Cleaning Tips

How to Get Rid of the Smoke Smell in Your Vacation Rental

Nobody wants their Airbnb property to smell like cigarettes, burned food, or smoke. The smell is expensive for hosts to remove — not to mention, many guests prefer to stay in “smoke-free” vacation rentals. Read on to learn 5 steps to get rid of the smoke smell in your rental property and 3 ways to prevent it.

By Zhi Hao Liu

Last updated: December 07, 2021

5 Easy Steps to Get Rid of the Smoke Smell in Your Rental

It’s not unlikely that smoking has or will occur in your Airbnb property. In fact, according to Statista, 19% of adults worldwide smoke tobacco. 

Then, there’s the issue of guests burning their food while cooking at your property. No matter the source, that lingering smell of smoke is tough and costly to remove. This can reduce the experience of your guests down the line. 

To get rid of the smoke smell in your vacation rental — without having to hire an expert — check out our top 5 steps below.

1. Improve Airflow Through Entire Property

The smell of smoke usually lingers in the air before landing on your ceiling, walls, carpet, and windows. This means that the first step in removing smoke smell is to have great airflow.  

Having active airflow with fans or air vents will help remove the majority of the smoke smell left indoors. Fans and vents should redirect air outside or push air through a filter to remove smoke particles floating in the air.

If your Airbnb property has air vents or ducts in place, you likely already have air filters installed in them. Replace air filters on a regular basis to help keep your property smelling fresh.

2. Scrub the Ceiling and Walls

When hot smoke rises, the first place of contact is the ceiling and walls where it leaves behind a greasy residue. This residue can stain the surfaces in your house, leaving behind a smoke smell similar to the grease that’s left behind in your kitchen after you finish cooking.

To remove the greasy residue left behind by the smoke, you will need to use a degreaser and cleaners like bleach, ammonia, or trisodium phosphate. When cleaning with these chemicals, make sure to wear rubber gloves and safety glasses. Have the windows open to keep the area well-ventilated. 

Always follow the instructions and don’t use too much harsh chemicals, as this can damage the material you are cleaning. 


Bleach is the go-to solution for cleaning any surface, from kitchen appliances to bathtubs, and you probably have some lying around your house. Mix 1 cup of bleach with a gallon of water, and use the solution to wipe down your walls and ceilings. 


Add 1 cup of ammonia to a gallon bucket of cold water. Apply the solution to the walls and ceilings with a sponge and then wipe it off. Never mix ammonia with bleach, or it will create toxic fumes.

Trisodium Phosphate

Trisodium phosphate is great for very dirty walls, or if you need to clean a surface before repainting. Just add about 3-4 tablespoons of the chemical to a gallon of warm water. Apply the mixture to your walls and ceilings, wipe with clean warm water, and dry.

3. Wash Carpets and Furniture

Carpets and furniture are the last things you want to smell like smoke. Both have a large surface area and are difficult to clean without specialized tools. 

That said, you can use household baking soda to help neutralize the smoke smell in your carpets and on your furniture. 

To start, sprinkle baking soda over the area of carpet or furniture you need to clean and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. Then, you just vacuum up the powder to reveal a fresher smelling surface. 

4. Clean Windows and Blinds

Smoke build-up on windows and blinds are visible from the outside, which can leave a bad first impression on Airbnb guests. 

To clean these areas in your home, use a store-bought glass cleaner or a homemade solution of vinegar and water. Add 1 part vinegar to 10 parts distilled water, spray the solution on the dirty surfaces, and wipe them dry with a microfiber towel. You can adjust the amount of vinegar depending on the condition of the windows and blinds.

5. Wash Curtains and Other Fabrics

Once curtains and other fabrics soak up the smell of smoke, it can linger even after you wash the items. To remove the smoke smell and help make your curtains and fabrics fresher, soak them in baking soda or vinegar water before washing.

To create the solution, add either 1 cup of baking soda or 1 cup of vinegar to a sink full of warm water. Then, soak the fabrics in the water for 1 to 2 hours. Rinse the solution off the items and wash them according to the instructions. 

Always test the baking soda or vinegar water on a small portion of the fabric before submerging it fully. 

All-Natural Methods to Get Rid of Smoke Smell

While chemical cleaners like bleach and ammonia are great at getting rid of smoke smell, they can be harmful to our bodies, plants, and pets. They can also leave behind a chemical smell that most guests won’t love. Luckily, there are all-natural ways to get rid of the smoke smell in your vacation rental. 

Vinegar With Citrus

Many people use vinegar as a universal cleaning solution and disinfectant. To create this solution, mix 1 part vinegar to 1 part water. Add it to a spray bottle and use it like any other cleaning solution. Remember to wipe the surface down with clean water after. 

You can also add citrus peels into the vinegar solution to make the property smell even better. Simply place some lemon or orange peels in a pan with the solution and boil. It will create citrusy steam that will fill up the room, helping to remove the smoke smell.

Even though vinegar is non-toxic, remember it is still an acid. Wear gloves and keep the room ventilated while using the solution.

Activated Charcoal

For another natural way to neutralize the smoke smell in the air, leave 1 to 2 bags of activated charcoal in each room of your home. You can purchase these bags online or at your local home improvement store. 

The carbon in the activated charcoal captures the smell in the air and traps it. They are not treated with chemicals, so they won’t light up like the charcoal you use for grilling.

Get rid of the smoke smell in your vacation rental property using the following 3 methods.

3 Preventative Methods to Getting Rid of Smoke Smell

The best way to get rid of the smoke smell in your vacation rental is not having smoke there in the first place. Prepare ahead by setting no-smoking policies or keeping air purifying appliances in your home.

1. No-Smoking Policy

Airbnb allows hosts to implement a “no-smoking” policy on their properties. However, be sure to make your rules clear if you want “no-smoking” or “no-smoker.”

Some Airbnb hosts just don’t want guests to smoke in or near their properties. Other hosts won’t rent their properties to smokers even if they don’t plan to smoke during their stay. Make sure your rules are clear and highlight them on your listing.

2. Get an Air Purifier

Investing in an air purifier is a great way to neutralize the smoke smell in your property. These appliances have other great benefits as well, including filtering dust and hair particles, removing harmful chemicals, and reducing bacteria and fungi.

As a cost-saving and eco-friendly alternative, you can use air-purifying plants to help freshen the air and add a bit of greenery to your Airbnb property. 

3. Install Airflow Fans

Another alternative to get rid of the smoke smell in your vacation rental is to install airflow fans, which are designed to push and pull large volumes of air. Having them near windows can pull in the outside/natural air, enhancing the atmosphere of your property. 

Begin the Smoke Smell Removal Process in Your Vacation Rental Now

Neither hosts nor guests want their Airbnb to smell of smoke. While there are easy ways to help get rid of the smoke smell, sometimes the smell is too strong and has lingered for too long for hosts to remove efficiently. 

When this happens, consider hiring an Airbnb cleaning expert on Turno to get the job done right.

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