The Alcoholic Beverage That'll Eliminate The Scent Of Smoke In Your Home

When you're trying to relax in your home, the lingering odor of smoke can be anything but relaxing. Perhaps you shared some celebratory cigars with friends last weekend or moved into a new home whose previous owners evidently smoked indoors. You could have even accidentally flambéed a casserole in the oven, leaving behind a pungent scent in your kitchen and living room. Either way, you keep catching whiffs of smoke that are enough to make your nose burn. Could the remedy to all that unhealthy smoke actually be ... more partying? Not exactly, but you can use vodka to eliminate unwanted home odors, including stubborn smoke! Simply mix vodka and water in an empty spray bottle and mist it over the offending areas to zap away the smell. 

According to Mayo Clinic, when smoke settles into our environment, it becomes known as "thirdhand smoke" and can continue to release chemicals that make us sick. While vodka may not be the first thing to come to mind when you imagine "getting healthy," it's actually an incredibly versatile cleaning tool that can protect you from thirdhand smoke! Here's how to make your own odor-eliminator spray with vodka, why this trick works, and more tips for reducing the smell of smoke in your home.

Use vodka to eliminate that stubborn smoke smell

In a spray bottle, mix one part vodka with three parts water. Then, mist the solution all around your home, focusing on areas where the smoke tends to cling strongest, like drapes, sofas, and rugs. Vodka has a strong smell in its liquid form but is completely odorless once it dries. What's more, the liquid molecules trap smoke particles, lifting them up and dissolving them as the vodka evaporates. You can also use the vodka mixture in your car to remove cigarette smells from seats and upholstery!

Can't seem to get the campfire smell out of your favorite fall flannels? Trying to get smoke out of clothing and upholstery can be notoriously difficult.  Spray your clothes with straight vodka and allow them to dry before tossing them in the wash on a normal cycle. For extra strong odors on clothing, blankets, and towels, add up to ½ a cup of vodka directly into the washer before washing. Vodka, especially kinds with an ABV over 60%, lifts smoke odors and kills odor-causing bacteria, which is why it's commonly used in live theatre to keep delicate costumes and vintage clothing pieces smelling fresh between shows.

Enhancing vodka's odor-eliminating power

After spraying your surfaces with vodka, open up your windows and turn on your ceiling fans. Improved air circulation and sunlight can help to speed up the vodka's evaporation and carry pesky smoke molecules outside. You should always use an uncolored and unflavored vodka for this trick, but you can add in some essential oils if you'd like an extra fresh touch! 

While clear, unflavored vodka should be safe for most surfaces; you may want to use caution with cleaning certain materials. Vodka is a solvent that can sometimes be used to remove dye stains, especially organic stains like grass and graphite pencil. It's possible, therefore, that the vodka could stain some fabrics, especially those colored with natural dyes. Vodka with high alcohol content may also discolor or damage leather surfaces by drying them out, but diluting the vodka in a spray bottle will make stains much less likely. Before dousing your couch or closet in vodka, it's wise to try a patch test on a hidden corner of the item first. If the small patch doesn't respond well to the diluted vodka, avoid spraying the entire item with vodka.