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Lingering Tobacco Odors are Still a Health Hazard

    smoke odor removal


    Have you ever rented or bought a Chicagoland home that had been totally renovated yet you could still occasionally smell cigarette smoke?  That’s because after years of being subjected to smoking, even the structural elements of a building can be saturated with tobacco odor leaving nasty smells in all rooms, not just the one where someone smoked the most.

    What tobacco smoke leaves behind

    Cigarette smoke deposits are yellowish-brown, gluey substances that stick to all surfaces in a home, making it hard and time-consuming to remove. If you’ve ever cleaned windows or walls that have sustained large amounts of cigarette smoke, you’ve easily seen this residue.

    As stated by the American Lung Association, cigarettes contain over 7,000 chemicals (40 of which are linked with cancer) that not even the stoutest air purifiers can eliminate from your home. But it’s not just an odor dilemma.

    How does tobacco smoke affect your home?

    Studies conducted by the San Diego State University show that third-hand smoke that emits from walls, carpets and curtains can have a substantial impact on our health. Deadly and volatile composites from tobacco smoke build up in drywall and in soft furnishings. Children are particularly at risk of diseases triggered by exposure to the toxins from third-hand smoke.

    “There’s a big illusion that when tobacco smoke disappears, we’re safe,” said SDSU psychology professor Georg Matt, director of the resource center. “Unfortunately, some of the most toxic compounds clinch to surfaces. They get embedded in carpets, they coat walls, they penetrate into walls. They become part of the indoor environment.”

    Smoking not only adversely affects those exposed to smoke, but it also produces malodourous elements that stick to all surfaces of the area where smoking has occurred. The yellowish-brown gunk produced by smoking bonds to walls, furniture, and plastics, and may forever change their appearance. Cigarette smoke also infiltrates odor-absorbing objects, such as insulation, carpets, upholstery, bedding, clothes, and more.

    Additionally, a buildings HVAC system transports smoke odor and chemicals all over the structure. That means that over time, the buildup of dust and debris inside HVAC ducting absorbed those odors and so will need to be cleaned out. Additionally, the entire ducting system will need to be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

    How professionals remove tobacco smoke odor

    There’s no magic formula that will eradicate these residues and smells.

    Covering up odors with air fresheners only works briefly and might pose health risks. Furthermore, trying to conceal tobacco smells with a fresh coat of paint without first eliminating the source won’t successfully eliminate the odor. Within a short time, smoke residue will begin seeping through the paint and will once again spread offensive odors throughout the room.

    The only successful way to eliminate tobacco residue and odor is by the very thorough cleaning and then sealing of all structural surfaces. ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons, your Chicagoland restoration specialists, start tobacco smoke removal by cleaning all surfaces, using deodorizing agents to eliminate the very minute particles of tobacco smoke. Once we’ve finished cleaning all visible surfaces, we use specialized equipment, such as hydroxyl generators and/or ozone generators, that destroy the odor molecules that are unreachable (such as inside walls or joints).

    The next step consists of using a sealant to lock in the very last stains and odors. After that, surfaces will be prepared to paint, refinish or apply new coverings. Lastly, our team works to confirm that all surfaces are sanitized and treated to make sure odors stay away from you and your possessions.

    ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons in Chicago are professionals at removing all smoke residue and odors, no matter their source. So don’t continue to suffer from unwanted smells and stains. Let us give your home a breath of fresh air!

    About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit or


    • Nasutsa Mabwa

      Nasutsa Mabwa is President of ServiceMaster by Simons, a MBE/WBE City of Chicago and State of Illinois certified firm. She is a 2020 Daily Herald Business Ledger C-Suite awardee, a member of Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 and a 2018 ServiceMaster(c) Achiever Award recipient. She is a Civic Federation Board Member, an Advisory Board Member for as President Elect on the Executive Committee for the Evanston Chamber of Commerce. She is IICRC certified for WRT & FSRT.

      About ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons
      Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving both Cook and Lake County, Illinois. Recently, the company was awarded a variety of honors, including the SB100 Best of Small Business Award Winner 2021, Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau's Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and the recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. Restoration By Simons provides disaster restoration services including water and flood damage restoration, fire and smoke damage restoration, mold remediation, to residential and commercial customers in both Cook and Lake County IL.

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