Does Vinegar Remove Cigarette Smells? (Solved!)

Cigarette smell

Don’t want your kids to smell the smoke on you after a long day? Or trying to get the study smelling less musty after a whisky-and-cigar easy evening?  

Vinegar can be an effective and handy item in your pantry to remove cigarette smells. In this article, we will look at how vinegar can remove cigarette smells from different items and what kinds of vinegar are most useful. 

Why vinegar to remove cigarette smell? 

Cigarette smell can be removed in a variety of ways, including the use of hand sanitizers or rubbing alcohol.

Unlike many other DIY or homemade solutions, vinegar doesn’t just mask the smell of cigarette smoke, it actually removes it. It is acidic in nature and it neutralizes the alkaline pH of smoke. You can use generic white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. 

How to use vinegar to remove cigarette smell? 

Furniture and floors

You can wipe surfaces like leather chairs and tables, mirrors, windows, and even ceilings. Smoke residue often ends up accumulating on the ceiling, so make sure you get up there. 

You can use a sponge or washcloth and dip it in a white vinegar solution, or you could use a spray bottle and a cloth. Never use vinegar around electrical sockets, although you can lightly wipe tube lights or bulbs with a cloth dipped in vinegar and wrung out. 

If you’re pressed for time, just take the wrung-out cloth and flap it around the room, as though waving or dispersing perfume. Wiping is more fruitful because the vinegar actually dissolved nicotine residue upon contact. 

For the tiled floor, mop with a solution of vinegar and water, usually in a 1:9 ratio. This can be done in bathrooms and fireplaces as well. Use only warm or hot water to clean away smoke. 

For rooms that have a lot of cigarette smoke suspended in the air, first, ventilate the areas properly. You can place bowls filled with vinegar around the room. Over the hours, the diffused smoke particles will be absorbed. 

It is best to leave it overnight for maximum impact. These have to be changed with fresh vinegar at least once a week. 

You can also place pieces of bread in vinegar bowls to enhance the deodorization process. But the bread needs to be discarded after one day. This technique works for cars as well, as long as you don’t spill the vinegar all over the seats. 

To make the vinegar more effective you can also heat it. Bring it close to a boil and let it simmer for a couple of hours. The steam arising from this can speed up the elimination of cigarette odors. Letting lemon peels simmer along with the water makes it even better. 

Upholstery and clothes 

Carpets and thick curtains with designs and embroidery can be hard to get cigarette smoke out of. Some will need to be professionally cleaned, either steam-cleaned or laundered with water.  If not, you can always add about 1/2 to one cup vinegar alongside the washing solution. 

It can be added with detergents or used on its own. You can also run one wash with vinegar followed by a rinse cycle with detergent. 

Detergents can remove stains but they are not as adept with persistent malodors. Warm or hot water rinse along with vinegar should zap that smoky smell. 

The same process with less vinegar can be repeated for clothes that have a cigarette smell hanging onto them. This can only be done if the upholstery or clothes are machine-washable.

Because of their size and tendency to grasp odors, carpets may never be fully rid of cigarette smells. They are also very difficult to wash so thoroughly, which means stubborn stenches aren’t fully gone. 

How to combat the vinegar smell? 

The next problem is the lingering sour smell of vinegar. If you’re not someone who likes it, rest assured, it will dissipate within a couple of hours. If you still can’t stand it try using scents that combat it. 

These include some essential oils like lavender and peppermint, or alternatively citrus peels and herbs like sage or rosemary. These can be placed in the same room in small bowls to mask the vinegar.  

It is always best not to rinse hard surfaces. Rather, leave them to air-dry. Once dried, if surfaces like your walls still smell, it means a re-painting job is overdue. Paint will also combat the smell to a large extent, giving your home a fresh look and scent! 

You can also try generic air purifiers or even plain old baking soda. A baking soda packet or two in the room should soak up the pungency. 

You don’t have to use vinegar on its own. You can use DIY solutions made of vinegar, ammonia, baking soda, and water in various combinations.  You can also place some charcoal briquettes around the house, to maximize absorption. 

There you have it – the down and dirty of vinegar as a cigarette smoke alleviator! 

Categorized as Q&A