Learn how to get rid of smoke smell in your house (without effort). This is the quickest, easiest, least expensive method for smoke smell removal!

Get the secret to eliminate smoke odor in your home for good. Put away the air fresheners and absorb the odor for good with this easy trick!

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I bet you didn’t see this post coming! After a conversation with my friend Allyson recently, I felt inclined to let you in on a little secret, just in case you and your home are suffering too.

We have purchased not one, but two homes that have smelled like cigarette smoke. The garage of our primary residence was frequently smoked in, presumably with the garage door down or merely cracked.

It was frustrating, to say the least! No matter how you feel about the smell of smoke in general, most folks want their homes to smell clean or entirely scent free.

I love the art of a subtle, effortless natural scent and it’s one of my favorite ways to create a cozy home. In fact, don’t skip this post if you’re the same way: 8 Ways to Make Your Home Smell Great!

Use the drop down Table of Contents menu to easily navigate this post. And don’t forget to pin and save it for later, too!

A white living room with white sofas and coastal decor

How To Get Rid of Smoke Smell

When we purchased our St. Louis Tudor (see the Before and After here), the painter left the door open every day for two weeks to help eliminate smoke odor.

Eventually, we even had the walls of the garage primed and painted in hopes of eliminating the smoke smell which inspired this garage organization project.

The larger issue however was how the smoke smell permeated the mudroom and powder room. With a full renovation, the smell finally dissipated. However, that’s not always an option.

When we finally decided to invest in our lake cottage, it also smelled of years of smoke. Not the kind of relaxing getaway we were hoping for, you know?

When we purchased this home, we noticed a stale smell, but every time we unpacked our bags at home, we couldn’t wait to wash everything – clean or dirty!

Our clothes and bags reeked of stale smoke though no one had smoked in the home for years. I needed a smoke smell removal trick that really worked, and fast.

Main living room before renovation; yellow walls with red and brown accents.
A white living room with white sofas and coastal decor

After crowdsourcing how to get rid of smoke smell on Instagram we  tried several methods. Many of them require investment of time and money but I was willing to try anything.

Here’s a list of the top 15 ways to get rid of smoke smell in a house FOR GOOD.

How to Get Rid of Smoke Smell

Here’s a few ideas, many of which we tried. Perhaps a combination of any of these options will work in your home! I’m saving the best for last, but all of these are great options to try.

Fling open the windows and doors and let’s get to work!

  1. Prime and paint.
  2. Remove wallpaper.
  3. Update curtains.
  4. Clean or replace carpet.
  5. Have ductwork cleaned.
  6. Steam clean upholstery.
  7. Run an air purifier.
  8. Replace HVAC filters.
  9. Wipe everything down with white vinegar.
  10. Leave bowls of baking soda out in the offending spaces.
  11. Leave bowls of white vinegar out to help absorb scents.
  12. Baking soda in a bowl
  13. Steam clean carpets, window treatments etc.
  14. Activated charcoal – this is another product sold at home improvement stores and labeled as an odor eliminator.
  15. Volcanic rock – the easiest method, (the one that worked for us!)
A white living room with white sofas and coastal decor

Smoke Smell Removal Secret

One of the things our readers kept mentioning seemed way out there. VOLCANIC ROCK? I’ll be honest, I was skeptical. Really skeptical. 

With nothing to lose but $7, it was worth a shot, right?

Find your own volcanic rock here. It’s a truly effortless way to get rid of smoke smell in your home, car, or anywhere!

While we were working on updating this home, we repainted, changed flooring, fixtures and more. Nothing eliminated the smoke smell completely until we tried the volcanic rock!

How Volcanic Rocks Work

  • absorb moisture and odors
  • natural, non-toxic and environmentally friendly
  • place them in discreet places i.e.: under beds, sofas, etc
  • recharge by placing them in the sun

Crazy, right? We started using them last fall, only putting them out in the sun twice and when we returned to our lake cottage this spring, there was absolutely no evidence of odor thanks to these volcanic rocks! They are a truly effective smoke odor eliminator.

I’m still blown away. Who knew it could be so easy?

Volcanic rock is the easiest way to get rid of smoke smell in a house and it works for other odors, too!

A stack of coffee table books with a sea shell and blue beads on top

Frequently Asked Questions

Does smoke smell ever go away?

Smoke particles are microscopic, and will generally penetrate all the surfaces of a home. Tobacco smoke is often deeply embedded in a home thanks to the HVAC system, circulating the smoky air throughout the home.

While it’s certainly frustrating, we found that with a variety of methods plus the use of volcanic rock, the smoke smell in both of our homes was eliminated for good!

What essential oil removes smoke smell?

While I love the fragrances of essential oils, they won’t absorb or eliminate smoke smell.

However, these oils may be effective in helping to mask the smoke smell over time. Try lavender or Eucalyptus for a fresh, subtle scent that might help to overpower the stale smoke smell.

Where to Use Volcanic Rock

  • pet odors
  • shoe bins
  • refrigerator
  • cars
  • closets
  • garage
  • damp basement
A raffia coffee table with flowers and white books

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  1. I’ll have to give this a try. A secret my mom told me was to use vinegar water and a sponge mop to clean the walls. You can literally see nicotine run down the walls. That saved me in a few terrible smelling rentals.

      1. Activated charcoal works amazing!! They sell activated charcoal pouches that are fabric with the activated charcoal inside of of them or you can even break open activated charcoal capsules and put the powdered activated charcoal in a small bowl and it will eliminate odors within hours.. You can tell a huge difference almost immediately..

  2. I’m wondering if you have a brand of volcanic rock you recommend (I’m guessing you knew this question was coming!) or where to buy it…I did see some options on Amazon, but would love to purchase locally if possible 😉

  3. Julie…do you have any idea how exciting this post/information is for me?? My husband and I literally just signed paperwork this week for our “retirement/vacation” home up on a lake and it smells like smoke!! We love this home but that darn smell was a real downer for me when I signed the offer to purchase.

    Thank you so much for writing and sharing this information. I am super pumped!

    1. It’s like a miracle, I’m still in awe and don’t smell a hint of it now! I’m so sensitive to the smell of smoke, too! Congratulations on your new home!

  4. I use a product sold at Walmart for about 4.00- its over by the ironing boards, etc. it has a black charcoal filter and does the same to eliminate odors. I use it in closets (mine are SMALL) to get rid of the leather shoe odor….my daughter uses one in her bathroom to get rid of a septic tank smell.
    The charcoal eventually evaporates and you get another!
    There may be volcanic rock/ash in there too IDK

    1. I’ve heard of that, too! Supposedly volcanic rock is even more effective than charcoal, but what a great option. I’m in awe of all the usss for charcoal!