What Is Third-Hand Smoke?
You know cigarette smoke doesn’t simply disappear into the air if you’ve spent time around a heavy smoker. Cigarette smoke contains hundreds of chemicals that permeate every surface it encounters.
A smoker’s hair, clothes, and hands can reek of cigarettes. If a person smokes while they’re driving, their cars can smell like cigarette smoke for years – and their homes are no different.
The lingering smell of cigarettes is known as third-hand smoke. If you have a tenant who smokes heavily inside his or her home, your property will continue to smell long after the smoker has moved out. Prospective tenants will be less likely to rent a home that smells of cigarettes, especially if they don’t smoke.
Third-hand smoke is long-lasting and difficult to remove. Years, months, and even weeks of heavy smoking can cause damage to a home’s walls, floors, and fixtures. However, there are simple cleaning tips you can use to get a smoky property back in tip-top shape.
Let It Breathe
Make sure all the surface odors are gone before performing any cleaning work on the property. If the previous tenant left behind any furniture or belongings, remove them from the home. Return the items to the tenant or donate them.
Next, open all the windows and doors and let the house ventilate. Turn on all the fans or place fans next to the windows. Keep the ventilation process going while you’re cleaning – this will ensure all surface-odor smoke clears out of the home.
The Miracle of Vinegar
Vinegar effectively absorbs odors. Place small bowls of vinegar around the home and leave them in strategic areas. Kitty litter, baking soda, and activated charcoal also work to absorb odors. Leaving these materials around the home will suck up cigarette smoke and help rid the property of the odor.
Break Out the Paintbrush
Some items are easily replaceable but removing the walls and ceilings of a property is expensive, time-consuming, and unnecessary. However, these surfaces absorb third-hand smoke odor, as well.
To remove cigarette smoke and residue from walls and ceilings, wash all the surfaces using very hot water and detergent. Repeat multiple times until all discoloration disappears. Next, repaint all the walls and ceilings with at least two to three coats of paint. The paint will lock in any leftover smoke or residue from the washed walls. To further banish third-hand smoke, apply a special odor-blocking primer to the wall’s surface.
Carpets, padding, and floors will also soak up cigarette smoke. Make sure to remove and replace all carpeting and wash floors thoroughly to remove third-hand smoke from these areas.
Don’t Forget the Little Things
To remove all traces of third-hand smoke from a home, make sure you don’t forget to replace the small fixtures that catch and retain cigarette smoke.
Replace all the light bulbs in the property. Remove, clean, and replace all the air filters and clear out the ventilation ducts.
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