How To Get The Smell Of Smoke Out Of Clothes

Tuesday 6th February 2024

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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A man smoking outdoors CONTENTS

If you are a smoker or regularly hang out with people that smoke cigarettes, you may find that your clothes are starting to smell of them. This odour is not just unpleasant and very difficult to get out of fabric, it could be putting your health at risk. 

Here at ICE Cleaning, we offer effective cigarette smoke odour removal services. Our six-stage process can neutralise the smell and remove any nicotine and tar staining in the property. Our technicians are available nationwide, 24/7, 365 days a year. 

Keep reading to find out why your clothes smell like cigarette smoke.

What causes clothes to smell like cigarettes?

The lingering odour of cigarettes on your clothes is a sign that thirdhand smoke has settled into the fabric. Thirdhand smoke consists of all the pollutants that settle on surfaces when a cigarette is smoked. Thirdhand smoke clings to surfaces long after a cigarette has been extinguished, and is particularly fond of soft materials with lots of pores that the particles can embed themselves into, like clothes and upholstery. 

Thirdhand smoke can easily settle onto any clothing you are wearing or those stored away at home. As the particles can sink deep into soft surfaces, they are very difficult to remove. This is why your clothes can continue to smell even after washing.

The absorption of nicotine can also make you sweat more and cause your sweat to smell like smoke. When the sweat transfers onto your clothing, it can then cause them to smell like the unpleasant odour.

The dangers of thirdhand smoke

Thirdhand smoke contains lots of harmful chemicals including nicotine, tar, and even heavy metals. The toxins trapped within clothes fibres can off-gas over time, as well, releasing harmful pollutants back into the air. When thirdhand smoke is touched, ingested, or inhaled it can cause a range of health problems and is linked to cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses. 

Children are especially vulnerable since they are more likely to touch contaminated surfaces and then put their hands in their mouth. Studies have even found that thirdhand smoke is capable of causing DNA damage.

Thirdhand smoke is especially harmful if it's on your clothing as you will constantly be in close-contact with the harmful chemicals. 

How to remove thirdhand smoke from clothes

To get the smoke smell out of clothes, you need to get rid of all the thirdhand smoke particles. Due to how far they can sink into fabrics, removing them from clothes is particularly challenging, and requires specialist equipment and cleaning agents. 

Putting them in the washing machine will likely remove some of the odour but not all of it. Some cleaning methods can even damage and discolour your clothing, such as adding vinegar to washes or washing clothes in very hot water.

Airing out items or spritzing them with deodorisers may offer temporary relief by masking the odour, but over time the nice scents will wear off and the offensive odour will return. These methods will not tackle the root cause of the smoke smell, either, and will continue to put your health at risk.

To remove smoke odour from clothes, you should always have them professionally dry cleaned. Dry cleaners will have access to solvents designed specifically for dissolving stubborn residues without damaging delicate fibres.

If there is a cigarette smell on your clothes, it's likely that it is present in rest of your home, too. Removing the smoke odour from your property is just as challenging as removing it from fabric, so it is recommended you bring in odour neutralisation experts to deal with the thirdhand smoke, and nicotine and tar stains. 

They will have the training and specialist tools for a thorough clean without damaging any of the affected surfaces. They can also give you peace of mind that your home is safe and odour-free. 

How to stop clothes from smelling like cigarettes

First, never smoke indoors. Smoking outdoors allows the smoke to be carried away from you so it is less likely to settle on your clothes. This also means thirdhand smoke will not settle in your home.

Next, consider investing in an air purifier for your home. Some kinds are able to filter out unwanted smoke odours and remove the smell from your property.

Don't forget to wash clothes immediately after being around smokers to remove as much of the smoke smell as possible.

Get in touch

In an emergency, our technicians can be on site within a matter of hours to remove the smoke odour from your property. 

To book our technicians for cigarette smoke odour removal, contact our team today on 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk. We will be happy to provide you with a free, no-obligation quote. 

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Laura Hills

Laura Hills

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