Just moved to a house that reeks of ciggies and lurcher

(27 Posts)
Sallythedog Sun 25-Nov-12 21:37:58

Long time lurker, but I could really do with some of your expert advice.

We've removed all the carpets and underlay (the soft furnishings are all my own) cleaned all the curtain tracks, and the windows, we've mopped the floorboards with disinfectant and bleach, it still reeks. Has anybody tried the bowls of vinegar to absorb the smell? I moved in on Friday, and it's been full on so far, but I'm off out tomorrow to get some white vinegar.

Any other options? Please? I'm a non-smoker, and petless, but you wouldn't know it if you came in my front door right now.

SoozleQ Sun 25-Nov-12 21:43:21

The smoke will be all over the walls and ceiling. You need to paint it all! Smoke smells are horrible aren't they.

CMOTDibbler Sun 25-Nov-12 21:49:38

You'll need to wash down all the paintwork/walls too - but if its been heavily smoked in, then painting is the only true solution. Wallpaper will have really soaked up the smell.

If redecorating isn't possible, then you could try a good spray of Febreeze on the walls and a Neutradol plugin.

2kidsintow Sun 25-Nov-12 21:50:30

Yes. I decorated my parent's house (2 heavy smokers who smoked inside) and had to sugar soap the ceilings before repainting. The walls dripped orange. Then we had to use a special paint for painting over cigarette stains as otherwise it just came straight back.

I don't think vinegar absorbs smells. Does it? I thought it was bicarbonate of soda you needed for that.

If the walls are painted, then sugar soap is your friend. If they are papered, strip them quick as it will be in the paper.

Open all windows and blast the house with fresh air.
Wash all surfaces (inc ceilings and walls, banisters, tiles etc)
Wash the curtains unless they are your own new ones.

LoveMyBoots Sun 25-Nov-12 21:50:54

If the walls are papered, I'd suggest re-papering. Smells really do permeate.

But the smell of fresh paint should make a difference.

Sallythedog Sun 25-Nov-12 21:52:30

Thanks for your speedy reply Sooz, and yes, it's really awful. The plan is to have the whole house 'done', starting with the kitchen and bathroom (just as an insight into the housekeeping skills of previous owner, I had 2 cleaners for 5.5 hours on Saturday just to do the kitchen and bathroom, not including the oven). I guess I'm just going to have to live with it for the time being, plenty of open windows front and back, I now have a Febreze block thingy, and I will try the basins of vinegar tomorrow. Eau de lurcher is never going to rival Chanel No. 5.

Sallythedog Sun 25-Nov-12 21:58:23

Thank you all for your replies. As I'm planning a total redec, it looks like I'll just have to put up with the smell until the entire house is done, doesn't it. I cleaned the curtain track in my bedroom - it was dark brown. I sprayed with some variant of Mr Muscle, and had thick dark brown drips, and don't get me started on the plugs and light switches.

I do have some bicarb, so I'll try that too, and a Neutrodol plug in.

NotMostPeople Sun 25-Nov-12 22:00:27

I like eau de Lurcher.

sausagesandwich34 Sun 25-Nov-12 22:04:19

vinegar works, I use it when I cook fish grin

Sallythedog Sun 25-Nov-12 22:04:24

Well maybe it's a marketing opportunity, with Christmas coming and all. NotMost, do you think I should approach Selfridges?

Cheapo Neutrdol gel things - about the size of a tennis ball will help.

MissVerinder Sun 25-Nov-12 22:22:16

If you wash the walls down, please, USE RUBBER GLOVES!

I helped a heavy smoker decorate and washed the walls down; the nicotine got in through my skin and I was sick as a dog.

Dizzy spells, vomiting, sweaty and very ill.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Sun 25-Nov-12 22:46:34

sugar soap the walls and once they are cleanish use old fashioned dettol. not dettox spray, got to be dettol. will make your house smell cleaner than clean can be. if you can, buy a massive tub of white emulsion and do as many rooms as you can. having it white might not be your choice ultimatley, but it will feel and smell clean and if you do it all white its quick and easy as there is no cutting in to do at the ceiling. a coat of white will also be much better to put your more expensive coloured paint on to later. vinegar ot an onion halved absorbs smells.. i used both to get rid of gloss paint smells. burning a candle helps to - the sulpher neutralises smells.

Mil and fil bought a house which turned out to be owned by smokers though they managed to hide that on viewings. They had to get entirely new carpets, curtains and repaint throughout. The wardrobe in the spare room (built in) still smells faintly for some reason but the rest of the house is fine. It can be done.

specialsubject Mon 26-Nov-12 10:01:02

definitely sugar soap on the walls, ASAP - be prepared for lots of mess as the tar comes off.

for carpets etc that you can't remove, lots of bicarbonate of soda sprinkled in, left and then vacuumed out. (took on a rental flat which had been smoked in, this worked).

it will start to improve in a few days - stick with it.

Spindelina Mon 26-Nov-12 15:34:57

If eau de lurcher is in the floorboards, as it were, buy some byofresh and slosh it around liberally.

Sallythedog Mon 26-Nov-12 15:50:30

Thank you all for your helpful advice. The builder/decorator is coming on Wednesday, so I'll discuss with him to see how quickly he can paint the whole lot, even if, as OhHelp says, it's just a temporary white job.

I also think I'll change all the light bulbs, as when they warm up, it seems to be worse.

Meanwhile, the white vinegar seems to be making a difference. I'm going to get some Neutrodol or Byofresh as well, and spray the floorboards and radiators.

I knew this house would be a project, and I'm not even going to start on whether it should be a kitchen from Benchmarx or John Lewis....

ISeeSmallPeople Mon 26-Nov-12 16:25:45

Dettol now do febreze flavours. I used spring something in a blue bottle. Or was it ocean? Blue...
Febreze do the same flavour oil airfresheners, with the oil in a little pouch, that you clip into a plastic container.
That & repainting is covering eau de two large brown dogs.

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 26-Nov-12 16:32:20

The grease in the kitchen will hold onto smells too, put boiling water and soda crystals down the sink or if you can take all the traps out and wash them in a bucket of hot water etc.

I've had to wash under cupboards to get smells out. angry

If theres a extractor fan in the kitchen take it apart and clean and put new filters in.

If the previous owners were old they may not have ever had the windows open, I used to do home visits for old people and sometimes the air was so stale it felt like there was no oxygen in the room.

We once moved into a house that stank of dog, I burnt a lot of peppermint oil until we could decorate/deep clean etc.
To be fair though, although it did make it a bit better, there was a sort of minty-dog smell knocking about for a little while.

ISeeSmallPeople Mon 26-Nov-12 16:35:23

Yes, there was dog hair under the kickboards. Enough to knit a new dog.

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 26-Nov-12 16:38:13

Just thought, a vacuum cleaner with a fabric bag and a filter will stop the smells recirculating.

It made a big difference when I got a vacuum with a bag.

takeonboard Mon 26-Nov-12 16:45:44

Yuk, it sounds awful!
sugar soap is the only thing that will get the walls clean but I have never successfully washed a wall and not left it streaky, it may be just me but I would skip the sugar soaping and go straight to painting on the walls, but do sugar soap the woodwork and especially the radiators as they will be giving out the smell when they warm up.
Would you consider sanding the floor boards? even the taking the top layer off will make a difference.
There is nothing better than fresh air though once everywhere is clean, its cold but can you keep the doors and windows open as much as possible.
You could also try oil burners/incense for when you have to shut the windows. White vinegar works on getting most smells out of laundry and soft furnishings, i haven't tried it on floors etc

Sallythedog Mon 03-Dec-12 12:16:51

apols for going away and not coming back! Very intermittent broadband at the moment, TalkTalk sorting me out on Friday, so I'll have my lifeline again.

Thanks to everybody for your useful suggestions. I've made a good start with removing the smells and airing the house, and it's now mainly my bedroom (yuk) that smells worst. Working hard on that, as you may imagine.

MadBusLady Mon 03-Dec-12 13:38:00

I don't know whether it's too late for this, but we had cleaners in to the chain-smoker's house we bought and honestly it was the best £200 we spent through the whole move. They hosed down the walls with a big machine and you could see great waves of tar running off. Very messy but worth it. One way or another do make sure the walls get washed before you paint because the smell/stains will just come through.

Then we kept all the doors and windows open for a week (this was in December!) and that took care of it.

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