So yes… it’s true! We bought a house that smelled REALLY, really bad. I think most of our family thought we were cra-zy! But I had faith that we could make it better and I am going to tell you five things you can do to get the stink out of any house.
Most likely you won’t be able to get away with just one of these techniques unfortunately. More than likely you will need multiple techniques.
1. Fog your house. We did this in one of our rentals after some former tenants burned a lot of incense that really stunk up the place and we didn’t want to replace the carpets yet. I would recommend hiring your carpet cleaning company to do this for you and have them clean your carpet as well. You will have to leave your house for the day. This worked pretty good, although you could still smell it a little if you stuck your nose right to it…
2. Remove/Replace carpets. This is what we decided to do because the carpet upstairs could not be cleaned enough to make it good and clean… They had installed it in the bathroom and that (and I am sorry if this offends people who like carpet in the bathroom) is just plain nasty. I have now removed carpet from two bathrooms I have owned and I will never understand it… I don’t care how comfy it is on the feet, I can’t get past the cesspool of germs that lurks in them. At least I can launder bath mats or throw them away if they’re beyond help.
**Me looking mighty fine 😉 while scraping glued down carpet off the sub-floor of our 2nd floor. This job was a beast!
3. Remove any drapes or wall coverings. We pulled down the old drapes… Not just because they were a bad remnant of the ’80s, but you would not believe how pungent the odor was. We also removed the wallpaper, but that’s a whole other post by itself! This goes for sofas and any soft goods too. 🙁
**Fun fact: I am a youth leader at my church and as an activity, the girls came and stripped wallpaper and ripped up carpet… who needs a man?! Just kidding… we used lots of manly muscles in our home renovation… but these girls worked hard and were good helpers… I’ll share more photos in upcoming wallpaper removal post.
4. Prime and paint walls. This is an almost given. I would say 10 times out of 10 some sort of painting needs to happen. In our rental house with the incense we got away with fogging the house, cleaning the carpet, and painting just the walls. But in our new home we primed and painted every hard surface except the floor (where we installed all new flooring). Make sure to use a good paint and if the smell isn’t too bad try a paint + primer, but in extreme cases just go with the tried and true method.
5. Charcoal/OdoBan. Finally, I recommend using OdoBan to clean any hard surfaces and charcoal for any lingering odor. No matter how hard you try, you may be stuck with a small amount of residual smell… especially if you don’t go to the extreme measures we did to get the smell out of our current home. Ours is all but gone, but in our rental house since we didn’t go quite as extreme… to get rid of the remaining small residual we got a couple bags of charcoal and strategically placed them around our house. This is NOT the same charcoal you would use for a grill, but special odor eating charcoal and is sometimes scented to help block odors while it eats them. You can get this at pretty much any home improvement store. After a little time passes you will not notice any more odor. Yay!!
And that my friends is how you get cigarette smoke smell out of your house.
I would love to hear your techniques you have used to get rid of odor. Do share!