House Smells Like Cigarette Smoke but We don’t Smoke

Living in a persistent smell of cigarette smoke can be very uncomfortable for the majority of people.

If your house smells like cigarette smoke, but none of your household members smoke, then the source of it could be an intensification of thirdhand smoke on your household furniture, curtains, walls, clothes, etc.

In this article, you will see the dangers of thirdhand smoke, the possible causes of the smell, and how to get rid of it. So, let’s dive in together.

House Smells Like Cigarette Smoke but We don't Smoke

What Is Third-Hand Cigarette Smoke Concept?

Thirdhand cigarette smoke is the residue that remains long after the cigarette smoke has been puffed out. In a house, this smell spreads rapidly and can defy cleaning agents after the last time someone has smoked.

It is hard to eliminate all the bad smells because cigarette smoke contains many toxic particles and gases that penetrate surfaces like walls, clothes, carpets, and other materials. Moreover, the air might get contaminated with substances like nicotine.

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Why Is This Dangerous?

You can just ignore the smell of cigarettes, but it is not suitable for your health. Cigarette puffs contain harmful substances, including nicotine. These toxic compounds can cause diseases like cancer.

People with breathing problems like asthma can feel distressed. Moreover, children in the house might have respiration problems. These children might die as a result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Living in this second-hand environment for a long time can cause other diseases and spread them into your air. So, you should not ignore these kinds of symptoms.

What Are The Possible Causes Of Cigarette Smell?

Even though nobody smokes in your house, you might still smell cigarette smoke. Some might even assume it is ghost-related. Luckily, you don’t have to spook yourself. You might be able to pinpoint the origin of the smell by looking for why it happens. 

1. Unknown Smoker In The House

You might have an unknown smoker in the house. They might smoke without your knowledge. It can also happen that they spend a lot of time amid second-hand- smokers.

These could lead to nicotine and other harmful toxins binding with the hair, skin, and other body parts. When this happens, the change in the air is inevitable. 

2. Someone Who Lived Have a Smoking Habit

It might also happen that somebody who stayed in this house before you were a smoker. Though you can clean the stains of nicotine, the truth is that it can smell for much longer.

The smoke penetrates soft surfaces and tends to stay trapped in materials like carpets, clothes, and curtains. This smell can spread for an extended period.

3. Your Neighbour Might Have Bad Smoking Habits

Your neighbor’s bad habit of smoking can also be a reason for the foul smell. This scenario might happen because of poor air sealing in your apartment. The toxin particles can quickly spread through the air. As a result, you might start having breathing problems. 

If you live in a semi-detached building with a smoking neighbor, you should prepare yourself to deal with the cigarette smell. It is especially true when the roofing is such that both houses’ air can mix up quickly. 

4. Residue From Your Old Days

If you used to smoke from your college days, the foul smell would not disappear immediately. This smell can linger for a longer time in your house. You can get smells from your used clothes, beddings, curtains, walls of your room, etc. 

5. You Hang Out With People Who Smokes Regularly

Hanging out with people who smoke can make you a second-hand smoker. A lot of bartenders have homes that smell like cigarettes and alcohol. It is simply for the reason that people tend to smoke near them.

Similarly, if one of your family members hangs out among smokers, it is possible to smell cigarettes. This foul smell gets carried to their house with their clothes and skin and eventually spread in their homes. 

6. Old Air Filters In The House

If smokers formerly occupied your house, there is a high chance that the air filter is contaminated. The air filters in the air conditioners can become infected with substances like nicotine, carbon monoxide, and others.

The dirty air filters will become clogged, and the house’s air will smell like cigarette smoke. You can change or clean these filters for some improvements. 

7. Outdated Water Heater Or Furnace System

Does your water heater or furnace system operate with gas? If so, then you should consider getting them checked if they are serving for a long time. Old or damaged systems won’t burn the liquid propane or natural gas properly. As a result, it leads to a leak of dangerous fumes and gases that can explode in your home.

These fumes have the same smell like cigarette smoke because they contain the same chemicals as burning cigarettes. You should call a technician to deeply check these systems to find out if something is wrong because these are hazardous fumes that are equally explosive.

8. Health Problems

If you have sinus infections, it can typically cause you to perceive some sort of foul odor. Brain tumors could lead to hallucination in some rare scenarios, causing you to perceive all kinds of smells, including cigarette smoke.

If you happen to have a cigarette smoke smell in a place that says smoking-free, you should go to a doctor.

How To Get Rid Of Cigarette Smell In Your House?

Now that you understand how your house can smell cigarette smoke, especially your household furniture, curtains, carpets, clothes, and walls, you must know how to get rid of it. Not everyone is comfortable with this smell so that you can try the following steps.

1. Clean Up Your House Properly

The most crucial step to getting rid of all the smell is to clean your house correctly. This process includes the curtains, walls, clothes, blankets, fabrics of furniture, and others. Get a professional who can clean all of these correctly.

If the situation is too critical, you might need to clean your walls thoroughly with a new coat of paint.

2. Check-Up The Ventilators

If you experience a cigarette smell occasionally, it can be because of some passer-by smoking on the road. Opening the doors and windows, turning the fans on can help you solve this problem. Or, your ventilators might have gotten clogged up.

If so, you can clean them. Remember, never let cigarette smoke get rooted in the house.

3. Renovate The House

Are you new in the house? If the last occupant was a smoker, the best way to remove the cigarette smell is to renovate the home. You can varnish the wooden floors, remove old carpets, repaint the walls. 

Before painting the walls, you have to take some precautions. Firstly, you should clean the wall with heavy-duty cleaners like trisodium phosphate. You should choose a primer that contains an odor sealant. If your floor has tiles on it, you can clean it with water and bleach.

4. Clean Your HVAC Unit And Filters

Chemical properties like nicotine and carbon monoxides clog in the filters of your HVAC unit. This smell can quickly circulate throughout the house. To mitigate this problem, try cleaning the air ducts and filters or replace them with spare ones.

If you moved into a place that smokers formerly inhabited, you should consider changing the filters and vents immediately.

5. Ask Your Neighbors To Stop Smoking Nearby Your House

If you recently found out that your neighbor’s nasty habit is the reason that the smell of cigarettes wafts around your house, you can ask them politely to stop smoking near you. Smoking is not a healthy habit. Smoking in public places is a crime.

So, you can ask your neighbor politely or gift them with a smoke buddy. This ionizer will help them stay odor-free. Besides, who doesn’t love to get gifts?

6. Do Not Allow Smokers In Your House

Everybody can realize that cigarette smokers have a bad habit of smoking everywhere. These smells tend to spread on a surface quickly. These smells might not threaten your home environment but ask them politely not to smoke in the house premises.

7. Try Removing The Smell With Vinegar

White vinegar and even apple cider vinegar can effectively help you get rid of the cigarette smoke smell. The process is, boil some vinegar and spread the steam throughout your home.

Also, you can mix a couple of cups of vinegar in a gallon of slightly warm water and apply it to the surfaces where the cigarette smell comes from. You can consider placing bowls of vinegar around the house to trap the odor. 

Using vinegar has its cons. The smell of it can linger in the house for some time. You can use baking soda to counter this stench. Because the odor of vinegar is harmless, you can just leave it for a few days.

8. Try Using Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds absorb the smell of cigarettes from the air. You should dry them properly before using them. Put some coffee in a bowl and place it in the places where the odor is terrible. Coffee will do its job. The only downside will be that you will be replacing a cigarette smoke smell with a coffee smell.  

9. Apply Air Fresheners

Air fresheners are an excellent choice to mask the odor. However, this product gives temporary relief from the smoke smell. Also, the air freshener can be applied quickly. You can use it only when you want to get rid of the smell for a little while. 

10. Place Charcoal Around The House

Charcoal is very efficient when it comes to trapping cigarette smoke smells. You can just put some charcoal around the smelly places, and the scent will start to wear off. Replace the charcoal after every two days of use.

11. Use Air Purifier With Carbon Filters

If the cigarette smell is vital in the house, an air purifier will be an effective solution. Using this will also get rid of dust particles, pollens, and other harmful substances. The replaceable carbon filters can be easily swapped and deployed.

12. Stop Using Smoke Creating Products

There may be other reasons the house smells like cigarettes. For example, if you use carbon-related products and somehow they burn inside or outside the house you may still get the smell. Try to observe if any carbon products were burnt.

13. Use vinegar on Curtains

Vinegar stops the bad odor of cigarettes. When you put vinegar on your curtains, there is a high chance the cigarette odor entering from outside might reduce.

14. Stop Using Anything that Contains Tobacco

Tobacco is the primary reason cigarette smells like this. The smell that we get from the cigarette is created by tobacco. Other than cigarettes there are other tobacco products, which if burnt can create the same smell as cigarettes.

So, keep an eye on that.


Cigarette smoke smells are not hygienic for a person’s health. Nor should this problem be tolerated. It can cause various respiratory and fatal diseases. Worst case scenario, this can lead to cancer. This environment is not suitable for the children. Repair your air seals properly. If you cannot remove it on your own, ask for help from an expert. They can give you the necessary tips to mostly recover your home environment to its optimal position.

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