A lingering smell of smoke in a room can be a pleasant experience for a cigar lounge, bar or other smoke-friendly business. But when the lingering smell becomes an omnipresent fog, it becomes unpleasant to most. That's especially true when smoke seeps into fabrics and furnishings indoors, as well as hair and clothing. Not only can it create an unappealing interior environment, a stale smoke smell can indicate toxins that are detrimental to your health.
There's no question that cigar smoke, tobacco smoke and other smoking odors can cling to your decor and more. Fortunately, there are methods to keep the smoky miasma at a minimum, from airing your interior out to installing commercial grade smoke eaters.
Find out five quick steps to de-smoke-ify your interior, whether it's your cigar lounge, vape shop or other smoke-related business — or even your home.
1) Air it out
The easiest way to remove the smell of smoke from an indoor environment is kind of a no-brainer — throw open the windows and doors. Using fans to circulate the air will help freshen your indoor environment. Do this often, or at least as part of a deep clean.
Keep in mind that while opening a window and using fans does allow new air to circulate, it isn’t necessarily a good long-term strategy. Outside air can contain pollen and other allergens. If anyone at your business or home has allergies or respiratory issues, another solution may be needed. If you need to run an HVAC unit, opening windows also may be an impractical choice.
2) Freshen up fabrics
Smoke clings to surfaces, especially porous fabrics. Linens, upholstered furniture, carpet — these will all harbor smoke smells. Wash fabric items like curtains, linens and blankets, when possible.
Baking soda can be a great DIY smoke absorber. Sprinkle a light dusting of baking soda on carpet and upholstery, let it absorb odors and vacuum it up. Repeat as needed. A vapor steam cleaner can also help.
An odor-eliminating spray or strategically placed air fresheners can help mask odors in a pinch, but also aren't a great long-term solution to remove smoke smell.
3) Surface clean
Any hard surfaces — including walls and ceilings — should be washed with a non-toxic cleaner, such as a solution made of vinegar and water. These surfaces won't harbor odor as much as fabric will, so a thorough wipe-down should do the trick to help remove smoke smells.
4) Purchase a purifier
Air purifiers help with dust and allergens — asthma and allergy sufferers swear by them. You may also find some relief from tobacco and other types of smoke by using a residential or commercial air purifier. They can also help with exposure to wildfire smoke.
There are two basic types or air purifiers. Media or HEPA filters are made from cotton or synthetic woven materials. As dirty air is pulled in by the circulating fan, the filters catch particles, dust, pollen, smoke and more. Higher efficiency filters produce higher airflow resistance. Tightly woven filters capture more — and smaller — particulates, but also allow less airflow. As more particles are captured in the filter, airflow resistance increases. As a result, media filters must be changed regularly to maintain optimum efficiency.
Electronic air cleaners attract and retain airborne pollutants like a powerful magnet. As air is pulled through the air cleaner, larger particles are trapped by a pre-filter screen. Smaller particles pass through and become electrically charged. The charged particles are then trapped in the electronic filter and attracted to a series of grounded plates, also referred to as an electronic cell. The pollutants are held in the filter cell until washed away during the cleaning process.
Which will you use? Factors to consider include cost — media air purifiers require regular replacement of filters. In addition, the amount of maintenance required may sway you one way — electronic air purifiers need to be cleaned periodically to work properly.
5) Install a smoke eater
The best way to avoid the smell of smoke is to completely clear the air before odors seep into fabrics and other materials. Smoke eaters come in various sizes and with a variety of features, for installation in both residential and commercial settings. Consider media v. electronic options.
When choosing decor for a cigar lounge or somewhere that smoking may occur, opt for hard, non-porous, easy-to-clean materials, like plastic, acrylic, metal and the like. Understand local regulations regarding smoke removal and make sure your HVAC system is built to accommodate your space and smoke exposure.
In the end, the best strategy may be one that incorporates a little bit of each of the above recommendations. Talk to a reputable environmental systems professional about the needs of your business or home, including smoke eater options.