Not all cigarette smokers choose to light up indoors, but some who do choose to smoke in a bathroom with an exhaust fan. For the most part, it works to contain and pull out the odor, but the small space still ends up smelling bad. The problem is easy to remedy. If someone in your house smokes, or if you moved into a dwelling where someone smoked indoors, use these steps to get rid of the smell. The source can be found in a number of unexpected places, and it can also be removed.
Begin by Washing the Walls
Cigarette smoke coats walls and other surfaces in a bathroom, even if the rest of the space seems to be clean. When trying to get rid of the smell, begin by washing painted walls, woodwork and cabinets with approximately two gallons of warm water with two cups of white vinegar. Some sources suggest adding equal parts of water and white vinegar, but it is not necessary to make the solution that strong. Two cups for every gallon will sufficiently clean the walls, and it will leave behind a fresh clean scent. The vinegar odor will eventually dissipate, especially if a neutralizer is used as a last step.
Thoroughly Clean the Cabinetry, Trim and Door(s)
Do not forget about sealed wooden cabinetry, trim and door(s). They will also end up covered in a smoky film when cigarettes are smoked in a bathroom. Do not use vinegar and water on wood. Instead, use Murphy’s Oil Soap and water. Mix the solution according to label directions, and thoroughly go over every wood surface with a soft clean cloth. Rinsing is not necessary. Murphy’s Oil Soap has a fresh scent, and it will work to get rid of the smell of cigarettes on sealed wood surfaces.
Clean the Exhaust Fan Cover
Many people ignore the bathroom exhaust fan, but it can harbor dust, grime and a host of germs and bad odors. When someone smokes cigarettes with the exhaust fan on, the majority of it exits the house through the vent. When the room is humid, the residue sticks to existing dust and grates. Remove the exhaust fan cover, and soak it in a mixture of baking soda and warm water. Use a cotton swab or something similar to remove dust and grime from the grates. Be sure to thoroughly clean and dry every nook and cranny before reinstalling the cover. Not only will it look and smell better, but it will operate more efficiently.
Add an Odor Neutralizer
After washing all of the flooring and throw rugs, add an odor neutralizer to the bathroom. Buy a plug-in wax warmer, or use the spray variety. Scented products will not work to get rid of the smell of cigarettes. For example, if you use citrus spray, the bathroom will smell like lemons and cigarettes. If every surface has been thoroughly cleaned, and if an odor neutralizer has been used, chances are it will smell clean and fresh. Otherwise, consider cleaning the floor vent(s) as well. Bad odors can hide in unexpected places, but just as a dirty ashtray can be emptied, bad odors can be removed.
Source: Professional and Personal Cleaning and Odor Removal Experience