It’s a pretty common problem. You’re buying a new house, or moving into a new apartment. Everything is rosy, but what’s that smell? At first, maybe you ignore it. “It’s a new place, every place smells a little different” you tell yourself. The weeks and months pass by, however, and it doesn’t go anywhere, but it’s livable. Then, it rains outside. All of sudden, it slaps you in the face, cigarette smoke. Now what do you do?
The picture up top comes from a job we were called out on recently. The house is part of an estate, and the family is trying to get it ready to sell. The only problem was that the man who lived there was an enthusiastic cigar smoker. Day in and day out, he’d puff his stogies without proper ventilation. When the smoke settled it contained traces of nicotine, tar, benzene, and trace amounts of the other 3,000 or so chemical compounds generated through cigar smoke.
As you can see, several years of cigar smoke leaves quite a mark on the surfaces of the house. As well as discoloring the fireplace shown, it can also discolor the walls, carpets, cabinets, counter tops, drapes and furniture. Due to the extremely sticky consistency of the smoke, it can adhere and start to build up on pretty much any surface. It is this quality that also makes it very difficult to clean. Typically, regular soap and water won’t work on this residue, and specialized, industrial chemicals have to be used to get rid of the remnants.
After the residue has been removed, it’s time to begin the deodorization phase. This can be done using a combination of ozone, hydroxl, HEPA filtration, thermal fogging and absorbent media, depending on the severity. When the deodorization is finished, it’s time for encapsulation. Though specialty cleaning compounds and deodorization are very effective, it is frequently impossible to remove all of the staining on the walls and trim. These will typically need to be treated with a shellac-based primer to cover any staining and remaining odor issues.
It’s a big job, and the help of an experienced cleaning professional can go a long way. That’s where a company like Altra Dry can step in and make your new home cleaner, healthier, and happier.