How to Remove Cigarette Smoke Odors in a Basement

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Third-hand smoke can be harmful in addition to the unpleasant smell.
Third-hand smoke can be harmful in addition to the unpleasant smell. (Image: cigarette image by Tsvetomila Mitva from Fotolia.com)

Not only is the smell of cigarette smoke an unpleasant nuisance, it’s also unhealthy. “Third-hand smoke” is the lingering smoke that you smell after it has settled onto fabrics and hard surfaces. This lingering smoke smell contains radioactive metals that aren’t safe for you or your family. If the basement is holding onto cigarette smoke, there are several things you can do to eliminate it.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Carpet shampooer
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Sponge
  • Clean cloth
  • Towel
  • Bowl

Open doors and windows to facilitate air flow through the basement. Let the fresh air force out some of the stale air by leaving the windows open throughout the day. A fan can also help force out bad air.

Vacuum and then shampoo the carpet. Pay close attention to the shampooer manufacturer's instructions for use. Leave the windows and door open to help the carpet to dry quickly.

Sprinkle baking soda over the dry carpet and leave it overnight. The baking soda will help eliminate lingering odors. Vacuum the baking soda in the morning.

Mix water and white vinegar in a 2 to 1 ratio into a bucket. Add a scoop of baking soda, which will cause fizzing so be sure not to have filled the bucket too close to the top. Dip a sponge into the solution and use it to wipe the walls. This can help to remove any nicotine residue. Rinse the walls with a damp cloth dipped in warm water and dry them with a clean towel.

Place a bowl of baking soda in the middle of the room and leave it overnight to help draw odors out of the air and absorb them. Discard the baking soda in the morning. Do this each night for as long as you continue to smell cigarette odors lingering in the air in the basement.

Tips & Warnings

  • Any surface in the basement can hang onto cigarette odors. Clean items that may be hanging onto odors accordingly.

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