How to Get Smoke Smell Out of a House

LAST UPDATED: Jun 16, 2021 | PUBLISHED: May 10, 2018 | By:

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.

A white painted garage with a peg rail holding cleaning supplies

This post was originally published May 10, 2018 and updated with new details March 23, 2021.

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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!

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.

A white painted shaker peg rail holding cleaning supplies in a garage, in a post about how to get rid of smoke smell.

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.

Eliminate Smoke Odor for Good

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 sofa with a blue pillow in a living room, in a post about an easy way to get rid of smoke smell

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.

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!

  1. Prime and paint.
  2. Remove wallpaper.
  3. Update curtains.
  4. Clean or replace carpet.
  5. Have ductwork cleaned.
  6. Wipe everything down with white vinegar.
  7. Leave bowls of white vinegar out to help absorb scents.
  8. Baking soda in a bowl
  9. Steam clean carpets, window treatments etc.
  10. Volcanic rock – the easiest method!
A clear lamp on a built in cabinet near a white painted fireplace.

Smoke Smell Removal Secret

After I mentioned this smell to my friend Allyson, she let me in on a little secret…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!

A bamboo style bar cart in a white painted living room.

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!

Smoke Odor Eliminator

You can use them for pet odors, shoe bins, and even in a refrigerator just as you would baking soda.

Have a funky odor in your car? Place a bowl of volcanic rock under the seat. We have tried it all and it works like a charm, every time!

Have you tried volcanic rocks before or have you had a smoke smell in your home?

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.

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More Home Fragrance Ideas