I recently moved into a new apartment, during the visits everything was airy so I couldn't detect this problem, but after moving in, I quickly realized that the old tenants were smoking inside, especially in the bedroom.

Since I'm not a smoker, the cold cigarette smell that haunts the walls of my current bedroom disgusts me, and I can't get rid of it.

I tried to open the window for more than a week every day for more than 15 hours a day, I live in an area with a lot of wind but every night when I close the window, a few minutes are enough to bring back this disgusting smell.

Note: I'm also afraid that my matela and the clothes in this room will be impregnated with this smell.

  • Perhaps you can launder the curtains and shampoo the carpet. Jun 12, 2020 at 17:21
  • @WeatherVane unfortunately, as I said, I just moved in so I don't have any carpets or curtains in the room. On the other hand, if you don't have any solutions, please upvote the post to gain visibility, have a nice day.
    – Ced
    Jun 12, 2020 at 17:33
  • Oh, where I live carpets curtains and cooker are a minimum requirement for a letting. I suggest you'll have to scrub the walls, but that won't fix the ceiling. Jun 12, 2020 at 17:34
  • Does this answer your question? diy.stackexchange.com/questions/8696/…
    – Stan
    Jun 13, 2020 at 13:59
  • @Stan not really because I'm not the owner so I don't have the right to paint the walls unfortunately.
    – Ced
    Jun 14, 2020 at 14:49

2 Answers 2


There are a couple of ways to go to minimize the stale smoke odour.

Easy and Expensive odour elimination hack:
Rent an ozone generator and let the ozone work within the closed apartment for a while. This is the best non-destructive way. Here's more information Note the safety precautions necessary with ozone.

Hard and Inexpensive odour elimination hack:
Wash the surfaces of your apartment with Tri-Sodium Phosphate (TSP). Directions are usually on the package. The benefit of this is that the walls and ceiling are now ready for painting.

Good luck

  • The equivalent product for TSP in some countries is sugar soap, a decorator's aid for cleaning surfaces to be painted. Warning: despite its name, it is not for personal hygiene, for cosmetics, or for eating. Always follow the instructions for use. Jun 13, 2020 at 20:42
  • It is not my apartment, I am renting it, so I don't think I am allowed to used Tri-Sodium Phosphate, because it's gonna ruin the tapestries
    – Ced
    Jun 14, 2020 at 14:55
  • You gave the impression that there are no furnishings. Send the tapestries to a specialist cleaner. Jun 14, 2020 at 20:59
  • I suspect buying a low or medium power ozone generator and running it for a longer duration would be cheaper than renting a high power one. Even a decently high power ozone generator costs $25 when bought directly from the source (China), so I suspect in the US you can get something imported (ebay, aliexpress) which is a little smaller, may not last as long, but is cheap and competent for handling an apartment.
    – piojo
    Jun 18, 2020 at 4:10

Here's a technique I saw applied when living for a few months in Morocco. It worked, but the case was probably not as tough as this one, meaning the time people had smoked in these rooms was "just" about 6-8 weeks.

What they did was to move all the fabric items (esp. sofas, curtains etc.) out of these rooms into the full sun and wind, and leave them there for about a day. And to occasionally turn them so the solar radiation can reach everywhere.

It worked :)

  • Thank you very much for your message, however I've moved into an apartment with no furniture so I think the smell is in the walls.
    – Ced
    Jun 14, 2020 at 14:50

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