Read how to get cigarette smell out of your house in 4 ways. These methods are easily achievable!

crop woman with cigarette sitting near typewriter
Photo by medium photoclub on

How To Get Cigarette Smell Out Of Your House: 4 Ways

Our first walk of our home was a quick, five-minute walk. I didn’t pick up on the cigarette smell then. My partner didn’t mention it either.

One month later, after the deal was pretty much done, I sat down in the house for the first time. I remember thinking, “It smells pretty strongly in here.” I went home and told The Honey about my revelation. He quickly replied, “I smelled it immediately!”

In sum, the smoker’s house was ours. As a consequence, we knew we had to devise a plan on the best ways to eliminate the cigarette smell from our house.

Our reasons for eliminating the cigarette odor

Reason 1: Sensitivity to cigarette smoke

First, we are not smokers and my partner is sensitive to certain aromas.

On the other hand, I am not bothered so much by the smell of cigarettes even though I do not smoke. With that being said, all four of the former tenants must have been smokers because the smell was overwhelmingly strong.

Reason 2: Stained walls

The walls were stained yellow from nicotine! That wasn’t attractive nor was it wasn’t very clean.

As a result, we knew we had to begin eliminating the cigarette smell as soon as possible. In fact, my partner ripped up the carpets and underlayment on moving day! Whatever is your reason for getting of cigarette smell (or any other unpleasant odor), read along to find of what you can do!

Three Ways To Get Rid Of Cigarette Smell From Your House Easily

Below, you’ll find some cheaper and quicker ways to reduce the smell of cigarettes in your house.

Carpet cleaning is a great way to eliminate cigarette smell.
Carpet cleaning is a great way to eliminate cigarette smell from your house.

Tactic #1: DIY carpet cleaning

Rent a carpet cleaner from a store or tool rental company (i.e. a home center, a tool rental retailer, or even grocery stores). Also, you can purchase a carpet cleaner as well.

Additionally, purchase a carpet cleaner solution that is compatible with the cleaner. Alternatively, you can make your own carpet cleaner with Pine Sol, white vinegar, and water.


If you’re unable to buy a good carpet cleaner, make your own! Mix one parts Pine Sol, white vinegar, and warm water together.

Be sure to vacuum SEVERAL times before using your carpet cleaner. In fact, I recommend vacuuming the first two times with a powdered carpet deodorant or baking soda. Be sure to let the deodorant sit on the carpet for 10-20 minutes and vacuum thereafter. Next, vacuum one to two more times without the powder. You’ll need the carpet to be as clean as possible.

I’ve done this in an apartment that had a not-so-savory smell to good results. Side note: you can also use the DIY carpet cleaner to clean tile and vinyl flooring; use caution with hardwoods and laminate plank flooring also.

a man cleaning a carpet
Photo by شركة تعقيم بالرياض on

Tactic #2: Professional carpet cleaning

Of course, you can hire a carpet cleaning company. There are professional carpet cleaners that do a fantastic job at eradicating unpleasant smells of all kinds.

Where to find professional carpet cleaning

Coupon and discount sites

To save money, check out specials on coupon sites like Groupon and LivingSocial. Also, check out the Valpak coupons that come in the mail! Monthly, I see carpet cleaner coupons included in the set of offers and specials.


Lastly, if you are a new homeowner, ask your realtor for help! They may be able to refer you to a quality cleaner who can make your home smell brand new.


Thumbtack is an amazing resource for finding professionals to help you make your home better. Specifically, Thumbtack matches you with expert pros in your area to help you complete projects such as carpet cleaning.

I’ve used Thumbtack many times for help with my home projects. What I enjoy most about Thumbtack is the fact that you can get starting estimates for your area online.

Instead of searching “Carpet Cleaners near me,” search “Carpet Cleaners” and your zip code in Thumbtack to get a list of professional in your area! It’s super easy!

Find carpet cleaners on Thumbtack today!

clean walls to eliminate cigarette smell
Clean walls to help eliminate cigarette smell.

Tactic #3: Wall cleaning

Wipe away the layer cigarette residue off the walls of your home to get rid of the smell.

Mix warm water, white vinegar, and a little dish soap (Dawn works best) in a bowl. Dip a towel in the solution and make sure to ring out all excess liquid before wiping the walls.

Your towel should feel relatively dry before contacting the wall. Lightly and gently wipe in a circular motion. You may even literally see the walls turn from yellow to white as you work! Basically, you’ll witness the elimination of the cigarette reside in real time.


Make your own wall cleaner! Mix warm water, white vinegar, and a little Dawn dish soap.

The best way to get rid of cigarette smell

So far, we have reviewed easier ways to reduce cigarette smell. But, how can you get rid of the cigarette smell once and for good?

One word: primer.

Priming the walls is the most labor-intensive strategy, but it is the most effective due to the coverage. Think about it: there are more walls than flooring in your home. Therefore, you can cover an enormous amount of square footage by attacking the walls and ceiling!

Priming the walls help with getting rid of cigarette smell
Priming is crucial.

You can prime the floor, too!

Priming isn’t just for the walls either. You can prime to get rid of pet smells in addition to cigarette odor. Roll on a thin layer of primer on your sub floor to eradicate the smell of both the cigarettes and animal urine. Many construction workers would balk that strategy, but my family member learned this trick from handyman. It worked out fine for her.

The best product to eliminate cigarette smell from your house

My partner insisted we used the best of the best to get rid of pungent smells: Kilz Restoration.

In general, Kilz Original has a stellar record for being one of the best primers on the market for its fantastic and even coverage. We opted to use the Kilz Restoration (formerly known as Kilz Max) version.

Which is the best Kilz for smoke smell?

On the bucket, Kilz Restoration states that it can cover fumes from fire damage, cigarettes, water damage, tannin, etc. We love it because the change of smell is instantaneous! As soon as the walls and ceilings were primed, the smell in our house was totally eradicated.

You might be thinking, “Duh — because the house smelled like fumes!” But truly, even after drying for ten minutes, the room smelled refreshed! This is the best primer EVER! We keep it on standby for all of our painting projects.

Priming can be hard work.
Priming is the best way to eliminate cigarette smell from your house.

Potential drawbacks to using primer to eliminate cigarette smell


Kilz Restoration is relatively expensive when you’re used to buying paint + primer combos or even regular primer. We opted to buy the 5-gallon bucket since we knew we were painting virtually every surface possible in the house.

pouring primer into a paint tray

Five gallons of this stuff is a little steep. But, it’s easy to justify the sticker shock by its effectiveness

How many coats of Kilz cover smoke?

One coat of primer covers extremely well. Moreover, one layer is all that you need.

We have primed three moderately-sized bedrooms, ceilings included, with one five-gallon bucket! So, big projects like these make the price make sense.


Moreover, priming, and consequently painting, is a labor-intensive project despite popular belief. Most people buy paint + primer combinations to save time. But in order to truly eliminate cigarette smells for good, take the time to apply a layer of Kilz primer, then apply the paint color of your dreams.

If you decide to hire out the job, any reputable painter will recommend this product or another primer with similar qualities.

Final notes on eliminating cigarette smells

In conclusion, the best way to get rid of cigarette smell is through priming with Kilz Restoration. It is with my unbiased experience with Kilz Restoration that I can attest to its effectiveness. The initial price is steep, but it may be worth it to protect your comfort, sensitive nose, and sense of home.

Thanks for reading!


Do you want to hire a pro?

Be sure to check out thumbtack to contact a pro near you!

This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a commission if you click on a link and purchase something.

Shop the post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


    1. Hi Lauren!

      Great question. If you are going to prime your walls, especially with Kilz, the manufacturer will probably recommend that you clean the walls before using the primer. Just be sure to check your primer’s instructions on the back of the bucket. I did so to great results.

      I hope that answers your question!