Cigarette Smoke Smell Removal for Home and Office
If there’s one odor that will make your home or office undesirable, it’s cigarette smoke. And, whether you’re looking to buy a home, trying to revamp your business’s image, or renting out a property to new tenants, you know just how unappealing this lingering smell can be.
Unfortunately, because cigarette smoke is much more than meets the eye, getting rid of it can be more difficult than a simple DIY job. In this article, we’ll talk about why cigarette smoke is so challenging to remove, the dangers of letting it linger, and what your local Atlanta Restoration Company can do to help. It’s time to stamp out the cigarette smell from your home or office once and for all!
One Stop Restoration serve the Atlanta metro area, including all surrounding areas.
What makes cigarette smoke different from other odors?
The presence of cigarette smoke in a home or office is uniquely recognizable. You can identify it as soon as you walk in a room. But why is this? What makes cigarette smoke different from other smells?
Well, like other forms of smoke, cigarette smoke has a high concentration of nitrogen, which does an excellent job of clinging to a variety of surfaces. Even after a space has been converted from smoking to non-smoking, those positively charged chemical compounds are likely to linger for much longer than the time it takes to smoke a cigarette. And it’s for this reason that it’s not enough to simply stop smoking in a space and wait for the smell to go away. Unless properly treated, cigarette smoke can cling stubbornly to drywall, ceilings, furniture, clothing, and flooring for months or even years.
What is the harm of cigarette smoke on surfaces?
There’s no denying that the smell of cigarette smoke is unpleasant, but can it actually be dangerous or damaging to your space?
Let’s talk first about the health risks. You may have heard of the dangers of secondhand smoke, but as it turns out, thirdhand smoke—the sticky chemical residue left behind on surfaces—can also pose health hazards.
The smoke that is emitted from cigarettes can include around 50 carcinogens as well as chemical compounds that lead to respiratory irritation and birth defects. Research is still being done to find out just how many of these chemicals linger in thirdhand smoke, but early data shows that one particular chemical is very likely to be found on surfaces: nicotine. Not only is nicotine responsible for the addictive nature of cigarettes, but it’s also been linked to cardiovascular damage.
Those who are particularly vulnerable to the health risks of thirdhand smoke are children and pets, who have more contact with the surfaces containing thirdhand smoke. Others who are at risk include people with chronic illnesses or a compromised immune system.
Now, how about some of the other ways that cigarette smoke can impact your home or office? Well, beyond the health risks, thirdhand smoke could be impacting the value of your space. According to the CDC, cigarette smoking has steadily declined over the last 15 years, and that means that properties that smell like smoke are becoming less desirable every day.
What’s more, the tar and other sticky chemicals left behind by cigarettes can lead to discoloration on walls, ceilings, and furniture.
So, as you can see, thirdhand smoke poses health hazards as well as economic risks to any home or office.
Is it possible for your home or office to have thirdhand smoke even if it’s always been a non-smoking environment?
One of the most surprising discoveries of thirdhand smoke research has been the finding that this toxic substance can be found in designated non-smoking areas. In fact, a study on university campuses found thirdhand smoke in spaces that we would never associate with smoking, such as lecture halls and classrooms. So, how is this possible? Well, there are a few ways that cigarette chemicals can travel to non-smoking environments:
- On the clothes or items carried by smokers. As we mentioned before, the nitrogen in cigarette smoke makes it very easy for this chemical compound to hitch a ride on fabrics, such as clothing, briefcases or bags. So, even if your property tenants or employees tend to smoke outside, they can still track the smell of cigarettes inside.
- Through windows or cracks in the walls. If you’re the kind of person who likes to air out your home or office with wide open windows, you might want to check that you’re not within close distance to a designated smoking area. Cigarette smoke is easily carried into closed spaces, where it can land and build up over time.
By way of heating and cooling systems. One of the most pervasive ways that cigarette smoke is spread is through air ventilation ducts in your home or office building.
Can you remove cigarette smoke on your own?
In some very mild cases of cigarette smoke in your home or office, you may be able to neutralize the odors on your own. This process would include airing out your home, investing in professional-grade degreasers and cigarette smoke-specific chemical cleaning agents, and doing a deep carpet cleaning for all upholstery and soft surfaces.
Remember to always use protective gear when undergoing a cleaning process like this, as the cigarette smoke and cleaning supplies both pose health risks with exposure.
The truth is, though, that while it may be possible to clean very mild cases of cigarette smoke in your home or office, it’s a time-consuming and potentially dangerous process. And in some cases, such as the ones below, you should absolutely consider calling in a pro before trying the DIY route:
- You have children or high risk people in your home or office.
- Cigarette smoke exposure has lasted a significant amount of time.
- You’re considering selling your home.
- You’ve tried DIY solutions and they haven’t worked.
We should also note that if you’re a smoker yourself, you may not be able to smell thirdhand smoke, which can make DIY cleaning more of a challenge. A professional team can ensure that the job is thoroughly done.
What can a professional team do to remove cigarette smoke?
Like other kinds of smoke damage in a home, a professional treatment plan for cigarette smoke will depend on how extensive the damage is. But whether there’s been smoke exposure for a number of years of just a few weeks or months, a smoke restoration job will include some or all of the following steps:
- Degreasing to remove tar build-up. Thirdhand smoke includes chemicals that are not water-soluble, such as tar, which is why a normal washing of the hard surfaces in your house is not enough. Removing this substance entails using cigarette smoke-specific cleaning supplies to scrub ceilings, walls, windows, doors, door frames, hardwood or tile flooring, baseboards, electrical outlets and anything else that has been exposed to cigarette smoke.
- Carpet and upholstery cleaning. In some cases, upholstered furniture and carpeting will need to be replaced entirely, but it may be possible to remove the smell with a thorough fabric cleaning process. Your professional team will be able to determine whether carpet cleaning is an option for your home or office.
- Primer and painting of walls and ceilings. Once each room of your home has been thoroughly cleaned, it can be primed and painted with solutions that are designed to seal and cover cigarette smoke damage.
- Ozone cleaning. The use of an ozone generator is a trusted and reliable form of dealing with cigarette smoke odors. Your professional team will use this specialized tool to chemically neutralize thirdhand smoke in all rooms and in your ventilation system. So, it’s an important final step in cigarette smoke remediation.
For very severe cases of smoke damage in your home or office, your remediation team may also suggest that you remove and replace certain materials that cannot be salvaged. These may include insulation, drywall, baseboards, and wallpaper that are likely to absorb cigarette residue.
How much does it cost to remove cigarette smoke smell?
As we noted, cigarette smoke restoration jobs vary depending on the severity of the case. For this reason, the estimated cost can be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars for extensive thirdhand smoke build-up. The best way to know how much you can expect to pay is to call your local Atlanta GA restoration company for a quote.
Remember, one stop restoration has been helping customers remove cigarette odor for years now. We can help you as well in Atlanta GA or surrounding areas.
Here are a few things they might ask to give you a more accurate estimation:
- How long has there been smoke exposure?
- How large is your property?
Once they get a clearer picture of how much cigarette smoke residue is in your home, your professional restoration team can put together a plan for getting rid of the smell for good.
Keep the smell of cigarette smoke out of your space in the future
Once you’ve seen just how time and labor-intensive it can be to remove the smell of cigarette smoke from your home or office, you’re not likely to allow anyone to smoke inside moving forward! But remember, thirdhand smoke residue can still enter your home even if your property is smoke-free. So, here are a few final things that you can do to keep your home safe and clean moving forward:
- Seal any cracks. If your property is right next to a smoking area or parking lot, or has an attached balcony or patio where tenants are likely to smoke, thirdhand residue is likely to be tracked inside over time. You can help reduce this problem by sealing any cracks in window and door frames.
- Invest in a high quality air purifier. HEPA filters can’t fix an existing cigarette smoke smell problem, but they can help to prevent residue from settling on the surfaces in your home.
- Don’t let the problem build up. It’s much easier to deal with a mild case of thirdhand smoke than to wait until soft and hard surfaces have been saturated with residue. If you cannot prevent smoke exposure in your home or office, be ready to invest in regular cleaning to lower cleaning costs later on.
For more ideas on how to keep your home or office clean and smoke-free, call One Stop Restoration today. We’re happy to share our expertise in getting the challenging problem of cigarette smoke under control!
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Kit HaringtonAtlanta, Georgia - Homeowner
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