Can Air Purifiers Remove Smoke Smell?

“Can air purifiers remove smoke smell?”

This is probably your number one question before buying an air purifier if you live with a smoker or in a smoke-prone environment.

As you may know, smoke is one of the most difficult odors to get out of a home. It can linger for hours even after the source of the smoke has gone away!

Once the smoke has soaked into your furniture and carpets, it can be challenging to remove. This can make it incredibly frustrating to clean.

And hiring professionals to remove the smoke smell from your home can be expensive. They often use harsh chemicals to achieve their results.

Good thing air purifiers are a great way to improve air quality. They can remove smoke and even eliminate the smoke smell!

They do this by trapping the particles found in smoke in their filters and preventing them from circulating through your air.

However, for your air purifier to remove the smoke smell, you must fit the purifier with the correct type of filter.

What Type of Filter Works Best for Smoke Removal?

To remove the smoke smell as best as possible, you will want to pick an air purifier with a HEPA filter

Air purifiers can remove smoke smell from the air only if they have a high-quality filter that can catch the tiniest particles.

HEPA filters are extremely high-quality filters that can remove tiny particles from the air that other air filters cannot.

This makes them an excellent choice for air purifiers since they can remove most pollutants from the air.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, HEPA filters can remove 99.97% of any airborne particles with a size of at least 0.3 microns.

For reference, one micron is one twenty-five thousandth of an inch. 

The average tobacco smoke particle is one micron in size, meaning that a HEPA filter can easily remove smoke particles from the air.

HEPA filters are also a great option for removing dust, pollen, mold, pet dander, and other contaminants from the air. 

They are the most highly recommended type of air filter for people with respiratory illnesses or conditions like asthma since they can remove all but the tiniest of particles from the air.

Keep in mind that HEPA filters will only remove the smoke smell and particles from the air. 

If furniture or other fabrics has already been heavily exposed to smoke, using a HEPA filter will not help to get the smell out of the material.

The best way to remove the smoke smell from fabrics is to wash them fabrics using a deodorizing laundry detergent.


Although HEPA filters will remove smoke particles from the air, this will not completely eliminate the smell. 

To completely remove the smell of smoke from the air, you will want to pick a HEPA filter with activated carbon.

Activated carbon can absorb the smell of different pollutants in both liquid and gas forms and keep the filter from giving off the odor of smoke. 

For this reason, activated carbon is also frequently used in fish tank filters to keep the water from smelling bad.

If you cannot find a HEPA filter with activated carbon or other deodorizing properties, you are best off finding an air purifier with an extra deodorizing filter. 

This separate filter will usually contain activated carbon. It can also help to provide an extra physical filtration step in your air purifier.

It’s important to change your HEPA or deodorizing filter regularly to ensure that it is working as efficiently as possible.

Activated carbon works by slowly absorbing particles from the air into the space between the carbon molecules.

Once the activated carbon in the filter has been saturated with particles, it will stop absorbing smells from the air. 

The frequency of changes will depend on your overall air quality and how much smoke the activated carbon absorbs from the air.


How to Use an Air Purifier to Remove Smoke Smell

Air purifiers can remove smoke and smoke smell if you set them up properly and use suitable filters.

For your air purifier to do this as efficiently as possible, you must use it correctly. 

There are a couple of factors that you should consider when using your air purifier to remove the smoke smell.

Use a Deodorizing Filter

For your HEPA filter to remove the smoke smell from the air, it must be a deodorizing HEPA filter. 

Deodorizing HEPA filters contain activated carbon, which helps absorb all odor-causing molecules.

If you cannot find a HEPA filter with deodorizing properties, you should look for an air filter that has room for a deodorizing filter.

This is a separate filter that is filled with activated carbon. 

The activated carbon will absorb odor-causing molecules from the air, helping to reduce the overall smoke smell.

Open the Windows (Tobacco Smoke)

If you are dealing with tobacco smoke from someone smoking inside the home, the first thing you should do is open your windows

This will help air out as much physical smoke as possible before starting your air purifier.

The filters in air purifiers can only absorb so much smoke and smoke smell–they also have their limits.

Removing as much of the smoke from the home as you can before turning your air purifier on will allow the filters to last longer and get more smoke out of the air.

Once most of the smoke has been aired out of the house, you will want to close the windows before turning on your air purifier. 

That way, the air purifier will not be working overtime to clean the air that comes in from the outside, carrying pollen and other airborne particles.

Close the Windows (Wildfires)

If most of the smoke in your home comes from the outdoors, in the case of wildfires, the last thing you want to do is open the windows and air out your home. 

Opening the windows will only allow more smoke to enter your home, which will increase the smell of smoke.

In order for your air purifier to work efficiently, you should keep your home as tightly sealed off from the outside world as you can. 

This will ensure that you don’t have constant smoke entering your home, filling up your HEPA filters much more quickly.

Use a High-Capacity Air Purifier

When buying your air purifier, pick one with a high-enough capacity for your space. 

The best way to determine your air purifier’s capacity is by looking up its CADR rating.

This rating shows the space cleaned every minute by your air purifier. 

The higher the rating, the more efficiently your air purifier can remove pollutants from the air.

Use Multiple Air Purifiers

Using multiple air purifiers is one of the best ways to remove as much smoke from your home as possible and ensure it doesn’t linger in individual rooms. 

When you use multiple air purifiers, you guarantee no stagnant spots.

If you live in 700 square foot space with good airflow between all areas, you may only need one air purifier rated for 700 square feet. 

However, most homes differ from this, where air does not flow evenly between rooms.

This is when it’s best to use multiple air purifiers.

This will allow every air to be cleaned efficiently and reduce the smoke smell as much as possible.

Dangers of Smoke Inhalation

No matter where the smoke in your home is coming from, be it from cigarettes or wildfires, it is essential to minimize smoke inhalation as much as possible. 

Most people know that smoke inhalation can cause cancer due to the toxins in the smoke.

And not only that, because there are other negative symptoms and conditions also associated with excessive smoke inhalation.

Some of the most common symptoms that smoke inhalation causes are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Hoarseness

The best treatment for smoke inhalation is to remove yourself from the environment where you are being exposed to smoke. However, this is not always realistic.

If you live in an area with frequent wildfires or live with a smoker, it sure is not easy to get away from the smoke. 

Fortunately, using an air purifier can help to remove both the physical smoke particles and the smoke smell from a room.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is it okay to smoke indoors with an air purifier?

Using an air purifier will help remove all the smoke from the air. 

If you use it while smoking, you can prevent the smoke from soaking into the furniture, which will help minimize the odor.

But in truth, no air purifier is 100% effective. 

Even the best air purifiers with high-grade HEPA filters do not remove 100% contaminants from the air.

They also have a limit on how large the particles need to be for the filter to absorb them. 

Although most tobacco smoke particles are large enough, the smaller odor-causing particles may not be absorbed and removed from the air.

Does the smoke smell go away over time?

The smoke smell will dissipate if more smoke is not added to the environment.  

The best ways to help the smoke smell dissipate more quickly are by changing the filters in your HVAC system and investing in a high-quality air purifier.

What gets rid of the smell of smoke in furniture?

Although airing the house out can help to get the smell of smoke out of the air, it does not tackle the scent that has soaked into your furniture.

You can directly scrub hard surfaces with a diluted vinegar solution to help remove the odor. 

You will want to use a fabric-cleaning spray with deodorizing ingredients for fabric surfaces.

What is the best way to remove the smoke smell from the walls and floor?

The easiest way to remove the smoke smell from the walls and floor of your home is by using a white vinegar solution

As long as your paint is washable, it is entirely safe to use on your walls and won’t cause any damage.

You’ll want to use a washcloth or a sponge to gently wipe white vinegar all over the affected walls. 

This will help neutralize the odors and clean any of the physical smoke residues from the walls.

After wiping the vinegar on, let it sit to take advantage of the full odor-neutralizing effects of the vinegar.

How long does cigarette smoke last in a room?

Cigarette smoke can last in a room for around 5 hours. After that time, the smoke will dissipate as long as adequate ventilation is provided.

If the room does not have enough ventilation, the smoke could soak into the floor, walls, and furniture. 

Using an air purifier can remove the smoke smell from the room and help the cigarette smoke to dissipate faster.

Final Thoughts: Can Air Purifiers Remove Smoke Smell?

Using an air purifier is a great way to remove the smell of smoke in your home. 

Air purifiers with HEPA filters can pull the larger smoke particles out of the air.

Using one will prevent the smoke from circulating and soaking into your furniture, walls, and floors. 

This not only reduces the smoke smell, but it can also significantly reduce the negative symptoms that smoke exposure can cause, like headaches and throat irritation.

For an air purifier to thoroughly remove all the smoke smell from a room, you must use an air purifier with a deodorizing filter. 

This filter will usually contain activated carbon, one of the best ingredients for absorbing odors in gas and liquid form.

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