Cigar smoke is dangerous and can pose a threat to your health, even when it’s second-hand or third-hand smoke. Third-hand smoke refers to when the pollutants settle indoors after prolonged periods of smoking inside.
This means that even if you weren’t present when someone was smoking a cigar, you could still be negatively affected by it just by being in a room that smells of cigars. Third-hand smoke builds slowly on the surfaces, which means that for a long time, you might not even notice that you’re exposed to it. Still, the chemicals in third-hand smoke contain cancer-causing substances such as formaldehyde, naphthalene, and others.
Because of all this, it’s important to learn how to remove the pollutants from your house, your clothes, and even your walls to prevent a buildup of dangerous pollutants.
Here’s what you need to know about cigar smoke and how to permanently remove it from your surroundings.
What Is Cigar Smoke and How Does It Stick to Stuff?
One common question that most people want to know the answer to is if there’s a way to prevent cigar smoke from sticking to objects in our surroundings.
Well, the most obvious answer for prevention is to stop smoking indoors, as no matter what we do, if we smoke indoors, there will be a residual smell. Here’s why.
Why Does Smoke Smell Stick?
When people light cigars, the smoke is actually a bunch of small particles of burnt (and unburnt) matter. This includes substances such as charcoal, soot, and other chemicals present in cigars (formaldehyde, naphthalene).
When smoking a cigar, these particles are released into the air. As air moves in the house, the particles end up on the walls or are embedded into soft fabrics, such as those in curtains, the couch, the sofa, our clothes, and more.
So the smell that we sense on our clothes after smoking cigars is actually from freed particles that sit on top of objects and clothes. The more we smoke in the same place, the bigger the buildup of particles and the stronger the smell.
In fact, with time, some of these particles are again freed into the air, and we inhale them, which can be very dangerous. According to Mayo Clinic, long-term exposure to toxins in third-hand smoke can probably cause similar effects as second-hand smoke, i.e., cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illness.
Removing Cigar Smoke Smell From Your Skin
The quickest way to remove cigar smoke smell from your skin is to take a shower or take a bath. However, most of the time, we want a quicker and more practical solution. In these cases, you can use a mixture of baking soda, soap, and warm water.
To make the mixture, simply add a tablespoon of baking soda to several squirts of liquid soap directly into the palm of your hand and mix together. Then, let warm water run, and rub your hands firmly under the warm water.
Make sure to thoroughly soap your hands by rubbing the mixture all over, even under your nails and between your fingers. Finally, rinse the hands with lukewarm water and repeat the procedure again if you still think there’s some smell left.
But be careful — we do not recommend using baking soda on your face or if you have sensitive skin. Activated charcoal might be a more sensitive ingredient that you can mix with your face wash.
To prevent cigar smoke from absorbing into your skin, you should always cover up with clothing as much as you can when smoking.
For your breath, don’t forget to also brush your teeth and use a lozenge, gum, breath mint, or mouthwash.
Removing Cigar Smoke Smell From Your Hair
Washing your hands is a quick and easy way to remove cigar smoke smell from your skin, but your hair is another matter. Washing your hair every day is not healthy, and you might not have the time for that. So, what can you do?
Washing your hair with shampoo and conditioner is the best option. This also applies to facial hair.
But when that’s not an option, you can use a dry shampoo or a dryer sheet. With dry shampoo, you can quickly reduce the cigar smoke smell, but you probably won’t eliminate it completely.
The same goes for dryer sheets — you can use them in an emergency by rubbing them all over your hair, including underlying layers, which will probably reduce the smell by some degree.
Whatever you decide to do, don’t spray your hair with perfume! That will only make it worse. Just like cigar smoke, the perfume releases small particles that are absorbed into the skin and hair or sit on top of our clothes.
Therefore, perfume does not remove the already embedded smoke particles but sticks next to or on top of them, which leads to a smell that’s a mixture of both. And, trust us, you don’t want that.
Removing Cigar Smoke Smell From Your Clothing
Clothes are exposed to cigar smoke the most because even if you smoke outside, your clothes are bound to absorb some of the smoke. This is why it’s best to wash the clothes after each use, so you can remove the smoke smell immediately.
The buildup of cigar smoke might cause a lingering smell even after you wash them. Plus, you don’t want your whole closet to smell of cigars? Here are all the options to thoroughly remove cigar smoke smell from clothes.
Add a cup of baking soda inside your washing machine or hand-wash them with detergent and baking soda. Just like your skin, washing your clothes with a mixture of detergent and baking soda is one of the easiest ways to remove cigar smoke smell.
If the smell is not removed after one wash — try again, but this time, let them dry on their own on the balcony. Dryer machines can sometimes bake the smell in.
But what if you’re at work and have a big meeting ahead? In this case, you can try rubbing dryer sheets all over your clothes or spraying a deodorizing spray. These solutions are not perfect and might be able to mask the smell for some time, but you should always wash the clothes when you get home. Don’t put them back in the closet right away!
What About the Closet?
In case it’s already too late, and your closet does have a cigar smell, you can use vinegar or baking soda to clean it.
First, take all the clothes out and put them in the washing machine — adding clothes that smell of cigar smoke will only transfer the smell back to the closet.
Second, mix one cup of white vinegar with a gallon of hot water and wipe down all surfaces of the closet with a damp cloth.
Once that’s done, leave the closet open in a well-vented room (opened windows work, too) for a whole day or two until it dries completely. Then, you can start handing fresh, clean clothes back into the closet.
Removing Cigar Smoke Smell From Your Furniture
The furniture in is most exposed to cigar smoke smell because soft fabric easily absorbs smoke particles. So, it’s not uncommon for old furniture in smokers’ homes to smell rancid and burnt.
To prevent such a scenario and make sure your furniture stays clean, you can try a few things.
First, do not smoke inside, especially not on a regular basis. If it happens every once in a while, you can try and prevent the buildup of smoke particles by ventilating the entire home. After this, clean the furniture thoroughly as you would normally do.
Second, you could try an overnight solution with baking soda for an old smell. Simply sprinkle baking soda on your carpets, couch, sofa, and other furniture that’s affected and leave it overnight. You can gently rub it all over the furniture to make sure all the surface is covered. Baking soda is really good at absorbing smells, so give it time to work.
The next day, vacuum the baking soda from the furniture using a vacuum machine with an upholstery attachment.
You’ll probably find people that also swear by coffee grounds, vinegar, or even vodka. However, while many things probably can remove or mask the cigar smell on furniture, many of them can also damage or stain the units. Because of this, we only recommend baking soda, and if that doesn’t work, please take your furniture to a professional cleaner.
Removing Cigar Smoke Smell From Your Walls
Did you know that nicotine contaminates dust? Because of that, smokers’ rooms not only smell, but they usually look very dirty, especially the walls and bright wood surfaces, such as kitchen countertops. To make sure that your walls stay clean, you should always have good ventilation in the room, as well as clean them regularly.
Repainting them also helps, but that can be too much of a hassle. So, first, you can try vacuuming them with an upholstery brush attachment. This is not a deep clean solution, but it works great for removing any loose debris or recent buildup of cigar smoke particles.
Second, right after you’ve vacuumed the walls, you can make a cleaning solution by mixing one gallon of hot water, three tablespoons of dish soap, and a half cup of baking soda. If your walls are washable (e.g., you do not have wallpaper), take a rug and scrub the walls with the mixture. Then, air the room by leaving the windows open until the walls dry.
Third, you can also make a mixture using undiluted vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar), lemon juice, or ammonia. Combine the ingredients and pour them into a spraying bottle. Gently spray the mixture on your walls while your windows are open.
Also, don’t forget to wear gloves and protective eyewear, especially if using ammonia, because it’s dangerous and can irritate the skin. Once the sprayed mixture dries, get a clear rug and rinse the walls with water.
Finally, if none of the above-mentioned solutions work, call a professional to strip down the buildup of cigar smoke particles and repaint your walls.
Removing cigar smoke smell is an annoying and very difficult process, which is why prevention is always the best measure. But, when that’s not an option, make sure to clean your skin and clothes properly or air your room or car immediately after smoking a cigar.
The reason for this is simple: your surroundings absorb small particles from your cigar smoke, and they gradually build up on both soft (furniture) and hard (wood, walls, etc.) surfaces.
As we’ve seen, the buildup of cigar smoke particles in the air and objects in our surroundings is called third-hand smoke and is bad for our health. Hopefully, our advice will come in useful to help you keep your surroundings healthier.