Why Can I Smell Cigarette Smoke In My House When We Don’t Smoke?

Why Can I Smell Cigarette Smoke in My House When I Don’t Smoke?

why can i smell cigarette smoke in my house when i don’t smoke

If you don’t smoke but are smelling cigarette smoke in your house there’s possibly a number of reasons why. I’ll cover them here.

1. An Unknown Smoker in the House

There is a possibility that someone who lives in your house or regularly visits is a smoker and you’re not aware of it. As common as smoking is, it’s not uncommon for smokers to keep their habit a secret.

This is because of the negative perception people frequently have of smoking and it’s at a point where some smokers will even hide their habit from their doctors.

The only way to know for sure is to catch the person in the act, and that too is easier said than done in most cases.

2. Smokers Near Your Windows, Doors, or the Floors Below Yours

If there isn’t a smoker in your house or apartment, it’s possible that someone frequently smokes in close vicinity of your home.

Like having an unknown smoker in your home, it’s not easy to know if someone is smoking near your home unless you see them doing it.

You also might not suspect that this is the case in the first place, but cigarette smoke can very easily travel through open windows and doors, and it will stick around for a while.

3. Former Residents of Your Home Were Smoking

Suppose you recently moved into a new home and are already smelling cigarette smoke. In that case, it can mean that the previous residents were smokers.

If your home has carpet, it’s highly possible for the smoke smell to get into the fibers, leaving you with no other choice than to remove the carpet entirely.

4. Residue From Your Former Smoking Habits

People who quit smoking after several years of doing it daily may still have traces of a cigarette smell in their homes. There’s a chance that your nose may adjust to the cigarette smell in your home after you’ve quit smoking but the scent itself will never entirely go away.

The residue will remain unless you do something to remove it, so keep this in mind if you thought that the smell of cigarette smoke would go away on its own.

5. Used Up or Old Air Filters

A used-up, old, or dusty air filter can lead to a smoke smell. Specifically, heat can hit the dust on an air filter and create the scent for as long as the heating unit runs or until all the dust burns off.

This occurs most often with dusty air filters, so you should check your air filters if you notice a smokey smell in your home.

And even if your home doesn’t smell like smoke, check your air filters regularly and keep them as clean as possible.

6. Old or Damaged Water Heater or Furnace

A water heater that smells like smoke is one that most likely suffers from some form of mechanical problem.

Never take these lightly because a water heater in this kind of condition is a fire risk. You should stop using it immediately and have a professional inspect it.

Dust buildup can cause a burning smell for a furnace if you use it after letting it sit for a long time. Check the filters of your furnace to determine whether dust is the culprit, and if the filters are mostly clean, you should contact a professional to locate the cause of the smokey smell.

7. Health Causes

For all the more common causes of a smokey smell in your home, the source of the smell can come from yourself if you suffer from Phantosmia.

It’s a condition where a person can smell certain odors even if the odors are not present. The type of odors depends on the person, and cigarette smoke is a common one.

Can You Prevent the Smoke Smell From Getting Into Your House?

can you prevent the smoke smell from getting into your house

If you don’t have Phantosmia, didn’t smoke in your house previously, and didn’t move into a home whose previous owners took to smoking in it regularly, then yes, you can prevent the smell of smoke from getting into your house.

What Is in Cigarette Smoke and Why Does It Get Everywhere?

what is in cigarette smoke and why does it get everywhere

Cigarette smoke is little more than nicotine, carbon monoxide, and toxic chemicals combined. This allows it to travel and get caught in carpet, car seats, bed sheets, and many other things.

It’s primarily the fibers in any cloth material that you want to keep cigarette smoke away from, as the fibers can house the smokey smell for a long time unless you treat them with the proper cleaning solution.

What Is Third-Hand Cigarette Smoke?

what is third hand cigarette smoke

Third-hand smoke is when tobacco smoke leaves the nicotine inside it on indoor surfaces like cloth materials.

When people come into contact with those materials or breathe in the air near them, they expose themselves to the toxic chemicals from tobacco smoke, which is known as third-hand cigarette smoke.

Why Is Third-Hand Smoke Harmful?

Third-hand cigarette smoke is harmful because it puts you at risk for many of the same tobacco-related health problems that you would typically get from smoking.

It’s not the same as smoking a cigarette, but it’s still dangerous enough to be a health hazard, especially for people who already have breathing problems unrelated to tobacco, like asthma.

Ways to Get Rid of Cigarette Odors and Contaminants

ways to get rid of cigarette odors and contaminants

Here are some easy methods to get rid of cigarette odors and contaminants.

Ventilation & Fresh Air

Depending on the severity of cigarette odors in your home, simple ventilation, and fresh air can prove enough to remove the smells.

This method might not completely remedy the issue, but it’s the easiest option, so it’s best to at least start here before moving on to other methods.

Remodeling/Replacing Old and Contaminated Materials

Remodeling/replacing old and contaminated materials is sometimes the only way to remove cigarette odor from your home.

However, only use this method if nothing else works because remodeling and replacing certain materials like carpet can prove costly and time-consuming.

Cleaning Your HVAC and Replace Filters

If you haven’t changed or cleaned your HVAC’s air filters for more than three months, it’s time for you to install some fresh ones.

The old filters may not necessarily cause any cigarette odors in your home, but they won’t do a good job of removing those odors from your home once they accumulate too much dust and debris.

Using Vinegar to Clean the Interior and Surfaces

Vinegar is an excellent cleaning substance. If there is a specific surface in need of cleaning, add vinegar to a spray bottle and spray it across the surface before giving it a good wipe down with a cloth or towel.

This will extract any cigarette odors from surfaces.

Coffee Grounds

If you’re a coffee drinker, you’re in luck because coffee grounds are a great way to get rid of cigarette odors. The coffee grounds can absorb odors in any room, so put some coffee grounds into a bowl and leave them in the room with a cigarette odor to work their magic.

Using Baking Soda

Baking soda is a solution that works the same as coffee. The only difference is that it won’t leave the room smelling like coffee after removing the cigarette odor.

Charcoal as an Odor Absorber

Putting a couple of bags of activated charcoal in a room that smells like cigarette smoke should get rid of the smell. However, the process may take longer than if you were to use baking soda or coffee grains. Just don’t set the charcoal on fabric, as it can leave a black stain behind.

Essential Oil Extracts

Essential oil extracts are great for getting rid of smells; however, they’re not as effective as other odor absorbing solutions.

Use essential oil extracts after using vinegar to wipe an area down. If you like you can put the essential oils extracts into a spray bottle just like you can with vinegar.

Air Fresheners

Air fresheners are by no means a permanent solution to cigarette odors. They can help mask the smell for a certain period, but the odors will always come back sooner than later.

Because of this, air fresheners are not better than other methods unless you need to mask the cigarette odor for a short time for a specific reason.

A HEPA Air Purifier With Activated Carbon Filter

A HEPA air purifier with an activated carbon filter is an expensive yet worthwhile method for getting rid of cigarette odors. The best part about this method is that it’s a mostly automated process that works for you.

You’ll still want to incorporate at least two or three of the other methods here to support the air purifier in removing the smells.

Can You Completely Remove Cigarette Smoke Odor From a Home?

can you completely remove cigarette smoke odor from a home

Yes, you can completely remove cigarette smoke odor from home if you go about it the right way, although it can take a lot of work and time if it’s bad enough.

It’s not an easy process, but it’s far from impossible, so don’t worry if your home smells of cigarette smoke.

James Marshall

About the author

James is a business management professional and consultant with a former background in maintenance, repair, and hands-on projects. He enjoys DIY tasks and maintenance around the home as well as part-time writing. Read more »