Converting Smoking Unit to Non-Smoking Unit

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I’m working on purchasing a duplex which has a 1 bedroom unit that has a noticeable cigarette smoke odor to it. My property manager let me know that in order to convert that to a non-smoking unit I would want to go through and update most, if not all, of the surfaces (new carpet, paint, etc.)

The odor is not overbearing but certainly something that will need to be dealt with.

Are there tips/tricks to try to remove the odor or is it really best to start from scratch? The current carpet is fairly new and durable so I’d prefer to save it if I could.

Thank you everyone!

There is no easy way to get rid of noticeable smoke, even after you remediate everything there is still going to be lingering odor that will pop up every now and the. I would start  from scratch.

Hi @Blake Johnston if the smell isn't too bad there are machines called Ozone generators that help remove smells. You can buy the machine or find a company that does it. Maybe if you do that, get the carpets cleaned and maybe a fresh coat of paint will do it. The good news is that it sounds like its a smaller place being a 1 bedroom so it shouldn't cost you to much. If you have to remove the carpet consider replacing it with some laminate, less headaches in the long run and possible an opportunity to increase rents. 

Hope this helps.


I recently went through this when I evicted my tenant.  Before repainting, I actually cleaned all of walls first to remove the layer of smoke that was on them.  The cleaning solutions were made by a company named ZEP.  I installed Wallflowers from Bath and Body Works in every room, repainted all rooms (even those with white walls), removed all carpet and reinstalled new carpet, and cleaned all vinyl flooring in the unit as well.  The carpet was actually in very poor condition so removal was a necessity anyway.  Even with the removal of the plug-ins though, the new tenant has been excited about moving in and I'm optimistic the stench of smoke will not return. 

I dealt with this in a condo I bought from a smoker.

1) Open windows

2) Definitely rip up any carpet that may be there

3) Put on a mask- Clean and scrub walls/windows/floors/trim every surface in the house with bleach/water mixture. You can also look into TSP, I've used this for cleaning surfaces before. You will see the nicotine on surfaces.

4) Paint ceilings and walls with an odor blocking primer/paint. I believe I used a kilz branded primer.

Hey @Blake Johnston , great question. I was wondering myself.

I also wanted to ask a related question... do the vapors from the vape products cause any odors, discoloration, issues, to a home?

And do landlords include "no vaping" policies in the lease as well as no smoking policies?

Have any of you guys (@Tristan Hickman , @Joe Abughazaleh , @Rachael Agruso , @Brian Van Pelt ) dealt with the new vape craze?

Vaping still uses nicotine and other chemical flavoring and suspension agents, and be spilled on carpets ,counters etc.

Calling smoking by a different name is still smoking. If you want to get technical the dictionary definition:




gerund or present participle: smoking

  1. 1. emit smoke or visible vapor.

    "heat the oil until it just smokes"

    synonyms:smolder, emit smoke, emit fumes; archaicreek"the peat fire was smoking" 

I don't have a no vaping policy @Drew Heiss  but I will be instituting that in revisions to my month-to-month leases!  I agree that they do not carry the odor like cigarettes but I want to be consistent across the board with how I enforce the no-smoking rules.