After running an Airbnb for some time now, I’ve found that one of the most challenging, yet most common, issues I run into is guest’s smoking inside of the rental.
Not only can smoking indoors damage your rental in the form of burns, ash stains, and yellowing of furniture and walls, but the lingering smell is a major turn-off for future guests.
Unless you manage a rental that allows smoking indoors, a space that smells like cigarettes is not what your guests have signed up for, potentially leading to complaints and refund demands galore.
Unfortunately, guests smoking inside your rental is a reality in our line of business. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to clean up after your guests smoked indoors. Even if you only have a few hours before your next guests check in, these tips will help you get your space back into 5-star condition!
How to Quickly Remove Smoke Odor from your Airbnb
Air it out
To get rid of the stale smoke smell, the first step you will want to take is to open all of your windows and doors for as long as possible.
Find as many fans as you can and place them facing outwards to help facilitate air circulation through your space.
By allowing fresh air into your rental right away, you will be granting yourself as much time as possible to try and move the stale air out of the space.
As you air out your space, remember to turn off any heat or air conditioning that may be running in order to save energy and money.
Toss the Leftovers
Once you have gotten the fans going and fresh air moving through your rental, walk through your entire space and look for leftover evidence of smoking.
If you do find evidence of smoking or smoke-related damages, be sure to take a picture of it in case you would like to contact Airbnb for damages or broken House Rules.
After documenting the evidence, make sure to tightly bag it all up and toss it, as leftover cigarette butts and ash will continue to stink up your space.
Start up the Laundry
Next, you will want to collect all machine-washable fabrics in your rental, such as blankets, linens, pillows, curtains, etc.
Start these wash loads early, as they may need multiple washes to fully remove the smoke smell. A good tip is to add a couple cups of white vinegar to your wash loads to neutralize the strong smoke odor.
If you have the time and the sun, hang your laundry out to dry as this will give you the best odor-removing results. If using a dryer, use a cooler drying setting, as heat has been known to lock in any missed remaining odors.
If you are unsure of how to wash certain fabrics or items, the dry-cleaners is a great place to start. Make sure to let them know your specific intent of removing the smoke odor and they should be able to launder just about any item.
Use Fabric Deodorizers
For larger pieces of non-washable fabrics or furniture, such as couches, mattresses, and carpets, baking soda will be your best friend.
Baking soda has a multitude of cleaning uses, odor removal being one of them.
Before starting, make sure you have access to a good vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment.
To treat your large furniture, sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the entire surface making sure it is entirely covered. Using your hands or a scrub brush, lightly work the baking soda into the furniture and allow it to sit for about an hour.
DO NOT moisten the baking soda with water or additional cleaners, as this will make it very difficult to remove.
After the first hour, vacuum all the surfaces you treated and check for odor. If any odor remains and you have time, feel free to repeat the process a second time.
In addition to baking soda, there are several quick-fix products on the market that work to deodorize spaces and furniture. If you do not have the time for a thorough cleaning, any one of those will work to remove surface odors for the time being.
For the best results though, I do recommend putting in the time to thoroughly deodorize your space to prevent build-up over time.
Wipe down Surfaces
After taking care of the time-consuming cleaning steps, the last step is to wipe down ALL hard surfaces. This includes walls, floors, doors, baseboards, windows, ALL of it!
Smoke is a tricky little bugger that will stick to anything it can reach due to the ingredients in cigarettes. If not properly cleaned, smoke build-up will start to show on the inside of your rental overtime.
For cleaning, a mix of vinegar diluted with water works extremely well to break down the build-up on surfaces as well as deodorize as you go. All-purpose cleaners and antibacterial sprays also work just as well to thoroughly clean your space.
To the best of your abilities, try to get to every surface in your space for the best results.
Once you have completed all these cleaning steps, it may help your nerves to go through the space and use a little Febreeze for good measure. You shouldn’t need it, but it also doesn’t hurt!
Remember, as stressful and bothersome as it is to find your rental has been smoked in, it’s not the end of the world. Even with just a few hours between guests, these simple, effective, and inexpensive steps will get your space right back into working order.