IICRC Certified Firm
Wednesday 23 May 2018

Cigarette Smoke Damage and Your Home

Posted by at 3:00 PM

In 2016, more than 1.3 million fires were reported in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Even though this number seems staggering, not every home that has a smoke problem is part of the NFPA's statistic. Smoke damage doesn't always happen in emergency situations.

How could a home sustain smoke damage without a fire? The answer is easy — cigarette smoke. While cigarette smoke doesn't have the immediate damage properties that a raging home fire does, over time, it can cause major problems for homeowners.

Whether you or someone in your home has smoked for years or the previous owner of your new home smoked, you should make it a priority to get the smell and stains out of your home.

The Odor

The smoke from tobacco-containing products is filled with more than 7,000 chemicals, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Along with the hundreds of chemicals that are toxic (and 70 that are linked to cancer), the chemical-filled smoke leaves a lasting impression — and it's not a good one.

Cigarette smoke has a distinctive odor that isn't easy to wipe or clean away. You can open the windows, spray air freshener, or light scented candles for hours on end, but these tricks probably won't clear the smell from your home. Stuck-in cigarette smells are a challenge for the homeowner to remove on their own. In many cases, you need to hire a smoke restoration professional to completely get rid of the smell.

Truly removing the smell requires restoration strategies for soft surfaces, such as carpeting and upholstery, along with the walls, wooden/tile floors, cabinetry, and other permanent structures within the home. Instead of covering the odors, a residential restoration contractor can clean and purify smoke-soaked surfaces and tackle air issues (by cleaning air ducts and vents).

The Walls

Unless your home has dark-colored walls, cigarette smoke can stain the paint and wallpaper. If you've recently stopped smoking, are in the first steps of selling your home, or just moved into a smoker's former home, you should definitely remove the cigarette stains from the walls to improve your décor.

You have a few different options when it comes to ridding the walls of unsightly smoke stains. The most obvious option is to cleaning the stains. Light or new smoke stains may come off of the walls with commercially available cleaning products or rubbing alcohol. But even though this may remove barely-there stains, heavy smoke damage may still persist after a DIY cleaning job.

What can you do if the cigarette smoke damage is still noticeable? You could try washing the walls again, but this isn't likely to completely remove all the dark stains. Another option is to paint over the stains. But painting over the walls in a white, ivory, or equally light color may not completely hide the stains. Dark colors do hide smoke stains, but choosing a deep maroon or navy blue isn't always a décor choice that you want to make.

If you can't remove the cigarette staining yourself or have concerns about your ability to cover them up, a professional restoration company has the equipment and experience to decrease the likelihood that the smoke will continue to show through.

The Ceiling

Don't forget to look up. Cigarette smoke doesn't just stick on the walls. As the smoke travels upwards, it also stains the ceiling (including any light fixtures that are suspended from the cleaning areas). The process for removing ceiling stains is similar to what you would do for a wall.

If the stains have affected lighting or light fixtures, remove covers or encasements and clean them thoroughly.

Do you have serious smoke odors and stains in your home? Contact ANR Restoration Inc for more information.