Monday, February 08, 2010

Smoke... Yuck!

We discovered something about our house this week... the former owner was a smoker. It explains a lot. The fact that the carpet was replaced and the walls were all painted (that was the tip off actually that a Lowe's worker clued me in to) while the linoleum was not. The fact that the closets all smell particularly musty.

The house hadn't been lived in in a year so it had some time to "air out", but ever since moving in we've all been waking up with sore throats. At first I thought it was just stress and lack of sleep what with packing and moving. But I've been getting decent sleep this week (hello, no internet!) and still feeling just awful in the mornings.

The kicker was that on Friday afternoon I turned on the humidifier in our bedroom to see if it would help. Within a couple hours I walked into our room and it smelled just like the closets. Musty and yucky.

We don't exactly know where it's coming from so we're at a loss as to what will solve it. We will be cleaning the baseboard heaters as best we can and probably renting an air filter with ozone maker next weekend to see if that will help neutralize any leftover odors.

But for now we're just hoping that by airing out the house frequently and NOT smoking in it that it will go away over time.

Note to all potential homebuyers: Just because you don't smell it, doesn't mean the house wasn't smoked in. Ask!


  1. Major bummer, but I know how you feel. Can't remember if it was the house or an earlier apartment, but for weeks after we moved in I had sneezing/allergy issues. Given that I'm pretty allergic to cats, I wondered if the prior owners had some as pets, and how long it would take for it to subside.

  2. I've often told my husband that I wouldn't buy a house owned by a smoker and he laughs and says I'm being over dramatic. But your story is exactly why I stand by my statement. Long after the smoker is gone, you know they were there. The smell gets into everything...

  3. We had a similar problem in the house we bought last year. The previous owners had used an old leaky wood stove as the main source of heat and everything was smoky/sooty. If you have central heat or air have the ducts professionally cleaned (this was really helpful for us) and wipe down everything in the house with either soapy water or murphy's oil soap. There were even some things where the sooty dust was kind of gummy and using goo-gone helped with that.

    Good luck!

  4. Oh yuck! I have a very sensitive nose when it comes to smoke. Hope it clears out soon!

  5. We had issues like this with the previous house we rented before buying our house. There were 4 guys living in it and they smoked indoors. We were assured the place would be cleaned....NOT! The windows were so dirty I had to use one cloth per window because there was so much smoke and the cloths would be black! It took a good 2 months to get the smell out. It will eventually go away. With lots of cleaning.

  6. You can try scrubbing/washing everything in the house with vinegar also - walls, floors, cabinets, etc.

  7. Oh, so sorry to hear that! Smoke smell sucks. I hope you get it sorted soon!I know you're overwhelmed with all the cleaning/sorting/unpacking stuff and add to this the yucky smoke smell! I wish I am near to help you out!


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