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Cigar 101

How to Remove Cigar Smell from Your Belongings & Home

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Smoke smell removal doesn’t require a hazmat team when the smoke comes from cigars. The best way to fight the lingering smell of a good cigar is with fresh air and time. However, we live with significant others, children, pets, and roommates, and we don’t always have the luxury of time. Here are the best ways to remove smoke odor from your hair, your belongings, and your home, so that you can enjoy an occasional cigar without annoying anyone and getting a bunch of guff for smoking.  

Why Does Smoke Stick to Our Stuff?

Smoke smell is the result of the incomplete combustion of tobacco. It’s comprised of water, oils, and ash. Ash is made of non-combustible minerals like magnesium and potassium, which can stick to our clothes, furniture, and car upholstery – the same way grease does from battered, fried, and grilled foods when we’re cooking a feast.

Getting Smoke Smell Out of Clothing & Hair

No one wants to turn down the chance to smoke a good cigar with the boss, work colleagues, or friends and family members. But, when the smoke clears and the cigars are cold, you want to go home smelling like a rose. Cigar smell goes away on its own, unlike cigarette smoke, which aggressively sticks to everything it’s around. Eliminate cigar odor faster and more completely, though, with the following methods.

Casual Clothing

Don’t toss your smoky clothing in the hamper if that’s where your spouse’s clothing is waiting to get washed. Sure, it’s all dirty and heading into the washing machine, but now your smoky-smelling clothes are in a closed-in environment where other garments (that aren’t yours) will also absorb the smoke. If you’re smoking in a T-shirt and jeans, sending your clothes through the washing machine generally takes care of any lingering cigar smells. Follow these steps for a more thorough cleaning.

  1. Air out your garments overnight in a well-ventilated room or outdoors. If indoors, a room with green plants is best because they help absorb odors.
  2. Soak garments in a solution of warm water with 1 cup of baking soda overnight.
  3. Wash according to instructions on the tag.
  4. Add 1 cup of white vinegar during the rinse cycle.
  5. Air-dry garments on a clothes rack in the sunlight.
  6. If the smoke smell lingers, use a fabric refresher to mask the odor.

Formal Wear

A lot of cigar smoking takes place while we’re wearing suits or professional attire. Eventually our suits, sweaters, and blouses wind up at the cleaners, but you might not have the luxury of getting your dress clothes cleaned every time you smoke a cigar. The best way to remove the smoke smell from clothing is to hang it up, at least overnight, if not for a couple of days, outside or in a room exposed to fresh air. If you can crack a window in your room or hang your garments on the porch or in the backyard, fresh outdoor air works the best.

Consider investing in a wooden valet stand. A valet stand is a like a coat rack that’s designed to preserve the creases in your slacks and keep your jacket and tie wrinkle-free before you need to wear them again. And, you can hang your clothing on a valet stand outside of the closet where the smoke smell can dissipate. If you wear a tie while you’re smoking, silk material is best. Silk doesn’t absorb smoke, and that’s why smoking jackets are made of silk. Here are the best methods for removing the cigar smell from dress clothes before taking them to the dry cleaner.

  1. Hang smoky garments in fresh air (preferably outside, but covered, weather permitting).
  2. Brush your garments with a horse hair or boar bristle garment brush.
  3. Steam the front and the back of your garments.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3.
  5. Hang garments, again, in a fresh-air environment.

Most, if not all, of the smoke smell should be gone.

Baking Soda Method

For a more advanced cleaning, baking soda can work wonders because smoke particles stick to it. Try this as an alternative. You will need a box of baking soda and a vacuum.

  1. Spread your garments out on a flat surface.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda across the surface of your garments.
  3. Let your garments sit for 24 to 48 hours.
  4. Shake your garments outside to shake off the loose baking soda particles.
  5. Gently vacuum the baking soda particles that remain on your garments.
  6. Repeat until the fabric is freshened.


If you wear your hair short, take a walk outside in the fresh air and sunlight, and follow it up with a shower and shampoo. Poof! The cigar smell is gone. If you’ve got long hair, putting it up in a bun (or a man bun) isn’t a bad idea to prevent the smoke from overwhelming your tresses. Wear a hat or a hoodie while you’re smoking if you’re in a casual setting. Here’s a few other ways to cleanse your hair of smoke.

Citric Solution

Citric acid deodorizes hair. Scrape the zest from a lemon, lime, or orange peel into a bottle of water, leave it sit for 30 minutes, and spray your hair or beard with a few spritzes. As it dries, it removes the smoke from your hair.

Baking Soda Solution

Mix one-part baking soda with three-parts water and massage it into your hair in the shower. Leave it in for about three minutes, and rinse it out to remove the smoke smell.

Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoo isn’t designed to cleanse your hair like traditional shampoo, but some folks swear by it. Spray it into your roots from about six inches away, and massage it into your scalp. There are special dry shampoos for beards too.

Getting Rid of Cigar Smell from Your Home

If you live in a cold weather climate, smoking cigars inside is crucial. Setting up a room in your home with the proper smoke ventilation for cigars before you fire up makes it ten times easier to remove any traces of smoke when you’re cigar goes out. Not everyone can install an HVAC system dedicated to cigar smoking, but there are plenty of effective alternatives. Also, disposing of your cigars the right way prevents much of the unwanted smoke smell from lingering in the first place.

Cigar-Friendly Furniture & Surfaces

Smoke in a room with hardwood floors instead of carpeting. Curtains, drapes, and fluffy pillows hold on to smoke. Choose leather, wood, or vinyl seating. Hardwood, metal, and glass furniture is easy to clean and wipe down when you’re done smoking.

Exhaust Fan

Stick an exhaust fan in the window and flip the switch on when you’re smoking cigars. A good exhaust fan will pull most of the smoke out of the room before it lands on any surfaces where it can stick. Many operate without making much noise and can accommodate four or more smokers. We’ve outlined the best exhaust fans for smoking cigars.

Air Purifiers

Air purifiers work wonders when you want to remove smoke, pet odors, or any other unwanted smells from your home. Companies like Rabbit Air and Dyson manufacture a number of technologically advanced air purifiers that will keep your house smelling clean and fresh a short time after your pals depart your man cave when you’re done playing poker. The latest models purify the air by trapping allergens, gases, bacteria, and smoke in a fully sealed HEPA filter. Remove dust, pollen, mold, and any unwanted airborne particles from your environment with a quality air purifier. 

Removing Smoke Smell from Your Car

Smoking a cigar in the car on a long drive is pure heaven for most cigar lovers. But, new-car smell simply can’t coexist with the aroma of a good cigar. The most effective way to get the smoke smell out of your car is with an air-purifying bag of activated charcoal. The Moso Natural brand makes one of the most popular charcoal bags for maintaining a fresh, dry, and odor-free environment in your car long after your cigar is done. Of course, they work best if you’ve got a leather or vinyl interior. Moso Bags absorb excess moisture and regulate humidity on top of trapping smoke, pet and food odors, and toxic chemicals that come from sitting in traffic. Simply toss one or two bags under the seats, and rejuvenate the interior of your car after a good cigar.

Spray Methods for Clothing, Furniture, and Upholstery

When you don’t have adequate time to properly air out your clothing or home after you’ve been smoking, an odor-eliminating spray can get your place smelling nice in a jiffy.


Febreze works by trapping odor-causing particles with cyclodextrin, the active ingredient it’s made with. Spritz Febreze on a smoky surface or item of clothing, and the odor molecules bind to cyclodextrin as the substance dries. 

ReFresh Odor Eliminator

ReFresh is citrus-based and effectively neutralizes the odor of stale smoke in a room and in your car. Several fresh and fruity scents are available as well as an unscented version.

Zep Smoke Odor Eliminator

The fresh, professional-strength aroma of Zep lasts for an extended period of time and leaves the air smelling crisp and clean.

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