Smoking is a very dangerous activity, yet many people of all ages smoke on a regular basis. While there are many health concerns that revolve around smoking, one of the most common day-to-day concerns people have about smoking is concealing the smell. Whether you live in a smoke-free apartment building or have roommates or family who do not approve of smoking, knowing how to effectively hide the smell of smoke can help you feel more at ease as you go about your day.
Clearing the Air of Smoke and Smells
- Ventilate the room. If you’re going to smoke indoors and you’re worried about others smelling your smoke, the best thing you can do to reduce smoke odors is ventilate the room. It won’t solve the problem completely, but it will drastically improve the situation over smoking in an unventilated room.
Close the door to your room and open a window. You want to restrict smoke odors from traveling to other parts of the building while directing as much of the actual smoke as possible outside.
Put a fan in the window. Have it facing outside rather than towards you. This will help pull smoke out of the room and funnel it outdoors.
If you’re still actively smoking, blow all of your smoke through the back of the fan so that it gets sucked outside.
- Mask the smell with other odors. Some air fresheners and scented candles are specifically designed to mask the smell of smoke. These products are usually available at smoke shops or online. Even if you don’t have one of these specialized air fresheners or scented candles, any kind of odor-masking product may help cover up the smell of smoke.However, it’s best to stick with just one odor-masking element. Otherwise, the room might just smell like a lot of different things and cigarette smoke.
Air sanitizers like Ozium are believed to help neutralize odors like cigarette smoke.
Febreze can hide bad smells, possibly including cigarette smoke, because it contains hydroxypropyl-beta-cyclodextrin (HPβCD), an active agent that traps, binds, and retains malodorous molecules.
Citrus is typically considered a good masking odor. If you have fresh oranges, even better: peel a few oranges in your room and leave the peels in strategic locations around your room while you wait for the odor to dissipate.
Incense, such as cedar wood, may help cover the smell of smoke. However, burning incense may not be allowed in buildings with strict no-smoking policies.
Leave out a bowl of white vinegar or ammonia. These powerful odors will help mask most odors, including smoke. However, these products do not smell very good, and in the case of ammonia, the fumes may be hazardous if left out for prolonged periods of time. You may also have some explaining to do if your roommate or building manager finds bowls of vinegar or ammonia lying around.
Douse a rag with vanilla extract and hide it under a bed or chair. It should emit a strong vanilla odor which may help mask the smell of smoke.
- Try an air purifier. Cigarette smoke particles are very small, and therefore most air purifiers do not effectively remove cigarette particles from the room. However, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters and electronic air ionizers are designed to target small particles in the air. Even these types of air purifiers will not completely solve the problem, but they may help reduce lingering odors caused by smoke when used in conjunction with other preventative measures.
- Grow a lot of plants. Plants help neutralize odors by absorbing particles from smoke and removing carbon monoxide and other chemicals from the air. Having plants placed around your room can help freshen the air, and make the room look cheerier as well.
Some of the best plants for improved air quality include philodendron, spider plants, English ivy, peace lily, daisies, and chrysanthemums.
Removing Settled Odors
- Wash your walls. This may be a tedious chore if you are an everyday smoker, but one of the biggest odor traps in most household rooms is the walls. If your walls can be wet-washed, a good scrub can help remove a significant portion of lingering smoke odors. Be cautious about scrubbing walls that cannot get wet, such as wall-papered walls or walls with certain types of paint, as moisture may damage these walls and ruin the design.
Use a non-abrasive, all-purpose cleaner to scrub the walls of your room. If you have an all-purpose cleaner with a strong odor, like lemon or citrus, that may be even more effective in hiding the smell of smoke.
Vinegar can also be used to clean the walls, though again, you may have to explain the vinegar aroma clinging to your room. Mix one cup white vinegar with two cups of warm water, then add a generous scoop of baking soda. Use a mop, brush, or sponge to wash the walls and window moldings, and wipe it all down with a dry paper towel.
- Clean the rug or flooring. In addition to walls, carpeting and flooring tend to absorb a considerable amount of smoke odors in an indoor environment. One easy way to help conceal some of the cigarette smells that may linger is by giving the floors in your room a thorough cleaning. You can mop hardwood or tile floors with a scented cleaner like Murphy’s Oil or Pine-Sol, or use a dry, granulated carpet cleaner/deodorizer on carpeted floors.
Sprinkle the carpet cleaner/deodorizer generously across the carpet throughout the room, and let it sit for a while to absorb any lingering smells.
When it seems like the smell is fairly well-masked, use a vacuum to clean your entire room’s carpeting.
In a pinch, you can mask odors trapped in the carpet by mixing baking soda and a few drops of essential oil, such as lavender. Mix the liquid and powder together as much as you can, then sprinkle the carpet. Let it sit for about four hours (or as long as time permits), then vacuum up the powder.
- Deodorize furniture. Furniture, especially soft-surfaced furniture like couches and bedding, tend to soak up odors in the environment. Spray-on products like Febreze are designed to help mask odors, though by some reports the odor-masking properties are only temporary, and may require repeat applications.
Spraying odor-masking products on furniture and/or carpeting may help reduce noticeable smoke odors, but will not completely eliminate most odors.
Rubbing baking soda into a piece of furniture can also help neutralize odors. Let the baking soda sit for as long as possible (ideally overnight, though time constraints may not allow for this), then vacuum up all of the baking soda. This method could even be done in conjunction with a spray-on odor-masking product.
You can clean and remove cigarette smells from hard-surface furniture, such as wood, the same way you do flooring; wipe down the piece of furniture with a scented cleaner.
Also try eliminating cigarette smells by wiping down your furniture with a cloth that is lightly dampened by all-purpose cleaner with bleach.
- Get rid of cigarette butts. This may sound like an obvious step, but it’s important to remove any cigarette butts from your room if you want to avoid smoke odors. Not only will stray cigarette butts provide solid evidence that you’ve been smoking, they will also leave a tell-tale odor behind.
Keep your ashtray empty as often as possible.
Stray cigarette butts can emit a powerful odor long after the flame has been extinguished.
If you are trying to hide your smoking from others who live in the same house as you, remember to dispose of cigarette butts in a place they won’t be found or smelled.
Masking Odors on Your Body
Change your clothes. Even if you’ve managed to thoroughly clean your room and mask the odors there, if you’ve been smoking, the smell will linger pretty noticeably on your clothes. The best thing to do is to change your clothes immediately after smoking, and conceal those clothes in a contained environment, like a tied-up plastic bag.
If you aren’t able to change out of your clothes immediately, try spraying them down thoroughly with Lysol.
- Cover your breath. Much like clothing, a person’s breath is a tell-tale sign of smoking. Anyone who has ever talked to or kissed a smoker will recall the prominent odor on the smoker’s breath afterward. Fortunately, there are a number of options for covering the smell of cigarettes on your breath.
Eat something with a strong odor, like garlic or onions. This should effectively mask the odor from your breath, as garlic and onions tend to overpower most other smells.
Freshen your breath by brushing your teeth and using mouthwash. This will give you the freshest breath possible, and will leave your mouth feeling clean.
Chew a strong mint. Breath mints are designed to mask odors by leaving a strong minty aroma in your mouth. This can even be done after you’ve brushed your teeth or eaten something with a strong odor.
- Wash your hands. If you’ve been holding a burning cigarette for any length of time, there is a good chance that your hands will smell like cigarettes. Fortunately, if you’re at home, you should be able to thoroughly wash your hands, ideally with a scented soap.
Use a scented soap to work up a good lather between your hands.If you don’t have scented soap, a scented shampoo or body wash will do.
Rinse your hands thoroughly, and repeat as necessary.
Use hand sanitizer and/or moisturizing lotion to help further cover up the smell after you’ve washed your hands.
- Take a shower. Smoke tends to hang on people’s hair and scalp due to the porous nature of our body’s hair. If at all possible, wash your hair and take a full shower after smoking to adequately hide the smell of smoke on your person.
Use a coconut shampoo or other strongly-scented product to mask the odor on your hair and scalp.
Use a scented styling product after you shower to further ensure that your hair does not smell.