Years of smoking cigarettes inside of a home will coat nearly all of its surfaces with residue left behind by the smoke. This causes a very strong, noticeable odor that's very difficult to remove—it's also unlikely to go away on its own. Cleaning the carpets in your home is a very important step when trying to eliminate the persistent odor of cigarette smoke, as carpet fibers are very porous and easily absorb large amounts of smoke residue. If your carpet has lingering odors from cigarette smoke, here's what you can do in order to eliminate them.

1. Try Home Remedies First

Baking soda is an effective, carpet-safe way to neutralize cigarette smoke odors. Baking soda technically doesn't remove cigarette smoke particles—it's a strong base that reacts with some of the acidic compounds in smoke residue, neutralizes them, and causes them to no longer cause any foul odors.

In order to clean your carpet with baking soda, you simply sprinkle a large amount of baking soda onto your carpet and gently brush it into the carpet with a broom. Let it sit on the carpet overnight, and then vacuum it up the next day.

Vinegar can also be used to remove odors from cigarette smoke, but it's not safe for all types of carpeting. Vinegar is a very strong acid that can damage carpet fibers, causing them to become frayed. In order to protect your carpet, it's safer to use baking soda as a home carpet treatment.

2. Use a Carpet Cleaning Machine to Deeply Clean Your Carpet

One drawback of using baking soda to remove carpet odors is that it doesn't penetrate deeply into the carpet. In order to fully clean the carpet, you'll need to use a carpet cleaning machine. These machines pump hot water into the carpet, which helps to loosen dirt and other residue, including particles from cigarette smoke.

You can either rent or buy a carpet cleaning machine in order to clean your carpets. Renting, however, is usually not the best option—many of the units that grocery stores and hardware stores have available to rent are often not cleaned between use. The previous user may have used it to clean up something hazardous such as sewage backup. It's safer to buy a carpet cleaner of your own. Unfortunately, quality carpet cleaning units that can clean the carpet deeply enough to fully remove smoke odors can be expensive.

The best option for removing smoke odors from a carpet is to hire a professional carpet cleaning service that uses a truck-mounted carpet cleaner. Truck-mounted units are extremely powerful, and they can pump hot water deep enough into the carpet in order to fully remove the particles left behind from cigarette smoke.

3. Call a Professional Carpet Cleaning Service to Use Odor-Neutralizing Chemicals

While hiring a professional carpet cleaning company, you should also ask if they can use odor-neutralizing chemicals on your carpet that are specifically designed for smoke odors. These products are often used by professionals who restore homes that have been damaged in fires, and they react with the residue that cigarette smoke leaves behind in order to completely neutralize it.

Overall, combining a deep carpet cleaning with odor-neutralizing chemicals meant for smoke residue is the best way to remove smoke odors from a carpet. If using baking soda doesn't fully remove the odor, call professional carpet cleaning services—you'll be able to completely rid yourself of the lingering smoke odors left behind in your carpet and breathe easier inside your home.