Why Does My House Smell Like Cigarette Smoke – Scientist Reveals

The overall appeal and hygiene of your home are affected by how nice it smells. It can be important if you discover that your house smells like cigarette smoke, especially when there is no smoker in your household.

Why Does My House Smell Like Cigarette Smoke? Your house smells like cigarette smoke because there is an accumulation of smoke compounds that have been absorbed by surfaces in your house. Other possible causes of the smell of cigarette smoke are mold growth in your washer, blocked AC vents, and lint trapped in your dryer’s filter.

Adrian Burton, who is a research biologist wrote a paper on the lasting effects of cigarette smoke in a house. He mentioned that smoke gets absorbed by surfaces in the houses of smokers and can remain on some surfaces for as long as two months.

Why Can I Smell Cigarette Smoke When There Is None?

You might be smelling cigarette smoke when there is none because of a medical condition called Phantosmia. Also, a cigarette-like smell could be coming from your smoke-absorbing furniture or your clothes washer or dryer.

There is a lengthy list of medical conditions that have unique effects on the human body, and high on that list is Phantosmia. The major feature of Phantosmia is that it causes the nose to “hallucinate”, making people perceive scents that are not there.

One thing to note about Phantosmia is that it affects people differently. Some people might notice a phantom smell in just one nostril, while other people might experience it in both nostrils. Also, the smell being experienced might be constant or might come and go.

Another characteristic of Phantosmia that might vary from person to person is the type of smell being detected. While there are so many odors that a person might encounter, there are several smells that seem to occur more often than every other smell. These include:

  • Spoiled or rotten items
  • Burning rubber
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Ammonia and other chemicals

While most of these scents seem to be unpleasant, there have been people with Phantosmia who experienced nice scents too.

There are a lot of factors that can lead to a person developing Phantosmia and some of them can be easily avoided. Here are some of these causes:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Dental issues
  • Nasal polyps
  • Infections of the sinus
  • Migraines
  • Nasal irritation caused by smoke
  • Common colds
  • Infections of the upper respiratory tract
  • Exposure to contaminated air

While Phantosmia might be why you can smell cigarette smoke, it is not a very serious disease, because it is most often caused by a problem with your nose or mouth. If it is caused by a cold or an infection, Phantosmia should stop once the infection is gone.

However, you might be smelling cigarette smoke for other reasons apart from a medical condition. The smell can be caused by a lot of other factors such as when there is a blockage or contamination in the air vents in your house.

Another possibility is the accumulation of mold in your washer, as this can give off a cigarette smell when water is left to stand for a while, promoting the growth of mold. Your dryer can also smell like cigarette smoke if the lint from clothing has gotten stuck in the exhaust vent.

Also, some household items that have distinct scents can give off the smell of burning cigarettes. Some potential items include washing detergent, soap, and cosmetics.

Finally, the cigarette smoke in your house might not be a result of your time in the house, but from the previous resident. The smell of cigarettes is a strong odor that can get absorbed by items in the house, causing it to linger for a long while. So, you might be experiencing a cigarette smell because the previous occupant did a lot of smoking in the house.

Why Does My Furnace Smell Like Cigarette Smoke (Burning Smell)?

Your furnace might smell like cigarette smoke because there is an accumulation of dirt and debris in the furnace filter and the air vent. When hot air from the furnace meets this debris, it can give off a cigarette smell.

During the summer, you will have no use for your home’s furnace to provide heat within the building. When the furnace is left inactive for several months, there will be a buildup of dirt within the furnace’s inner workings like its filter and vent.

If your furnace has been contaminated with dirt, and you switch it on, the furnace’s stifling air can burn the trapped debris, leading to the smell of cigarettes being given off. You can prevent this by thoroughly cleaning your furnace before switching it on.

Why Does My Laundry Room Smell Like Cigarette Smoke?

Your laundry room might smell like cigarette smoke because there is a growth of mold in the washer. This growth is often caused when water is left standing for a while.

The laundry room is an essential component of every home, since you need to wash clothes, sometimes multiple times a week, to keep your home properly functional. Understandably, it might be a big deal if you are experiencing cigarette smoke from your laundry room, particularly when no one in your home smokes.

The most likely reason your laundry room smells like cigarette smoke is that there is an accumulation of mold in the washing machine. When using a machine, you might leave a small volume of water standing for a while, and this is an ideal environment for mold spores to develop and grow.

The longer you leave water standing in the machine, the easier it is for mold to develop. Even if the machine is used often, mold spores can still develop quickly and might not be washed away when you turn on the machine.

Once mold begins to grow and gather within the washing machine, it can give off a distinct smell of stale cigarettes which can then spread around your laundry room, causing a disturbance. While mold can grow in most washing machine types, it seems more likely to occur in front-loading machines than in their top-loading counterparts.

There are some ways to prevent this mold buildup from happening in the first place, and other ways to fight it once it becomes apparent. Before understanding how to battle mold formation in your washer, you first need to understand what causes the formation in the first place.

Mold is a type of fungi that grows by producing small spores. Individually, these spores cannot be seen by the naked eye, but become visible when they have grown into a large cluster. The tiny mold spores can be spread easily by water and wind and can also be distributed by sticking to various surfaces like clothing.

When placed in favorable conditions, mold spores will begin to grow and multiply quickly. Mold requires certain moisture and temperature levels to grow comfortably. Environments with surplus water and a temperature between 68 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 35 degrees Celsius) are ideal for mold growth.

Coincidentally, these conditions can easily be found in your washing machine, making it easy for you to have a mold outbreak which can then give off a cigarette smoke smell. The first and most simple way to counter the advance of mold in your washer is to leave the door open.

When your washing machine door is left open, standing water can evaporate quickly, and proper circulation of air can combat the mold’s odor. This method can be used for any machine type but is particularly effective for front-loading machines.

Secondly, you can get rid of mold by using bleach as a cleaning agent for your washing machine. The best way to do this is to empty your washing machine, then use a mixture of bleach and water to run a rinse cycle.

The presence of bleach can help kill mold and other microorganisms. Performing a bleach-aided rinse cycle regularly can help stop the growth of mold in your washing machine, saving you from the subsequent cigarette smoke smell.

Can A Dryer Smell Like Cigarette Smoke?

A dryer can smell like cigarette smoke, and this can happen when cloth lint gets trapped in either the exhaust vent or the lint screen. The dryer’s hot air can burn the trapped lint, giving off a smoky smell.

Within a dryer, there is a lint filter that performs the function of collecting lint (pieces of clothing) that might be released from clothes. Sometimes, when the dryer has been used for a lengthy period, lint might be trapped in the filter.

Apart from the filter, lint might also get stuck in the exhaust vent. When the dryer is turned on, the hot air that is released can cause the trapped lint to smolder and burn, giving off a cigarette smell. To remedy such a situation, you can either clean the lint filter yourself or contact a technician to help handle things.

How To Get Rid of a Cigarette Smell in Your House?

You can get rid of a cigarette smell in your house by promoting proper ventilation, cleaning out your AC, using an air freshener, or absorbing the smell with charcoal.

Above, we explored several reasons why your house might be smelling like cigarette smoke. Some possibilities we considered include an accumulation of mold in your washer, blocked air vents, and lint trapped in the filter of your dryer.

The situations listed are what you should consider if no one in your household smokes cigarettes. In either of these situations, the best way to get rid of the cigarette smell would be to clear out the defaulting accessory.

However, in some cases, the cigarette smell might linger for a long while even when the source has been removed. If the cigarette smell has stayed in your house for a long while, it might be absorbed by your household items, making it for the odor to remain even after the defaulting issue has been solved.

Your next course of action in such a case is to remove the stink from your house totally. Here are a few measures you can take to achieve a clean-smelling home.

  • Improve Ventilation

If there is a constant cigarette smell in your house even after clearing out the causal factor, you should try to increase how ventilated your home is. You can keep your fans running steadily and open your windows and doors.

While ventilation does not uproot the main cause of the smell, it can make your house smell better, and ensure that the lingering smell goes away faster.

  • Absorb With Charcoal

Apart from its distinctive color, charcoal is also used as a cleaning agent, and it is remarkable because of its ability to absorb strong smells. You can simply place bits of charcoal in bowls and place the bowls in different corners of the house to take in the cigarette smell.

After a few days, the old charcoal should be replaced with a new batch. The process should be repeated until the odor has been removed. For greater effectiveness, you can purchase activated charcoal, since it is more porous and can absorb the smoke smell better.

  • Clean AC Ducts

The cigarette smell in your house might be a result of an accumulation of compounds such as nicotine in the air ducts, filters, and vents in your air conditioning system. This scenario is likely if the previous occupant of your house was an active smoker.

If this is the case, you can make your house smell better by opening your air conditioner to clean its vents, filters, and ducts. Also, you can simply replace the contaminated AC parts if the smell lingers stubbornly.

  • Use Air Fresheners

The use of air fresheners is an unsurprising addition to this list since the purpose of air fresheners is to make rooms smell better. You can purchase a nice smelling air freshener that will not only cover up the cigarette smell but also last long while doing so. I recommend an Aromatherapy Diffuser Set that is available on Amazon. Click here to have your kit delivered directly to your front door.

However, you should note that an air freshener should be used to combat lingering smells after the source of the odor has been removed in the first place.

I conducted a study of responses on forums to find out other methods of removing the cigarette smell from the interior of a house:

Method to remove extreme cigarette smell from housePercentage of total responses
Repaint the walls and ceilings starting with Kilz Primer (click for delivery)45%
Steam clean carpeting (click to have your steam mop delivered)10%
Clean out the vents34%
Deodorize everything constructed out of wood (click to get your bottles of Frebreze delivered)11%
data derived from various DIY forums

Here is a video that shows you how to get rid of the smell of cigarette smoke from the inside of a rental property:

How Much Does a Professional Cigarette Smoke Removal Cost?

The cost of a professional cigarette remover is around $3000. Depending on how much cigarette smoke has penetrated your home, you might spend anywhere between $2,300 and $6,300 to hire a professional cigarette smoke remover.

The effect of cigarette smoke accumulation in your home can be negative since the odor is often unpleasant. To remove the smell of cigarette smoke from your room, you can contact a professional.

The price range that most people pay for smoke removal is between $2,300 and $6,300. However, this is an average value, as some serious cases have seen people spend as much as $11,000 for the process. If the cost of a professional service is too steep for you, you can always go through the process of removing the smell of cigarette smoke yourself.

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Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

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