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Spring Cleaning! How to Get the Smell of Smoke Out of Your Car, Clothes and Home
By the Quitter's Circle Staff
March 23, 2016

Spring Cleaning! How to Get the Smell of Smoke Out of Your Car, Clothes and Home

Clothes on a clothing line
Clothes on a clothing line

So you’re living smokefree—congratulations!  With spring outside your door, use the warmer air, budding flowers and green trees as inspiration to whip your car, wardrobe and home into smokefree shape as well.

A first step for all smokefree cleaning: Throw out the ashtrays. Then donate or toss any items that remind you specifically of smoking—such as a coat you always wore on smoke breaks. Find some fun, new things to enhance your refreshed wardrobe or space.

Keep in mind that completely ridding your home of smoke residue may require replacing certain items. Carpets and drapes, for example, are hard to deodorize completely, but major improvements can be made with some cleaning supplies and a bit of elbow grease. Cigarette smoke has a way of clinging to fabrics and can even build up on wood furniture, causing discoloration. Here are suggestions on how to wipe out those pesky smells and stains from your living spaces.

For Your Car:

1. Vacuum the inside. Remove all mats, wash them with soap and water and hang them out to dry. Use upholstery or leather cleaner on the seats.

2. Smoke residue can collect in the crevices of your ride, such as in the corners of the windows. Wipe these areas down with window cleaner until any yellow stains are gone.

3. Clear the vents of the car by running the air on high for about 30 minutes. If a slight smoky scent remains, try adding something nice-smelling to cover it up—for example, leave a can of ground coffee inside or spritz with a pleasant odor spray.

For Your Clothes:

1. Check to see if your clothes are machine washable—we don’t want you ruining any dry-clean-only duds.

2. For the clothes you can machine-wash, it is recommended that you fill the washer with warm water, one cup baking soda and one cup vinegar. Soak clothes for at least one hour in the solution, then add detergent and wash.

3. For other clothes, hang them outside to air out, use an at-home dry cleaning kit, or take the clothes to be professionally cleaned.

For Furniture:

1. Place bowls of baking soda or charcoal inside any drawers of wooden furniture and let it sit for a few days, and the smoke smells should disappear. Or, spritz the drawers with vinegar, let them dry, then fill them with coffee and balled-up newspaper to absorb any remaining odors.

2. Wipe down the outside of wood furniture with a mix of white vinegar and warm water. Let dry and finish with wood cleaner.

3. For tougher wood jobs, refinishing and re-painting the piece will help remove any engrained smoky smell.

4. For upholstery, mix warm water with detergent and wash by hand or use an upholstery tool, if you have one. To remove cigarette smoke from furniture, spray upholstered furniture with a concoction of two parts water to one part vinegar.