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The smell of stale smoke is just one of the mundane annoyances that smokers have to live with. It gets everywhere, your clothes, your hair and even your skin. It can be especially bad if you smoke indoors or in your car, as the smell gets embedded into the fabric and can permanently ruin it.
From a health perspective as well stale smoke is terrible, as it is an indication of 3rd hand smoke - essentially it has the same potential to harm like 2nd hand smoke but sticks around longer in fabrics.
If the idea of 3rd hand smoke worries you, or you just don't want to keep cleaning everything you own to get rid of the smell of smoke then the best suggestion we have is to make the move to e-cigarettes. The vapour e-cigarettes produce doesn't harm anyone (according to the NHS) and vapour doesn't smell either. That means no more worries about 2nd or 3rd hand smoke and you won't have to clean up anymore!
Today though we look at what you can do to get rid of the smell of smoke that you already have from yourself and everything you own.
Stale smoke on skin
This will be the first thing you will want to do if you are trying to get rid of the smell of stale smoke. Here at SMOKO we are all ex-smokers, so we know that smokers get used to the smell of cigarette smoke quickly. You may think you smell normal, but to a non-smoker you are radiating stale smoke.
Cover up when you smoke - By reducing the amount of skin you have showing when you light up you can stop the cigarette smoke from seeping into your skin.
Thoroughly wash your hands – Just holding a cigarette makes your fingers smell and leaves a smoke residue (that's what the yellow tinge you see on long term smokers is, a permanent stain of smoke). You can get rid of the smell by scrubbing your hands straight after finishing your cigarette. But don’t just use soap, add a teaspoon of baking soda to your soap in your palm, mix up and scrub under warm water. The skin under your nails shouldn’t be forgotten either, as smoke can build up there too, as well as the area between each finger.
Use hand sanitiser – If you don’t have access to baking soda while out and about then hand sanitiser can help. This will help remove some odour but won’t be quite as effective as washing your hands properly.
Clean your face - Using facial cleanser pads will help get rid of cigarette smoke around your mouth and face, although if you are wearing makeup this can get quite frustrating to do 10 times a day.
Take extra showers – This won’t be possible after every cigarette, but taking regular showers can get the residue smoke off all your skin, and you will be able to scrub it away thoroughly.
Stale smoke in hair
As hair can trap smoke longer than your skin can it is just as important, if not more so, to make sure you get the smell out. For men a special reminder, your beard will catch as much, if not more, smoke than your head so focus on that first!
Double wash and condition - Shampooing your hair is the best way to get rid of the stale smell of smoke. But smoke can be stubborn and to make sure the smell has gone it is a good idea to double up what you would normally do.
Dry Shampoo - In the same vain as the tip above, dry shampoo will help get rid of the smell. This is for when you are out and about as dry shampoo can be a helpful stop gap between showers. It won't be as effective as a proper wash, though it will help eliminate most of the smoke.
Dryer sheets - These will be a recurring theme in this article, but dryer sheets are great at absorbing stale smoke and leaving a nice smell afterwards. Rub the dryer sheet over your hair, ears, and the back of your neck. Make sure to rub your entire head of hair, including the underneath layers.
Stale smoke on clothes
This one can be harder than skin or hair, as the fabric locks the smoke away. However it is just as important as you might not have even smoked today, yet are still radiating stale smoke.
Use baking soda - By adding baking soda to your normal detergent and popping it into your washing machine you can make a real dent on the stale smoke. If the smell is strong wash a couple of times.
Steam clothes with vinegar – Add 1 cup of vinegar into a tub of very hot water and hang the clothes above. Vinegar is great at getting odours out, though make sure to wash the clothes afterwards!
Dry clothes outside if possible - If you are smoking inside then this is essential to stop the smell seeping back in, but even if you don't smoke inside it is a good idea to let your clothes dry naturally. By putting the wet clothes into a dryer it can bake the smell in, making it much harder to remove.
Rub dryer sheets onto your clothes - Like with your hair dryer sheets can help absorb the smell. This is best done just after smoking, but can have some effect on older smells.
Use de-odourising sprays - These can be helpful to get rid of 3rd hand smoke, but it can get expensive to keep using them, as you will need a lot of the can to fully cover your clothes (inside and out).
Getting rid of stale smoke smell from house
If you have just moved into a place that belonged to smoker, it is immediately obvious as the very walls can smell of smoke. But even if you are not moving and instead have a smoker in the house the good news is that there are ways to combat that stale smoke smell.
Re-paint and clean your walls – Paint holds smoke surprisingly well, so every year or two it can be a good idea to wash and re-paint the most effected rooms. Prior to painting, clean the walls with a heavy-duty cleaner, such as trisodium phosphate. Then, use a primer that contains an odour sealant, which should slow the return of smoke.
Dust Baking soda on your fabric furniture – Sprinkle onto your fabric belongings and leave overnight (or at least for 12 hours). The baking soda should lock up and absorb the smell and then you just vacuum the baking soda up.
Leave bowls of ammonia or apple cider vinegar around – These, like the baking soda, can absorb odours from the air. Leave a few bowls of it around the house in the rooms most affected and change regularly.
Clean your tiled surfaces – Wash your tiled floors with a 90 to 10 solution of water and bleach, or water and white vinegar.
Wash your carpets – Make up a solution of bleach and water, hydrogen peroxide and water, or white vinegar and water, at least once a week. This can help get rid of and wash out the 3rd hand smoke and the odour it leaks.
Get rid of the smoke source
If you are a smoker though the best way to get rid of the smell of smoke is to put down the cigarettes for good. Although these tips will work, if you continue to smoke you will be constantly battling against stale smoke.
Speaking as ex-smokers though, we know how hard it can be to finally quit. That’s why e-cigarettes work so well, not only do they give you the nicotine you need but the feel and taste of a cigarette too. Even better, they do this while being 95% less harmful than cigarettes! As part of this there is no 2nd or 3rd hand vapour, so you won’t be putting other people at risk anymore with your habit.
Although your health is more important, another great aspect of e-cigarettes is the vapour is practically odourless and doesn’t stain or leave a smell. That means after you make the switch you won’t have to worry about these tips above anymore.
Give e-cigarettes a try and see if you can be like the millions in the UK alone who have made the switch
*2022 Update - Now you can try the SMOKO E-Cigarette for free when you purchase a box of E-Cigarette refills