From the BiggerPockets Blog

 BiggerPockets Blog »

Jump to Forum View All

Click a category below to view different forum categories.


General Info

BiggerPockets Q&A, Site Questions, & Announcements

1522 topics, 14443 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 05:38PM

BiggerPockets Exclusive PRO Area

118 topics, 844 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 08:28AM

New Member Introductions

10977 topics, 86489 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 05:43PM

Real Estate Success Stories

398 topics, 6197 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 05:43PM

General Real Estate

General Real Estate

Buying & Selling Real Estate

5989 topics, 47193 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 05:40PM


649 topics, 5857 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 02:47PM

Get Foreclosure Help - Help Stop Foreclosure Forum

316 topics, 2557 posts — Last Post 04/21/14, 03:59PM

Home Owner Association (HOA) Issues & Problems Forum

238 topics, 1611 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 04:02AM

Do it Yourself

658 topics, 6316 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 09:50AM

Reviews & Feedback

Real Estate Deal Analysis and Advice

3706 topics, 29719 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 05:23PM

Real Estate Guru, Book & Course Reviews and Discussions

1139 topics, 11598 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 02:31PM

Ask About A Real Estate Company

743 topics, 7344 posts — Last Post 04/22/14, 11:25PM

Real Estate Investing

Real Estate Strategies


5633 topics, 43934 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 05:34PM

Rehabbing and House Flipping

3351 topics, 31097 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 02:09PM

Real Estate Development & New Home Construction

554 topics, 4694 posts — Last Post 04/22/14, 09:17PM

Innovative Strategies

705 topics, 6044 posts — Last Post 04/22/14, 04:06PM

Tax Liens, Notes, Paper, & Cash Flows Discussion

867 topics, 6692 posts — Last Post 04/22/14, 08:22PM

Rent to Own a.k.a. Lease Purchase, Lease Options

698 topics, 4926 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 01:33PM

1031 Exchanges

143 topics, 1062 posts — Last Post 04/22/14, 03:21PM

Foreclosure Investing

General Foreclosure & Pre-Foreclosure Forums

1691 topics, 11313 posts — Last Post 04/22/14, 09:26PM

HUD, VA, and Tax Sales

416 topics, 3103 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 02:29PM


1217 topics, 10595 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 09:23AM

Short Sales

1538 topics, 13139 posts — Last Post 04/22/14, 01:38PM

Landlord & Tenant Forums

Landlord & Rental Property Questions

7246 topics, 71131 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 05:41PM

Mobile Homes & Mobile Home Park Investing

639 topics, 5144 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 07:57AM

Investor Basics

Starting Out

7727 topics, 60654 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 02:30PM

Investor Psychology

431 topics, 6107 posts — Last Post 04/20/14, 06:04AM

General Real Estate Investing

4727 topics, 37315 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 02:57PM

Real Estate Investor Marketing

1738 topics, 14146 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 03:15PM

Commercial Real Estate

Commercial Real Estate Investing Forum

1412 topics, 9004 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 02:19PM

Multi-Family and Apartment Investing

1123 topics, 9381 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 04:46PM

The Business of Real Estate

Real Estate Technology and the Internet

Real Estate Technology, Social Media & Blogging

644 topics, 4911 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 04:03PM

Business Basics

Goals, Business Plans & Entities

833 topics, 7573 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 05:37PM

Real Estate Finance & Legal

Financial, Tax, and Legal

Tax, Legal Issues, Contracts, Self-Directed IRA

2802 topics, 20135 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 04:45PM

Property Insurance

311 topics, 2057 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 01:20PM

Personal Finance Discussion

330 topics, 2754 posts — Last Post 04/22/14, 12:06PM

Loans, Mortgages, Credit Lines

Private & Conventional Lending Discussion

2852 topics, 19844 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 05:05PM

Creative Real Estate Financing

1220 topics, 8855 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 05:22PM

Crowdfunding Real Estate

35 topics, 463 posts — Last Post 04/19/14, 06:24PM

Real Estate Professionals

Real Estate Professionals

Real Estate Agents

1217 topics, 8024 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 08:23AM

Bankers, Lenders, and Mortgage Brokers

442 topics, 1929 posts — Last Post 04/22/14, 11:03AM


269 topics, 1690 posts — Last Post 04/22/14, 07:33AM

Local Real Estate

Local Real Estate

Local Real Estate Networking & Recommendations

2015 topics, 11749 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 05:15PM

Americans & International Real Estate

162 topics, 568 posts — Last Post 04/14/14, 11:19AM

Foreigners Buying in the USA

62 topics, 409 posts — Last Post 04/10/14, 06:27AM

Canadian Real Estate

65 topics, 439 posts — Last Post 04/22/14, 09:27AM


Real Estate Marketplace

Real Estate Marketplace

15080 topics, 54118 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 05:37PM

Real Estate Events and Happenings

168 topics, 2598 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 05:03PM


Off Topic


2907 topics, 32441 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 11:24AM

Housing News & Real Estate Market

920 topics, 8391 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 02:43PM

BiggerPockets Real Estate Investing Summit

97 topics, 1752 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 04:51AM

BiggerPockets Resources

Forums » Rehabbing and House Flipping » What is required to get rid of cigarette smoke odor, staining, etc?

What is required to get rid of cigarette smoke odor, staining, etc?

20 posts by 17 users


Real Estate Investor · Queens, New York

I am looking at a condo and the owners have smoked heavily in it for years. When you walk in you get hit with a strong cigarette smell and you can see some residue on the walls from it. Also, the unit is carpeted so I would imagine the carpets are saturated with it.

If I buy the place and rip out all the carpeting, clean the walls and ceiling and completely re-paint, will this eliminate all traces of the smoke? Is there anything else that can/should be done? Any particular product/cleaner recommendations?


Real Estate Investor · New York

We did a SFH with plaster walls.
We tore everything out then shellaced the walls &
Floors b4 we put down carpet. It worked.
The killer would be forced air venting but we had steam heat.

Rehabber · Lexington, Kentucky

This thread should give you some help:

Small_kvJames Vermillion, K&V Investing
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 859-684-2511
Invested in the Bluegrass!

Real Estate Investor · Naples, Florida

I don't have a good answer. I purchased a house that had horrible odors. They lived in total filth. Not only did they have cigaratte odors, but also animal odors. We ripped out the carpet and painted the walls. We also opened the rear sliders and left them open about a week. We were lucky, and there is no smell left. When I do rentals, I DO NOT rent to smokers. I got some lady really mad at me asking me why I would allow a small dog but not smokers LOL! Evidently, she smoked! My lease states no smoking IN OR ON THE PREMISES. So far, good luck. You might consider not renting to smokers. That might weed out a few people, but in the long run you won't be dealing with that.

Best of luck.
John Thedford
Naples, Florida

Real Estate Investor · Springfield, Missouri

A gallon of Odor Out in an average livingroom, sprayed everywhere and wiped down worked pretty good.

Financexaminer@real estate investor dot com

Real Estate Investor · Audubon, Pennsylvania

Good answer there @James Vermillion - that thread hit on most of the important points.

Steve Babiak, Redeeming Properties, LLC
Telephone: 6109082183

· Greentown, Indiana

We've had to deal with cigarette odors and stains on several occasions.

Wash down what you can, and get a good primer that is supposed to help with odors as well as the stains. I have been also known to keep baking soda and coffee in tins sitting in various rooms to help remove odor... these get changed frequently. Carpet, if it is as bad as you say, will likely have to be removed... and priming the floor might be an option if the sub-floor too is odor filled. Open the windows if you can and let the fresh air blow in too.

Others have mentioned ozone machines before. I have no experience with these so can't comment on their value.

· Illinois

ozone machine. get one on ebay for $100. point a fan towards it & put it on a 15 minute incremental timer. run it overnight. make sure the house is vacant & seal the walls.

SFR Investor · Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I do not rent to smokers. Even if they say they "only smoke outside", the smoke will come in with them. Also, who's to say on those days that's it's near-zero degrees outside that they just won't light up inside because they don't want to freeze their butts off (pun) smoking outside?

"If it makes dollars, it makes sense."

Real Estate Investor · Jacksonville, Florida

If they've been smoking in it for years this might not work but I mixed a solution of vinegar and warm water and wiped down about every square inch of walls and windows in a rental where it smelled very bad of smoke. My understanding is the vinegar will absord the nicotine and then gradually disipate over time. Whereas the nicotine will just stay in the walls etc and not disipate over time. I didn't have to paint everything after but my unit had been smoked in for a little over 1 year, maybe not as bad as the place you are referencing.

Real Estate Investor · Michigan

There's a product called "Awesome" that they sell at the dollar store. Good for getting rid of nicotine stains. As far as odor, paint and carpet will help. You will also want to vacuum every heat vent, tops of doors, and every other nook and cranny.

Residential Landlord · Northeast, Ohio

Have never tried an ozone generator, but agree with @Steve M (@James Vermillion's repost). B-I-N Shellac-Based Primer (Zinnser Brand) is absolutely the best...Like many here on BP, I've fixed up some disasters (pet odor, smoke odor, and some odors that I still can't identify). The B-I-N Shellac is great and has never failed me.

You need to ensure good ventilation when you are applying it because it's pretty strong (it's shellac after all), but the fumes dissipate in about 30 minutes. Works on floors, walls and ceilings.

Real Estate Investor · Riverside, California

By the time you wash the walls, clean the carpets and wait to see if it still stinks, you may lose a month's rent, so often it is better just to re-paint and re-carpet. Or, just market to a smoker! They won't even notice the smell!

· Greentown, Indiana

I agree that the Awesome product you can find at Family Dollar is great on nicotine stains. Make sure you look at the directions as there are some things you can't use it on.

Real Estate Investor · New York

Originally posted by John McCombs:
By the time you wash the walls, clean the carpets and wait to see if it still stinks, you may lose a month's rent, so often it is better just to re-paint and re-carpet. Or, just market to a smoker! They won't even notice the smell!

tha's exactly what we did
the SFH came from friends who moved to NC but didn't want to go thro an agent. So they did it FSBO but we did the showings etc for a % because they just left.
It was listed it @ $154,000 & reeked of years of smoking but they refused to spend any $ on cleanup. I could barely spend the 1 hour open house time we did for them.
The buyer @ $144,500 was a divorced, retired 65 yr old GM worker with a 2 pack a day habit. The amazing thing is he is still alive????

Real Estate Investor · Queens, New York

I should clarify, this is a place I want to buy, fix up, and live in - it's not a rental or flip. I just put the thread in the rehab section because it's rehab/repair related work..

SFR Investor · Tulsa, Oklahoma

We actually just went through this ourselves last week. Our renter passed away from lung cancer believe it or not and our condo smelled like a European night club. We started to wash down the walls as that was much of the advice on BP, but that was labor intensive and didn't do much so we decided to literally repainted the entire place. We did not use primer on the walls, but it was an absolute must for the ceilings. we ripped out the carpet and put new carpet in and after the paint we were in good shape. Odor is completely gone and we just rented it to a single non-smoking mother who couldn't even tell a smoker had lived there.

Good luck

Real Estate Investor · North Richland Hills, Texas

If you light the place on fire no one can smell the urine odor...just sayin....

Real Estate Investor · Goshen, Kentucky

Nilium is a wonderful product that you add to your paint. It will get rid of all kinds of odors and it's cheap.

Here's a link to the post I did for BP that has some other suggestions.


Real Estate Investor · Katy, Texas

Remove all carpet (assuming you will want to replace) and demo/pull any other items you plan to replace. Then get an ozone machine. You can purchase or even rent one from a local equipment rental store. Run the unit in rooms overnight. Do not be around while running, as Ozone is NOT the best stuff to ingest. After running the ozone machine open rooms up for ventilation. Build out, install new flooring/carpet and new paint should finish the job for you.

Sign up