell

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After you’ve kicked smoke smell curbside, you’re going to want to ensure your life remains smoke-odor free. These tips will help.

Tip 1: Smoke outside

If you (or someone in your home) is a smoker, make sure you (or they) are smoking outside. This will mitigate most sticky smoke smells entirely. Not only is the smoke not landing on your furniture, it’s dispersed in the fresh air, meaning less smoke on you and your clothes.

Tip 2: Furnish your space with air purifiers

These can be anything from air purifiers with HEPA filters, bowls filled with natural air purifiers like charcoal or vinegar, or a combination of both.

Tip 3: Wipe down hard surfaces regularly

Weekly cleanings of countertops, tiles, and hard flooring will go a long way in removing smoke molecules before they get too comfortable.

Tip 4: Utilize fresh air

Prioritizing fresh air in smoke zones goes a long way in preventing smoke from sticking around and stinking up the place. Incorporate open windows and good ventilation in places where there’s smoke.

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Ready to tackle the dirtiest spots in your home? Grove Collaborative has you covered with Clean Team. Each week, we’ll do a deep dive into how to clean a different place or item in your home. No spot is too small — and we’ll tell you how to conquer them all, naturally.